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 8: Emerging Out of the Shadows: Europe
Emerging Out of the Shadows: Europe
In the medieval power structure, the merchant community in Europe was confronted with two dominant powers: first, the local magnates such as the dukes and the counts who rule the mosaic of principalities that emerged as the Western Roman Empire collapsed; second, the Church. After the fall of the Roman power in the West, some imperial functions passed to the Latin Christian Church—some but not all, for the Church's authority was essentially spiritual or ideological, not military, and its claims were embodied in law, not in armies (Hall, 1986: 120–121).
How did the merchant community adapt to this power structure, with entrenched interests stretching back to centuries, and emerge as economic entrepreneurs, with an ethical ...