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 9: In the Limelight: Knights of Commerce
In the Limelight: Knights of Commerce
What is your substance, whereof are you made?
In the preceding chapter, we have discussed how, in the first three centuries of the 2nd millennium, the merchant communities emerged as the moving spirit behind the development of markets in north western Europe. Associated with this was the growth of towns as the nucleus of commercial and urban expansion. Governance of the towns came to be dominated progressively by the patriciate class consisting of the nobility and large merchant groups. The mercantile culture and ethic wore down the feudal structure of stratified duties and obligations, and more remarkably, the strong ecclesiastical barriers to trade and wealth creation. This then is the theme ...