“Entrepreneurs and Capitalism Since Luther: Rediscovering the Moral Economy. ” di Ivan Light & Léo-Paul Dana


Who you know and what you know are both important, but which is more important? Addressing that question to business history, six case studies illustrate contrasting relationships between social networks, vocational culture, and entrepreneurship. The cases support the conclusion that in capitalism’s early stages, cultural capital is scarcer than social capital and for this reason more crucial for business owners to control. Conversely, when capitalism is well established, social capital is scarcer than cultural capital and, for this reason, becomes more crucial to control. With these conclusions as its starting point, Part 2 traces moral legitimations of capitalism from the Reformation to the Enlightenment, to the Gilded Age, and finally to Joseph Schumpeter whose concept of “creative destruction” freed elite entrepreneurs from moral restraints that still encumber routine business owners. After examining the availability of social and cultural capital in the contemporary United States, the final chapter shows that small business owners’ social capital enforces conventional morality in markets, facilitating commerce, but also tending to legitimate small business the old-fashioned way. Elite entrepreneurs cannot obtain that moral legitimation and so depend upon beneficial economic results to retain societal toleration.

Reference: Light, I., & Dana, L. P. (2020). Entrepreneurs and Capitalism since Luther: Rediscovering the Moral Economy. Rowman & Littlefield, Washington.

More info: https://www.entrepreneursandcapitalism.com