Opera Omnia Luigi Einaudi

Scialoja, Antonio (1817-1877)

Tipologia: Paragrafo/Articolo – Data pubblicazione: 01/01/1934

Scialoja, Antonio (1817-1877)

Encyclopaedia of the social sciences, editor in chief Edwin R.A. Seligman, New York, The Macmillan Company, vol. XIII, 1934, pp. 590-591




SCIALOJA, ANTONIO (1817-77), Italian economist and statesman. Scialoja was born in the Kingdom of Naples. After considerable study on his own initiative he came under the direction of his uncle, the economist Matteo de Augustinis. His first important scientific work, I principi della economia sociale, esposti in ordine ideologico (Naples 1840, 3rd ed. Turin 1848), published when he was only twenty-two years of age, won him sudden fame both in Italy and abroad. It did not expound new theories but displayed a firm grasp of the classical doctrines and a logical and terse language and arrangement. The book was influential in introducing the ideas of Ricardo and Malthus into Italy. In 1846 King Charles Albert of Sardinia called Scialoja to the reinstituted chair of economics at Turin, where he was a very successful teacher.



Scialoja’s political career began when he became minister of agriculture and commerce during the brief constitutional interval in Naples in 1848. With the reaction he was kept in protective arrest for three years and then sentenced to nine years’ imprisonment, but on the intercession of Napoleon III the sentence was commuted in 1852 to perpetual exile. Cavour then gave him a legal post in connection with the government of Piedmont. In his pamphlet Carestia e governo (Turin 1854) he defended Cavour’s unpopular policy of free trade in grain as a curb on high prices. His celebrated pamphlet Note e confronti dei bilanci del Regno di Napoli e degli stati Sardi (Turin 1857) compared the two governments in various respects, notably in their financial systems, to the complete disadvantage of Naples. With the liberation and unification of Italy Scialoja assumed a prominent place in public affairs. He was minister of finance for Naples under Garibaldi’s dictatorship and again under Victor Emmanuel. He represented Italy in the negotiation of the liberal commercial treaty of 1863 with France. From 1865 to 1867 he was finance minister of Italy. Although he had always condemned paper money, the financial pressure of the war with Austria forced him to abandon the gold standard and institute legal tender paper money. He attempted to replace the land tax by a capitalized redeemable tax on land and an income tax to apply to income from land as well as from all other sources, but he failed because of the strong opposition of the landed interest. From 1872 to 1874 he served as minister of education, resigning over the opposition to his proposal for free and compulsory primary education. His last work was his attempt, begun in 1876, to reorganize the corrupted public finances of Egypt.

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