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This extraordinary text offers a proven combination of scholarship from an insightful economist and a renowned American historian. It recounts the development of capitalism and the age of machines through the voices of business leaders, working people, inventors, and an unusual cast of presidents, generals, and patriots. Unlike other books in the field of economic history, this text tells a story. While not ignoring statistics and percentages, this narrative focuses on the fact that America's economic transformation is an extraordinary drama--a drama that continues today.
Ever since Max Weber started an argument about the role of Protestantism in jump-starting northern Europe's economic development, scholars have clashed over the influence of religion and culture on a society's (or an individual's) economic prospects. Today, many wonder whether the "explosion" of Protestantism in Latin America will effect a similar wave of growth and democratization. In this book, Sherman compiles the results of her field study and national survey of 1000 rural Guatemalan households. She offers persuasive evidence that, in Guatemala and throughout the region, religious world-views significantly influence economic life. Sherman explains how the change in attitude and behavior that accompanies conversion from animism to a Biblically orthodox world-view has improved the domestic welfare and economic status of many families. Further, she asserts that this new attitude, sympathetic to democratic-capitalism, has created a "moral cultural soil" in which freedom, personal empowerment, an enhanced status for women, and a desire to get ahead can be nurtured.
This text offers a proven combination of scholarship from an economist and a renowned American historian. It recounts the story of capitalism and the age of machines through the voices of business leaders, working people, inventors and an unusual cast of presidents, generals and patriots.
How did the West--Europe, Canada, and the United States--escape from immemorial poverty into sustained economic growth and material well-being when other societies remained trapped in an endless cycle of birth, hunger, hardship, and death? In this elegant synthesis of economic history, two scholars argue that it is the political pluralism and the flexibility of the West's institutions--not corporate organization and mass production technology--that explain its unparalleled wealth.
In a remarkable book based on prodigious research, Morton J. Horwitz offers a sweeping overview of the emergence of a national (and modern) legal system from English and colonial antecedents. He treats the evolution of the common law as intellectual history and also demonstrates how the shifting views of private law became a dynamic element in the economic growth of the United States. Horwitz's subtle and sophisticated explanation of societal change begins with the common law, which was intended to provide justice for all. The great breakpoint came after 1790 when the law was slowly transformed to favor economic growth and development. The courts spurred economic competition instead of circumscribing it. This new instrumental law flourished as the legal profession and the mercantile elite forged a mutually beneficial alliance to gain wealth and power. The evolving law of the early republic interacted with political philosophy, Horwitz shows. The doctrine of laissez-faire, long considered the cloak for competition, is here seen as a shield for the newly rich. By the 1840s the overarching reach of the doctrine prevented further distribution of wealth and protected entrenched classes by disallowing the courts very much power to intervene in economic life. This searching interpretation, which connects law and the courts to the real world, will engage historians in a new debate. For to view the law as an engine of vast economic transformation is to challenge in a stunning way previous interpretations of the eras of revolution and reform.