August 2, 2010
Historian says market economy is a cultural creation
A particular kind of market-driven capitalism is at the root of America’s success as a world economy and it was shaped and promoted by Puritans in Boston, according to church historian, Mark Valeri.
Valeri’s new book, Heavenly Merchandize is an attempt to answer the question of how a people “who loathed market principles birthed a modern market economy.”
Based on his research, Valeri says if you look at the way our economic system developed, it’s clear that the market is a cultural creation and not a natural order. The Boston Globe‘s Michael Fitzgerald spoke with Valeri:
[Valeri]… finds that the American economy as we know it emerged from a series of important shifts in the relationship between the Colonies and England, fomented by church leaders in both London and early Boston. In the 1630s, religious leaders often condemned basic moneymaking practices like lending money at interest; but by the 1720s, Valeri found, church leaders themselves were lauding market economics. Valeri says the shift wasn’t a case of clergymen adapting to societal changes–he found society changed after the ministers did, sometimes even decades later.
Read the short interview here.
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