ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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Trade Policies and Development-Conventional Wisdom Questioned

classic treatise on contagious disease De Contagiosis Morbis. In the period examined here plague was absent from the Florentine state but there was a massive predominance of other infectious diseases particularly tuberculosis, typhus, malaria, small pox, influenza and gastrointestinal diseases, the diseases of underdevelopment. Cipolla states "Diseases do not develop in a vacuum. It would be a grave mistake to limit oneself to an aetiological concept of diseases which considers only the action of microbes or viruses. Epidemiological studies have made us increasingly aware of the role of environmental and socio-economic factors in the aetiology, incidence and prevalence of diseases. The pattern of morbidity in a given society is determined above all by socio-economic and hygienic conditions." This uncontestable conclusion is marred by one paragraph where the author restates his familiar position on the relationship between the demographic changes induced by mortality and its economic effects[5]. Seductively simplistic, if fallacious, this argument has been effectively demolished a number of years back by Brenner[6]. Cipolla's restatement of the 'dominant paradigm' of what Brenner called secular Malthusia- nism, in spite of empirical evidence to the contrary, is one further example of the power of ideology to overlook inconvc nient facts.

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