HOW TO ACHIEVE A MORE COMPASSIONATE CAPITALISM: Look back to medieval Cambridge
- 28 Mar 2017
England in the late thirteenth century had a dynamic economy, but it was not based on a consumer-driven boom or individualistic capitalism. New analysis of over one thousand properties in medieval Cambridge shows how wealth accumulated by successful businesses was recycled back into the community through support for local churches and hospitals and for itinerant preachers based in the town.
The study by Catherine Casson, Mark Casson, John Lee and Katie Phillips, to be presented at the Economic History Society’s 2017 annual conference, shows how Cambridge’s self-sustaining system was broken in the 1340s by the Black Death, the outbreak of the Hundred Years War and punitive levels of taxation imposed on towns thereafter. When prosperity returned in the Tudor period, a more ruthless form of capitalism took root: it is this capitalism whose legacy remains with us today.