OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS

Academic, Professional and General

Academic,Professional ans General

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Taming Capitalism before its Triumph

Far from being a recent response to mainstream capitalism, ideas about socially responsible business have long shaped the pursuit of wealth, power, and profit. In Taming Capitalism before its Triumph: Distrust, Public Service, and ‘Projecting’ in Early Modern England, Koji Yamamoto (Assistant Professor in Business History, University of Tokyo), a Japanese historian of early modern England (1550-1750), describes the origin and evolution of the image of 'projectors' or entrepreneurs as profiteers, pursuing private profit at the public’s expense, despite their claim to be advancing the wealth and welfare of the kingdom. Through case-studies, the author explores the history of selected projects, how they worked -- or did not work -- in practice, and how their implementation depended on their promoters 'negotiating' public distrust in order to gain support from central and local governments and from potential private investors.

About the book

  • Reveals the remarkable extent to which the culture of improvement in early modern England was not only preoccupied with promises of public service, but also pervaded by a strong public distrust of such promises
  • Places the evolution of ideas about 'projecting' or entrepreneurship within the context of state-formation, mercantilism, and the rise of the fiscal state and the financial revolution
  • Presents case studies of concrete projects drawing on sources conventionally used in political history, local history, parliamentary history, and the history of science
  • The first study to document a history of numerous visible hands taming incipient capitalism, a story that Adam Smith and his admirers set aside
  • Develops a fresh, integrated, account of England's incipient capitalism that has civic, as well as scholarly, implications

A symposium based on the book will be held on Saturday, 16 October at the Kojima Hall of the University of Tokyo.

(June 18, 2018)

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