According to Guns, Germs, and Steel, what was the basic economic ideology concerning market activity in feudal times?   In other words, what was considered ‘acceptable’ or ‘bad’ and why?...

According to Guns, Germs, and Steel, what was the basic economic ideology concerning market activity in feudal times?   In other words, what was considered ‘acceptable’ or ‘bad’ and why?

 

 

This is from the book Guns, Germs, and Steel by Diamond

Asked on by valp

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I wonder if you are really correct in saying that this question goes with this book.  The words "feudal" and "feudalism" never occur in the book, according to a search on my Kindle.  The word "ideology" never appears in any context having to do with economics.  The word "market" does not appear in the proper context either.  This is not surprising because Diamond is not concerned much with the time period in which feudalism existed.  He is also not much concerned with attitudes towards economic activity.

The only thing that I can think of from the book that would shed any light at all on this would be Diamond's discussion of how Europe's political fragmentation meant that technologies and ideas could not be discarded by one kingdom for fear that some other kingdom would use them to get ahead.  This would imply that European kingdoms would have tended to accept market activity.

From my knowledge of feudal times, I can tell you that market activity was very much looked down on by aristocrats and that Church leaders were at least ambivalent about it.  Aristocrats felt that land should be the only proper source of wealth and therefore did not think much of capitalists and merchants.  Church leaders had religious qualms about lending money at interest, which is a market activity.  However, because market activities (whether the elites liked it or not) made money, they tended to be accepted because the nobility often needed to borrow money from the capitalists that they looked down on.

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