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Religion and the Rise of Capitalism de…
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Religion and the Rise of Capitalism (edició 2021)

de Benjamin M. Friedman (Autor)

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Membre:timothyduston
Títol:Religion and the Rise of Capitalism
Autors:Benjamin M. Friedman (Autor)
Informació:Knopf (2021), 544 pages
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Religion and the Rise of Capitalism de Benjamin M. Friedman

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The first quarter of the book outlines some of the intellectual ideas, largely generated by theologians, arising from moral philosophy (in a distinctly Western and Christian view) that slowly developed to form a foundation for Adam Smith, himself a professor of moral philosophy, to write The Wealth of Nations. Over the next quarter of the book, the author shows the rather rapid move from moral philosophy to political economy and the continuing religious and moral underpinnings in the development of economic thought. Unfortunately, the understanding of theology and the Bible in their influence on the development of capitalism is breezy, sometimes misleading, and too often presents debatable content as facts. The latter half of the books focuses exclusively on the United States and the development of economics as a unique discipline. The first half of this half discusses the contending development of the Gospel of Wealth and the Social Gospel, largely premillennialism versus postmillennialism; but by the advent of World War I, the author's focus blurs and begins to shift from economics (capitalism disappears from the text and largely been accepted as the point of economics, at least in the US and Europe) to religion and politics, with economics serving as a catalyst. This last quarter of the book does not seem to relate much to anything that came before -- it feels tacked on to cater to the politics of the moment -- and focuses almost exclusively on fundamentalist Protestantism and its conservative influence on government economic policy. While I enjoyed portions of the book, and will likely investigate some of the titles included in the bibliography, I was frustrated. There is little about capitalism's spread across other continents as an agent of imperialism and Christianity and the subsequent encounter with other religious and moral foundations that influenced how capitalism was accepted and developed. Or even capitalism's strange success in the controlled economy of authoritarian China (not really a form of communism except in the name of the political party) or religion's inability to address social issues as expected except through government (e.g., the failure of prohibition). And, as is true with most books that try to end with the most recent study or data, a study that came out after this book was published notes "a dramatic rise of various kinds of non-religion in the US." (see David E. Campbell, Geoffrey C. Layman, and John C. Green, Secular Surge: A New Fault Line in American Politics, Cambridge University Press, 2021.) ( )
  kewing | Mar 14, 2021 |
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