All of these essays have to do with issues of authority, inequality, and justice, issues that have preoccupied me since my days as a graduate student at Yale University before the Second World War. All along I have made a strong effort to eschew lamentations in favor of explanations, though I do believe that a true explanation can make somebody lament. The opening essay, “Moral Aspects of Economic Growth,” represents the beginning of a large-scale comparative historical study that I had to abandon. The others are, I hope, reasonably self-contained and comprehensible as such. “Austerity and Unintended Riches” appeared in Comparative Studies in Society and History 29, no. 4 (October 1987), 787–810; none of the other essays has been published before, though two have been given as public lectures. With one exception, “Bequests of the Twentieth Century to the Twenty-first,” which was written around the end of 1996, all the essays (including the two lectures) were written before 1992. The reader can judge how well, if at all, they have weathered the intervening years.
On the night after Valentine’s Day 1992 Elizabeth Carol Moore died. She had been “home editor” and much more to me for almost fifty years. This book carries no acknowledgments except to her.
BARRINGTON MOORE, JR.