Wednesday, May 14, 2014

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The most important Medieval invention – modern capitalism

No capitalism, no science, no trade, no political freedom, no modern world

by Ferdinand III

A simple equation which is never taught and lies, pale, distraught and largely unknown, hidden and obscure.
Framework of Capitalism + Free will + Political Freedom = Modernity
All 3 antecedents and pre-requisites for the modern world political-economy were only developed in Medieval Europe. Nowhere else.

Rodney Stark in 'How the West was Won' [my subtitle; Why Islam is always a loser], writes:
The rise of capitalism in Europe preceded the Reformation by centuries. As the historian Hugh Trevor-Roper explained, “The idea that large-scale industrial capitalism was ideologically impossible before the Reformation is exploded by the simple fact that it existed.” Only a decade after Weber published, the celebrated scholar Henri Pirenne noted a large literature that “established the fact that all of the essential features of capitalism—individual enterprise, advances in credit, commercial profits, speculation, etc.—are to be found from the twelfth century on, in the city republics of Italy—Venice, Genoa, or Florence.” As noted in chapter 6, the first examples of capitalism appeared in the great Catholic monasteries as early as the ninth century.”
What do you need for capitalism? Culture is king, so the culture will need to dictate the following, as found only in Christian Europe, and which was prevalent by the 9th century AD:
-Political freedom
-Political fragmentation or avoiding centralized despotic empires of control
-End of slavery
-Capital, banks, credit, mortgages
-Excess wealth from an industrializing economy
-Trade both local and far-ranging
-Literacy and writing
-Culture of confidence, trust, responsibility
-Applied science and math to generate practical ideas
-Stability or some form of Pax
These conditions varied in Europe from the 9th to 13th centuries, but the basis of capitalism was first formed in the monastic houses; and then into secular society. Capitalism demands property rights, freedom of action, trade and a culture of responsibility if not honesty. Extant records on trade, credit, banking, even stock incorporation [from the 11th century the world's first stock-issuing corporation was formed in a monastery]; indicate a surfeit of wealth, prompted by an 'explosion' in agricultural productivity. We know that from the 9th century onwards mills, metallurgy, mining, and other advanced forms of industrialized were occurring rapidly across the Continent. Living standards rose, free-time became available [for the first time in history]; and literacy developed. Public schools were formed, and then later the first universities.

Out of this general tumult in capitalism's rise, we can see that science flourished, created in the modern sense, only in medieval Europe. No capitalism, no science.
It is now the consensus among historians, philosophers, and even sociologists of science that real science arose only once: in Europe. In this regard it is instructive that China, Islam, India, and ancient Greece and Rome had a highly developed alchemy, but only in Europe did alchemy develop into chemistry. By the same token, many societies developed elaborate systems of astrology, but only in Europe did astrology lead to astronomy.”

Consensus does not mean much in my view. Facts, reality and truth are more important. The true facts clearly indicate that the above passage is correct. Real science developed only in Europe and is an outgrowth of capitalism, our modern variant determined and based from the 9th century onwards in Medieval Europe.

Newton’s First Law of Motion was simply an expansion of William of Ockham’s (1295–1349) insight that once a body is in motion, it will remain so unless some force, such as friction, acts upon it. This was refined by Jean Buridan (1300–1358), who developed the principle of inertia (that unless acted upon by an external force, bodies at rest will stay at rest and bodies in motion will stay in motion). Inertia was further refined by Galileo (1564–1642), who, characteristically, claimed more credit than he deserved. Of course, Newton’s First Law was merely the starting point for his magnificent system of physics, but, contrary to claims made on his behalf by the philosophers of the so-called Enlightenment, Newton didn’t have to start from scratch.”

Science only developed in Medieval Europe because society, thanks to capitalism, was able to deploy time and resources into its research. If you don't have wealth, you will not have the time or materials to devote to 'abstract research', or to search out the immutable laws of nature. You will be too busy digging a living from unproductive soil with a society mired in dislocation, anti-culture, apathy and iniquity, much like Islam or the ancient despotisms which viewed humans as little more than draft animals.