Business and Polity explores, through a variety of economic and political formations over the past two and a half millennia, right from the Greco-Roman civilization to present day globalization, the behavior of two power networks: those who control the levers of political power and those who engage themselves in wealth-generating activities. It traces the dynamics of interdependence between these two powerful networks and what happens when one or the other becomes more powerful.
The rational and logical approach taken by the author reveals the links that our modern state of affairs has with the experience of past civilizations—knowledge that can potentially enhance our ability to make informed decisions to shape the global future. Though the content is academic and interdisciplinary in scope and nature, its lucid presentation will appeal to a wide range of readers who are interested in geopolitical issues and economic, political and business history.
Chapter 16: Showing the Way: The Dutch Interlude
Showing the Way: The Dutch Interlude
The declaration of Independence by the northern provinces1 of the Low Countries in 1581 and their meteoric rise in the world economy has been hailed as one of the greatest miracles in bourgeois history.2 Even though the major wealth creating provinces in the south continued to remain within the Habsburg Empire, the merchant communities within the new Dutch Republic organised themselves as a force to reckon with. Up to the 17th century, the merchant communities in many parts of Europe were able to rule cities, more or less independent of superior control, and to direct far-flung federations of towns. In the 17th century, the merchant communities got their first chance to run an entire ...