The paper presents the important personality of the great Italian economist Francesco Ferrara who has been the first Director of the new School of Commerce founded in Venice in 1868. The paper is divided in two parts: the first part presents the main features of Francesco Ferrara as an economist, showing how he was clearly a supporter of a free-market oriented vision of the economic analysis and of the economic policy, not liking at all a vision of the economic analysis separated from the political implications, but definitely favouring a political economy vision. He was a sharp opponent of socialism, although admiring the logical power of Marx’s thought, but not Marxian ideas. But he was also an opponent of intermediate visions leading to mediations in the field of economic policy. His rather radical positions led him to resign from the role of minister of Finance. In the second part the paper shows how Ferrara accepted the proposal of Luigi Luzzatti to be appointed as director of new School of Commerce of Ca’ Foscari in summer 1868; the paper shows how the relations between Ferrara and Luzzatti were characterized by polemical moments, both because of the lines followed by Ferrara in appointing the professors of the new school and because of the openness shown by Luzzatti, and not liked at all by Ferrara, towards policies showing a favorable attitude towards social interventions. Eventually the disagreements were solved. Finally, the paper shows how Ferrara succeeded in appointing at Ca’ Foscari some of the most important Italian economists of his time, such as Maffeo Pantaleoni.
Ferrara. History of economic thought. Obituaries. Economic methodology.