Search Results

You are looking at 1 - 4 of 4 items for

  • Author or Editor: Philipp Robinson Rössner x
Clear All Modify Search
Historical Perspectives: 1200–2000

This ambitious collection follows the evolution of capitalism from its origins in 13th-century European towns to its 16th-century expansion into Asia, Africa and South America and on to the global capitalism of modern day.

Written by distinguished historians and social scientists, the chapters examine capitalism and its critics and the level of variation and convergence in its operation across locations. The authors illuminate the aspects of capitalism that have encouraged, but also limited, social responsibility and environmental sustainability.

Covering times, places and topics that have often been overlooked in the existing literature, this important contribution to the field of economic history charts the most comprehensive chronology of capitalism to date.

Restricted access

Since the last millennium modern capitalism in the West has evolved around two seemingly diametrically opposed notions – one being the assumption of the market as a manifestation of providential or God-given natural order, the other being about order as a result of deliberate, possibly even planned, human action and sometimes proactive interventions of the state. The earlier notion found its way into neoliberalism and other models of free-marketeerism from the Physiocrats (Kaplan and Reinert, 2019) to Friedman. The other has informed coordinated capitalism from post-1600 cameralism to post-1945 ordoliberalism. This tension has shaped evolutions of political economy of markets and regulation in the West. In this chapter the tension is resolved by demonstrating that it was only fairly recently (post-1900) that political economy has come to misunderstand what initially was a result of a symbiotic and logical relationship – order and freedom – as opposites. Certainly the Second World War (1939–45) and post-war ideological manifestos such as Hayek’s Road to Serfdom or Friedman’s Capitalism and Freedom have wrought considerable damage in the collective economic mind by positing that human economy was, above all, about choice; and that human agency could only be guaranteed by a lean state (Friedman, and his other popular works co-authored with his wife); that capitalism was above all a question of freedom (not true) and that government needs, in the political and economic process, to be principally understood as a potential enemy, not friend, of the people (or individual).

Restricted access

This volume has proposed that the evolution of capitalism was connected to the emergence of five distinct economic functions: entrepreneurship, finance, management, workers and political leaders. Some functions emerged as more dominant in particular locations and periods, and other functions in different locations and periods. Thus capitalism can be seen as a series of evolutions rather than a single one. This chapter will review the evidence in the book that informs on selected aspects of these functions. It will then highlight two key takeaways from the volume: geographical dimensions and values and beliefs. Finally, directions for future research will be proposed. The book has reinforced the importance of situating capitalism in a wider historical context. Chapter 2 proposed that the modern market economy developed in 13th-century European towns and was stimulated by local and national regulation. Building on that analysis, Chapter 3 argued that during the 16th and 17th centuries elements of a shared philosophy pertaining to markets and their place in society can be identified in Continental Europe. Key themes were monetary regulation, customs and trade policies aimed at nurturing certain industries or branches of economy that were considered vital for the common good, and market regulation, in particular of urban product markets. These strategies and philosophies of market were invented, applied and modified centuries before modern capitalism, but were an importance influence on it.

Restricted access

Capitalism is a topic with many thematic strands and both geographical and chronological dimensions. As a result, its definition and interpretation have generated a significant amount of discussion. Regarding thematic strands, some scholars have focused on the political dimension, for example, and others the financial (including Hall and Soskice, 2001; Murphy, 2009; Neal and Williamson, 2014; Piketty, 2014; Kocka, 2016; Banaji, 2020; Lipartito and Jacobson, 2020). Assessments of capitalism’s impact are also diverse. While aiding economic growth for some sectors and individuals, significant questions remain regarding the extent to which capitalism has had a positive or negative impact on society as a whole (Piketty, 2014; Beckert, 2015; Lipartito and Jacobson, 2020; Yazdani and Menon, 2020). It is generally accepted that to understand capitalism fully we should situate it in a wider historical context (Cain and Hopkins, 1986). Marx’s analysis of capitalism went back to the Middle Ages, although his primary focus was on the 19th century. Sombart (1927) proposed that a capitalist spirit originated in medieval rulers, administrators, noble estate owners and military leaders, and was disseminated from them to the wider population. Braudel and Britnell saw the Middle Ages as an important step in the transition from a market economy to a later capitalist one. Examining 1000–1500, Britnell (1993) used the concept of commercialization to describe economic transformation that led to urbanization, entrepreneurship and the provision of a strong institutional framework.

Restricted access