Taking stock of some of the recurrent themes of the previous three chapters, this piece explores ways of advancing beyond established controversies. Richard Saller is one of the foremost authorities on Roman social history, above all on patronage and the history of the Roman family. As one of the editors of the forthcoming Cambridge Economic History of the Graeco-Roman World, Saller has most recently begun to address economic questions from the perspective of neo-institutional and development economics, and to link his work on families and households to the study of the Roman economy. Contrary to Finley (and Cartledge, Ch. 1), Saller defends the application of the concepts and concerns of modern economics to the study of the ancient world. In this paper, he challenges the common perception of a clear-cut dichotomy of ‘modernist’ and ‘primitivist’ positions in twentieth-century scholarship on the nature of the ancient economy as represented by the works of Mikhail Rostovtzeff and Moses Finley. Urging conceptual clarification of the terms of the debate, he then focuses on the pivotal question of how to define ‘significant growth’ in the Roman economy.