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The Victory of Reason. How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism and Western Success

( Stark, Rodney )

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-14 But among all major faiths, Christianity was unique in evolving moral opposition to slavery. religia



-12 Religious ideas played a vital role in the rise of capitalism in Europe. ideologia



-11 Perhaps because it was such an elegant thesis, it was widely embraced despite the fact that it was so obviously wrong. nośność



-10 Capitalist system (…) “has created more massive and more colossal productive forces than all the preceding generations together.” Capitalism achieves this “miracle” through regular reinvestment to increase productivity - through either greater capacity or improved technology - and by motivating both management and labor through ever-rising payoffs. kapitalizm/socjalizm



8 Rather, traditional Jews and Muslims incline toward strict constructionism and approach scripture as law to be understood and applied, not as the basis for inquiry about questions of ultimate meaning. For this reason scholars often refer to Judaism and Islam as “orthoprax” religions, concerned with correct (ortho) practice (praxis) and therefore placing their “fundamental emphasis on law and regulation of community life.” In contrast, scholars describe Christianity as an “orthodox” religion because it stresses correct (ortho) opinion (doxa), placing “greater emphasis on belief and its intellectual structuring of creeds, catechisms, and theologies.” Typical intellectual controversies among Jewish and Muslim religious thinkers involve whether some activity or innovation (such as reproducing holy scripture on a printing press) is consistent with established law. Christian controversies typically are doctrinal, over matters such as the Holy Trinity or the perpetual virginity of Mary. religia



9 But unlike Muhammad or Moses, whose texts were accepted as divine transmissions and therefore have encouraged literalism, Jesus wrote nothing, and from the very start the church fathers were forced to reason as to the implications of a collection of his remembered sayings - the New Testament is not a unified scripture but an anthology. Consequently, the precedent for a theology of deduction and inference and for the idea of theological progress began with Paul: “For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophesy is imperfect.” Contrast this with the second verse of the Qur’an, which proclaims itself to be “the Scripture whereof there is no doubt.” religia



11 These views were entirely consistent with the fundamental Christian premise that God’s revelations are always limited to the current capacity of humans to comprehend. Ewangelia

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dydaktyka



12 Science is a method utilized in organized efforts to fromulate explanations of nature, always subject to modifications and corrections through systematic observations.
[...]
Consistent with the views of most contemporary historians as well philosophers of science, this definition of science excludes all efforts through most of human history to explain and control the material world,...
nauka



14 Thus, when Democritus proposed that all matter is composed of atoms, he did not anticipate scientific atomic theory. His “theory” was mere speculation, having no basis in observation or any empirical implications. That it turned out to be correct is no more than linguistic coincidence that lends no greater significance to his guess than to that of his contemporary Empedocles, who asserted that all matter is composed of fire, air, water and earth, or Aristotle's version a century later, that matter consists of heat, cold, dryness, moistness and quintessence. wyłuskiwanie gerpedelucyjne



21 Thus, Islam did not fully embrace the notion that the universe ran along on fundamental principles laid down by God at the creation but assumed that the world was sustained by his will on a continuing basis. religia



24 Freedom is another concept that simply doesn’t exist in many, perhaps most, human cultures - there isn’t even a word for freedom in most non-European languages. wolność



26 Thus, while ordinary Greek or Roman pagans embraced fatalism, whatever reservations about it some ancient philosophers might have expressed, Jesus taught that each individual must atone for moral lapses precisely because these are wrong choices. There could be no more compelling intellectual emphasis on self and individuality than this. religia

Ewangelia



35 The idea that Europe fell into the Dark Ages is a hoax originated by antireligious, and bitterly anti-Catholic, eighteenth-century intellectuals who were determined to assert the cultural superiority of their own time and who boosted their claim by denigrating previous centuries as - in the words of Voltaire - a time when “barbarism, superstition, [and] ignorance covered the face of the world.” Views such as these were repeated so often and so unanimously that, until very recently, even dictionaries and encyclopedias accepted the Dark Ages as an historical fact. Some writers even seemed to suggest that people living in, say, the ninth century described their own time as one of backwardness and superstition.
Fortunately, in the past few years these views have been so completely discredited that even some dictionaries and encyclopedias have begun to refer to the notion of Dark Ages as mythical. Unfortunately, the myth has so deeply penetrated our culture that even most scholars continue to take it for granted that - in the words of Edward Gibbon - after Rome fell came the “triumph of barbarism and religion.” In part this is because no one has provided an adequate summary of what really took place.
This chapter aims to fill that gap - to show that when the breakup of the Roman empire “released the tax-paying millions... from a paralysing oppression,” many new technologies began to appear, and were rapidly and widely adopted, with the result that ordinary people were able to live far better, and after centuries of decline under Rome, the population began to grow again. No longer were the productive classes bled to sustain the astonishing excesses of the Roman elite, or to erect massive monuments to imperial egos, or to support vast armies to hold Rome’s many colonies in thrall. Instead, human effort and ingenuity turned to better ways to farm, to sail, to transport goods, to build churches, to make war, to educate, and even to play music. But because, so many centuries later, examples of classical Greek and Roman public grandeur still stand as remarkable ruins, many intellectuals have been prompted to mourn the loss of these “great civilizations.” Many who are fully aware of what this grandeur cost in human suffering have been quite willing even to write off slavery as merely “the sacrifice which had to be paid for this achievement.”
historia



37 That invention flourished in the aftermath of the fall of Rome demonstrates the principle that despotic states discourage and even prevent progress. Why should farmers seek or adopt new and better agricultural technology if all the increased production will be taken from them? Who will reinvest profits to expand an industry if it is apt to be expropriated by the nobility? Invention and innovation tend to occur only where property is safe from seizure either because the state has become disorganized or because its powers have been curtailed. The remarkable era of innovation that occurred within the political disunity that followed the collapse of Rome was a preview of what lay ahead and also provided the opportunity for rapid innovations and the subsequent appearance of capitalism. Hence, it is pertinent to sketch the magnitude of early medieval technological innovations. These can be separated into three main classes: those that increased productive capacities, those that were of use mainly in war, and those that improved transportation. władza

BFDS- Basic Factor for Dev. of Societies



44 Thus, the invention of eyeglasses, in about 1284 in northern Italy, had dramatic effects on productivity. Without glasses, large numbers of medieval craft workers were washed up at forty. With glasses, not only could most of these people continue but because of their experience, their most productive years still lay ahead. Not only that but many tasks are greatly facilitated by use of magnifiers, even by persons with fine eyesight. These tasks were often beyond ancient craftspeople. No wonder glasses spread with amazing speed. Within a century after their invention, the mass production of eyeglasses occupied plants in both Florence and Venice, turning out tens of thousands of eyeglasses a year. Even so, in 1492, when Columbus set sail, eyeglasses still were known only in Europe. czynnik wiktoria



47 Soon after discovering the floating needle compass, medieval Europeans added the compass card and then the sight, which allowed mariners not only to know which way was north but to determine their precise heading. They could now set accurate courses in any direction. The temporal clustering of written reports of this new invention demonstrates that it spread among sailors from Italy to Norway in only a few years. czynnik wiktoria



55 Several thousand books have been written about capitalism, but very few authors explain what they mean by that term. This is not because no definition is needed; it is because capitalism is very difficult to define, having originated not as an economic concept but as a pejorative term first used by nineteenth-century leftists to condemn wealth and privilege. Adapting the term for serious analysis is a bit like trying to make a social scientific concept out of “reactionary pig.” Even so, no one has dealt with the development of the concept of capitalism and its elusive meanings so well as Fernand Braudel. The term “capital” came into use in the fourteenth century to identify funds having the capacity to return income, rather than simply being of consumable value. Thus, in early usage, “capitalism” referred to the use of wealth (or money) to earn wealth (or money). Put another way, the word “capitalism” implied using wealth to provide income with the intention that the initial value of the wealth not be reduced, as with money lent at interest. It is investment, the systematic risking of wealth in pursuit of gain, that distinguishes the capitalist from those who merely exact their wealth through rents, taxes, conquest, or banditry. But in addition to being investors, capitalists usually take a more active role in their enterprises as compared with a pure investor such as a moneylender. That is, capitalists tend to invest in productive activities whereby new wealth is created. Moreover, capital (or wealth) is not merely money - which is why some prefer the term “capital goods.” Factories, land, ships, mines, and warehouses all are obvious capital goods. But it is equally true that for a peasant a cleared plot of ground, tools, and an ox are capital goods in that they can be used to create additional wealth (such as foodstuffs). The same could be said of the spear or club of the Stone Age hunter or the basket carried by his wife when she went gathering. So if we don’t want to equate capitalism with any and all human economic activity, the definition must be narrowed. The term “capitalism” implies some degree of management, of supervising activities (as opposed simply to performing them); and these activities involve commercial complexity, duration, and planning, as well as a certain degree of autonomy in selecting opportunities and directing activities. But even after sketching these many aspects involved in capitalism, Braudel chose not to commit himself to an explicit definition.

Although I am fully aware that it might be good strategy to let readers supply their own meaning of “capitalism,” it seems irresponsible to base extended analysis on an undefined term. Therefore: Capitalismis an economic system wherein privately owned, relatively well organized, and stable firms pursue complex commercial activities within a relatively free (unregulated) market, taking a systematic, long-term approach to investing and reinvesting wealth (directly or indirectly) in productive activities involving a hired workforce, and guided by anticipated and actual returns.

definiowanie



57 Consistent with this definition, everyone writing on capitalism (whether or not they actually define the term) accepts that it rests upon free markets, secure property rights, and free (uncoerced) labor. Free markets are needed in order for firms to enter areas of opportunity, which is precluded when markets are closed or highly regulated by the state. Only if property rights are secure will people invest in pursuit of greater gains, rather than hide, hoard, or consume their wealth. Uncoerced labor is needed so firms can attract motivated workers or dismiss them in response to market conditions. Coerced labor not only lacks motivation but may be difficult to obtain and hard to get rid of. It is the capacity to motivate work and the systematic reinvestment of profits that account for the immense productivity of capitalism, just as both Weber and Marx pointed out more than a century ago. kapitalizm/socjalizm