Capitalism and entrepreneurship

Here is a brief extract from the contribution of Prof. Franco Amatori in the E&M 1/2020 Focus

The Focus of this issue of E&M collects a series of speeches started from the article of Prof. Franco Amatori, Full Professor of Economic History at Bocconi University, on the birth and characteristics of European capitalism.

Discussing this issue are important names in Italian economics such as Prof. Francesco Giavazzi (Full Professor of Political Economics at Bocconi University), Luca Paolazzi (Partner at REF Ricerche) and Edoardo Reviglio (Chief Economist and Head of Economic and Statistical Research at the Cassa Depositi e Prestiti-CDP).

Here is a brief extract from the contribution of Prof. Franco Amatori:

“It is increasingly widespread opinion in the community of business historians (to which I belong) that the traditional unit of analysis - the enterprise itself - can no longer be considered alone, but should be seen as part of a broader context, capitalism.

What is capitalism? In turn, capitalism is a very difficult container to delimit and define. The first answer that comes to mind is that it is a mode of production based on private ownership and the sale of goods on the free market, but the image of the many state owned enterprises and the regulated market in Japan for strategic goods after the Second World War immediately comes to mind. So we try to climb on the shoulders of the giants, Marx, Weber, Polanyi, Schumpeter, Braudel, but we always remain with a unilateral definition of this economic-social form, so much so that we end up accepting the one proposed by Jürgen Kocka, who, in his golden booklet,

Capitalism, defines it as ‘decentralization, commodification, accumulation’, perhaps a network with too wide a mesh, but sharable”.