The Invention of Enterprise: Entrepreneurship from Ancient Mesopotamia to Modern Times (The Kauffman Foundation Series on Innovation and Entrepreneurship)
David S. Landes
Whether hailed as heroes or cast as threats to social order, entrepreneurs--and their innovations--have had an enormous influence on the growth and prosperity of nations. The Invention of Enterprise gathers together, for the first time, leading economic historians to explore the entrepreneur's role in society from antiquity to the present. Addressing social and institutional influences from a historical context, each chapter examines entrepreneurship during a particular period and in an important geographic location.
The book chronicles the sweeping history of enterprise in Mesopotamia and Neo-Babylon; carries the reader through the Islamic Middle East; offers insights into the entrepreneurial history of China, Japan, and Colonial India; and describes the crucial role of the entrepreneur in innovative activity in Europe and the United States, from the medieval period to today. In considering the critical contributions of entrepreneurship, the authors discuss why entrepreneurial activities are not always productive and may even sabotage prosperity. They examine the institutions and restrictions that have enabled or impeded innovation, and the incentives for the adoption and dissemination of inventions. They also describe the wide variations in global entrepreneurial activity during different historical periods and the similarities in development, as well as entrepreneurship's role in economic growth. The book is filled with past examples and events that provide lessons for promoting and successfully pursuing contemporary entrepreneurship as a means of contributing to the welfare of society.
The Invention of Enterprise lays out a definitive picture for all who seek an understanding of innovation's central place in our world.
projects successfully completed—many failed, or were scaled down, because of lack of capital. The table indicates the flow of new projects rather than the stock of existing projects. However, since it also includes authorized amendments to schemes in progress, and changes to the capital stock of existing schemes, the flow at any one time reflects to some extent the accumulated stock. This in turn reflects the fact that entrepreneurship becomes a continuing activity when projects run into
nineteenth century, several factors exerted a negative influence on the development of the entrepreneurship: the political power of the landowners, the attraction of gentry status or of high public office for the elites, the conflict between the Catholic Church and the Revolution, and finally, increasingly radical protests coming from the intellectual and artistic elites. THE POLITICAL WEIGHT OF THE LANDOWNERS The Revolution released the peasants from seigneurial charges, but it did not call
roughly as many non-group-affiliated private firms as family-group-affiliated private firms listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange, the group-affiliated firms' average sales were almost four times as large. The entrepreneurial families behind these groups tend to be drawn from the communities of the Marwaris, Parsis, Gujarati Banias, and Chettiars, as was true of the indigenous bankers and industrialists in the colonial period. Khanna and Palepu claim that the personal nature of business practices
costs of labor-saving machines when labor in China was so cheap and so overly abundant? Furthermore, without the ability to drastically increase the availability of raw materials such as cotton, what good would those new machines powered by new sources of energy such as steam be? One recent study has shown that Europe's technological inventiveness in the eighteenth century might not have made much difference had there not been several crucial accidental factors that occurred at the same time.
Dutch Republic (The United Provinces).22 That led to the establishment of a permanent funded national debt—the responsibility of Parliament, not of the Crown—based on the government's sale of fully negotiable perpetual annuities (Dutch renten), traded on the London and Amsterdam stock exchanges, and financed by the levy of excise (consumption) taxes authorized by Parliament.23 Any such seemingly radical reinterpretation of economic history, on critical “turning points,” has naturally and