Introduction

Juliann Vitullo, Diane Wolfthal

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingForeword/postscript

Abstract

As we prepare this volume for press, the entire global economy is at risk of recession. After years in which public debates about “values” have emphasized sexual practices, the economic crisis has changed that focus to monetary transactions and financial policy. The United States government is discouraging banks from “hoarding” money, the President speaks about “sharing” the wealth, and many editorial writers decry the “greed” of Wall Street. These discussions encourage us as scholars to study early debates that took place during the rise of the monetary economy, from the thirteenth through the seventeenth centuries, in which monetary practices were discussed as moral decisions, which affected both the soul of the individual and the greater Christian community. The invitation of these early thinkers to examine the fairness and communal benefit of even small everyday transactions offers us a remarkable challenge from the past, yet the inclination to scapegoat and persecute targeted groups during times of economic change and crisis is a historical tendency that we do not want to repeat.1 We want to ensure that our culture does not resurrect Shylock. Finally, by rediscovering the joys and hopes that the fluidity and mobility of the monetary system represented, as well as the insecurities that the new abstract economy generated, we can better face some of our own ethical contradictions and financial fears.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMoney, Morality, and Culture in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Pages1-10
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781351916851
ISBN (Print)9781315248707
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 5 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)

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