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MMW 14 Chapter Notes - Chapter Reading: Market System, Profit Motive, Middle AgesPremium

2 pages80 viewsWinter 2019

Making of the Modern World
Course Code
MMW 14
Edmond Chang

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The Economic Revolution
In the past, people were forced to cooperate for survival, but now with modern
technology, the fact that society can still function is a miracle
Most people don’t do the basic jobs that require direct contact with the earth like
mining and farming
Should there be a shortage of people in any one field, the whole of society would
break down
The three ways of guarding against calamity
Authoritarian rule
Market system (capitalism)
The market system brought about the need for economists
Someone had to figure out how to predict which way society would go and how
everything was still getting done
When trade first started to pick up, there was a lot of tension between pure trade and
social, religious, and economic life
There wasn’t free trade because all other aspects of life held sway on what you
could do
Trade volume was much less as most people saw it as an unhonorable
profession (gaining money for its own sake = greed)
The profit motive was not something that existed before modern times and even in
modern times there are areas where it is largely absent
People worked to feed themselves and maintain their status, not advance it
In many religions, the notion of working to make money and having a life goal of
being rich was seen as sinful and evil
Being an entrepreneur and a capitalist was not the norm
Even the heirs to a large banking fortune all refused because they would
rather live in peace (couldnt be bothered)
Work was an end in itself, money was not the goal like it is today
The notion of land, labor, and capital as agents that drive wealth did not exist
Even nobility selling land was unthinkable for a long time
Land wasnt generally for sale” until after the middle ages
Most workers weren’t paid for their work and there was no job searching like we
have today
The worker didnt sell his skills to the highest bidder
Even if you were an artisan, all of your skills and products were managed
by a guild
Capital existed, but it wasnt seen as something that should be amassed by
common folk
The first mass production of weaving was shut down when the guilds
appealed to the king
Too much wealth in one place
People were very stuck in tradition and wanted to be as safe as possible
The economic revolution that led to capitalism was tense and uneasy
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