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Corruption :ethics and power in Florence, 1600-1770by Jean Claude Waquet
Synopses & Reviews
In this elegant and original book, Jean-Claude Waquet examines the problem of corruption in early modern Europe. Defining corruption to include both embezzlement of public funds by officials and their taking presents in return for favors rendered, he seeks to explain why it was pervasive in the early modern state, using as his case study the military and civil administration of Florence in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Waquet critically examines previous studies of corruption in Europe and puts forward an original thesis that the political dimension of corruption, stealing power from one's superiors, was as important as the economic dimension. He shows how its almost metaphysical nature, as the very origin of human vice, prevented the phenomenon from being examined. Using a comparative perspective and a wealth of archival material, Waquet has produced a remarkable work of historical sociology whose conclusions have broad implications for our view of governmental corruption today.
Book News Annotation:
A shocking revelation that once upon a time, government officials actually embezzled public money and took bribes. Waquet (early modern history, U. of Strassbourg) uses the example of Florence, and a critical review of previous studies on the topic, to conclude that the political dimension of corruption was stealing power from one's superior. First published in French in 1984.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Includes bibliographical references (p. -217) and index.
About the Author
Jean-Claude Waquet is Professor of Early Modern History at the University of Strasbourg.
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