In The Roots of Western Finance: Power, Ethics, and Social Capital in the Ancient World, Thomas K. Park and James B. Greenberg take an anthropological approach to credit. They suggest that financial activities occur in a complex milieu, in which specific parties, with particular motives, achieve their goals using a form of social, cultural, or economic agency. They examine the imbrication of finance and hidden interests in Mesopotamia, ancient Egypt, classical Greece and Rome, the early Judeo-Christian traditions, and the Islamic world to illuminate the ties between social, ethical, and financial institutions. This unique breadth of research provides new perspectives on Mesopotamian ways of incentivizing production through financial arrangements, the source of Egyptian surpluses, linguistics and usury, metrological influences on finance, and the enduring importance of honor and social capital. This book not only illustrates the particular cultural logics that drove these ancient economies, it also depicts how modern society's financial techniques, ethics, and concerns with justice are attributable to a rich multicultural history.
Roots of Western Finance
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