Nerio Naldi

Dicembre 1922: Piero Sraffa e Benito Mussolini

  • Abstract

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In December 1922 Piero Sraffa related to John Maynard Keynes (and many years later to several Italian economists) that as a result of the publication of the article on Italian banking that the latter had asked him to write for the "Reconstruction in Europe" supplement to the "Manchester Guardian Commercial", his father had received two telegrams from the Italian Prime Minister Benito Mussolini warning him that he was to demand his son to answer for the article and see to it that he published a retraction. But the real nature of those telegrams had long been somewhat shrouded in mystery because no document proving their existence had been found among Mussolini's papers preserved in Rome at the "Archivio Centrale dello Stato", nor had the original copies of the telegrams been found in Cambridge among the papers of Piero Sraffa. However, documents which may clarify this episode have been found in Rome in the "Archivio Storico Diplomatico" of the "Ministero degli Affari Esteri". On the grounds of this evidence this paper reconsiders the content of Piero Sraffa's December 1922 article, what might have prompted Mussolini's reaction, what kept him from carring out his threats, and some other events in which Piero Sraffa was involved shortly after this episode which he himself considered to be intimately connected with Mussolini's initiative.

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