Markets, Productivity, and Happiness in a Historical Perspective

Law and Economics, Civil Economy and the International Dimension of Ghino Valenti’s Insights

Spalletti Stefano, Università di Macerata
Lampa Roberto, Università di Macerata
Musotti Francesco, Università di Perugia

The scientific projects of Ghino Valenti and Arrigo Serpieri led to the modernization of Italian agricultural economics. Their “two-way relation” operating mode facilitated co-creation processes between “the observer” and “the observed” in the production of knowledge (D'Onofrio 2016). These processes were part of a wide-ranging methodology, which certainly went beyond the Italian national case. The timing of the revival of studies on Valenti – linked to the hundred years that have passed since his death (1920) – has brought to the surface a certain international dimension of the Marche scholar, even if the tributes to Valenti in international journals came from Italian economists such as Einaudi (1915), Loria (1921), Serpieri (1935) and Gerschenkron (1955). More recently, the knowledge of Valenti at an international level has been strengthened by the works of D'Onofrio (starting from 2013). Valenti as law and economics scholar seems not to have been properly explored yet, despite Grossi (1977) having long demonstrated Valenti's excellent familiarity with this subject. This paper then attempts to reconcile the indisputable characteristics of Valenti with the economic analysis of law, established in the 1960s in the USA. It is incorporated into the same tribute that Valenti granted to John S. Mill as an authoritative supporter of the emphyteutic system and from which it followed that, “the observed” Mill, helped “the observer” Valenti to identify the legal and economic originality of particular properties such as agricultural communities, a theme which then allowed Valenti to obtain praise from Émile Laveleye (1880). Thanks to the analysis of collective ownership, Valenti directed his studies towards economics and the Ricardian theory of value, analyzing the markets and establishing, with cooperation, the necessary corrections to their functioning. On this front, even the Keynesian light could today illuminate the theoretical genesis of the Valenti cooperative movement (Musotti 2022). The last intent of the paper, again with reference to the analysis of cooperation, is to observe Valenti while navigating «the underground river of Civil Economy», an approach without geographical limits. If it is true that this river did not dry up even with the transition to marginalism, then in Italy this was also due to «those who actively promoted the Italian cooperative movement, such as Ugo Rabbeno, Vito Cusumano, Luigi Luzzati, Ghino Valenti and Leone Wollemborg» (Bruni 2012, 151).


Keywords: Ghino Valenti; Law and Economics; Civil Economy

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