John Korn, Jacob Rothberg, Rahmate Islam (Section 6)
Capitalism is an economic and political system based on private ownership of and investment in capital and production of goods and services for profit. Merchant capitalism, which was prominent in the Netherlands from the 1300s to the 1800s, is the system of trade, finance, shipping and commercialization for profit. This is also referred to as the first modern economy.
Reformation in the Netherlands during the 17th century influenced capitalism. Calvinism countered the denouncement of money-lending by the Catholic Church and instead portrayed wealth as a virtue. It encouraged investment of money by justifying it with the Protestant work ethic, one should work hard and gain wealth now in order to have a better chance in being salvaged later. Speculation plays a big part in capitalism as well, which we see an example of with the Dutch tulip mania (1633-37).
While capitalism does not have the blatant and evident relations to Dutch heritage in America, there are many underlying connections that can be made. For example, as we spoke about in one of the lectures that we attended, the Dutch economy was very unique. They needed to make specific adaptations if they wanted to have a functioning and flourishing economy, due to their geographical location. Through agricultural advancements and techniques, the Dutch were able to successfully maintain a healthy economy even while faced with the challenges that their location presented. In a similar sense, the American economy must constantly adapt to changes in technology, trends, and the surrounding world.
Capitalism speaks to us all here as it dominates the U.S. and encourages advances for economic growth. We have the Business School at Rutgers which concentrates on the capitalistic system we have. Founded in 1929, it teaches students how to work in the capitalistic economy.
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