This brief essay by renowned historian Carlo M. Cipolla deals with the topic of education and - despite having been originally published in 1969 - remains interesting for contemporary readers. In the first place, the text crossed new frontiers; following Cipolla’s lead, later historians filled entire bookshelves with volumes devoted to literacy, popular schooling, technical training and link between education and economic growth. Cipolla’s historical reconstruction helps us understand why, in many areas of the developing world, education continues to represent a key factor in economic take-off. The essay is also an early expression of the author’s historiography skills and narrative talents, which later enriched his many fundamental works.
Carlo M. Cipolla (1922-2000) retired in 1991 from UC Berkeley, where he worked in the College of Letters and Science. He was a member of the Royal Historical Society of Great Britain, the British Academy, the Accademia dei Lincei, American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society of Philadelphia. He was awarded the Premio della Presidente della Repubblica in Italy, and the Premio Balzan, as well as honorary degrees in Italy and Switzerland.