Landes, David Saul

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LANDES, DAVID SAUL (1924– ), U.S. economic historian. Born in New York City, Landes received a B.A. from the City College of New York in 1942 and a Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1953. He taught economics at Columbia (1953–58) and Berkeley (1958–64). In 1964 he was appointed professor of history at Harvard, and from 1966 to 1968 directed its center for Middle Eastern Studies. Landes' principal studies were in the economic and social history of modern Europe with special reference to the Industrial Revolution and its social consequences, the history of business interests, that of banking in particular, and the general problem of economic development. His contributions in these fields include Bankers and Pashas: International Finance and Economic Imperialism in Egypt (1958); The Rise of Capitalism (1966); The Unbound Prometheus: Technological Change and Industrial Development in Western Europe since 1750 (1968); and "Some Thoughts on the Nature of Economic Imperialism" in Journal of Economic History, 21 (1961), 496–512. In these and other works, Landes analyzed the character of technological development and the factors contributing to national and regional differences. On the subject of imperialism, he argued that it is the result of disparities of power, and not a function peculiar to capitalism. Landes was active in Jewish organizations.

After retiring from teaching, Landes was named Coolidge Professor of History and Professor of Economics Emeritus at Harvard.

Other books by Landes include Revolution in Time: Clocks and the Making of the Modern World (1983) and The Wealth and Poverty of Nations (1998). In the latter, among other novel concepts, he makes a correlation between the economic level of a country and the way the country's women are treated.

[Oscar Isaiah Janowsky /

Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)]