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An investigation of early modern Quakers’ business ethics

Sahle, Esther (2015) An investigation of early modern Quakers’ business ethics. Economic History working paper series (216/2015). London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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During the late seventeenth century, when the Atlantic trade experienced unprecedented growth, Quakers emerged as the region’s most prominent trading community. Economic Historians credit the group and its business ethics with shaping the economic environment of early modern England and, consequently, its long term economic growth. This paper, however, argues that Friends’ business ethics were identical to those of their non-Quaker contemporaries. Using a wide range of both Quaker and non-Quaker sources, including sermons and merchant advice literature, this paper constitutes the first in-depth study of Quaker and non-Quaker business ethics. Having refuted the claim that the community’s commercial achievements reflect a unique blend of honesty, reliability, and swift payment of debts, the paper suggests an alternative explanation for Friends’ business success.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2015 The Author
Divisions: LSE
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
JEL classification: B - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology > B1 - History of Economic Thought through 1925
N - Economic History > N0 - General > N00 - General
N - Economic History > N3 - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Income, and Wealth
Date Deposited: 24 Nov 2015 15:13
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2023 23:36

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