Quale storiografia economica? Chiose su «Depressioni»
N. 1, GENNAIO-MARZO
OPINIONI E DIBATTITI
Which economic historiography? Notes on Depressioni
The theses on the depression of the 1880s expressed in the author’s Depressioni are restated and enriched with new pieces of evidence. Sources bear strong witness to the fundamental role of the demand for growth. Fenoaltea’s denial of a depression in the late nineteenth century and objections to Depressioni are rejected; they do not dis-criminate, and are contradicted by major elements. Federico’s new estimates on an ever growing agricultural production (and added value) during the depression are criticized: the estimates are based on untested assumptions, on an imperfect relationship between dependent and independent variables, and on an unsound proxy for the independent variable, and differ radically from what sources witnessed. A similar estimation procedure can be found in Fenoaltea’s work. This stream of economic historiography leads to the danger of writing a subjective history that substitutes highly subjective estimates for evidence, and of disseminating flawed historical data.