Ivan Light is professor emeritus of sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles. Léo-Paul Dana is professor of business at Dalhousie University.
This book begins by defining market capitalism, noting that it is not as old as humanity and that capitalism as it is known today coincided with the Protestant Reformation and Martin Luther. Throughout the book Light (emer., Univ. of California, Los Angeles.) and Dana (Dalhousie Univ.) examine many contexts where morality and capitalism intersect and insinuate a symbiotic relationship whereby society tolerates immorality in business for the sake of economic advantage. The 10 chapters in part 2, which documents non-monetary resources, start with Max Weber’s cultural approach to capitalism before examining the Protestant Reformation, the Jewish Merchants of Venice, an Alaskan island, Pakistan, Korean immigrants, and Donald Trump. Part 2 then offers an explanation of how non-monetary resources can legitimate capitalism. Overall, the book provides interesting insight into the intersections of culture and capitalism within a well-researched historical context. Each chapter has its own endnotes, and there is a complete bibliography at the end of the book. The index contains key terms; however, a more comprehensive index would increase usability, though its narrowness in no way takes away from the substance of this intriguing work. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; professionals.
The world is clamoring for alternative models and understanding to unbridled capitalism. In this pathbreaking and deeply thoughtful book, Ivan Light and Leo Dana provide a broad, comprehensive, and compelling analysis reconciling entrepreneurship and capitalism with ethics and morality. This important book provides a blueprint for capitalism with a human face and heart. In an era burdened by crisis and cycles of devastating cynicism, this book offers a well considered optimistic future for capitalism, entrepreneurship, and humanity.
In this exquisitely researched and eloquently argued volume, globally renowned scholars of entrepreneurship Ivan Light and Leo Paul Dana challenge the assertion that capitalism can only generate wealth through the anti-social, unrestricted, and amoral pursuit of profit. Mobilizing a diverse array of case studies, Entrepreneurs and Capitalism since Luther: Rediscovering the Moral Economy, convincingly argues that capitalism emerged from contexts that were collectively oriented, small in scale, and socially beneficial; not unlike those maintained by contemporary religious, ethnic, and moral communities. In generating this perspective, the authors present an alternative to the dystopia of neo-liberalism that is both compelling and hopeful.
At today’s zenith of the resource-based view of the firm, Light and Dana provide an intellectual and historical gravitas for the approach, building a view that includes not only social, reputational and skill based resources but also the all-important work ethic, which defined the distinct contribution Reformation era thinking and action made possible for today’s models of market capitalism. Tying theory to examples where the mix of cultural and community factors differ, they span the globe and ages showing where capitalism can build or have trouble taking hold. The book’s unexpected insights and rich depictions of diverse cultures make for a fascinating and thought-provoking read.