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The Origins of Business, Money, and Markets$
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Keith Roberts

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231153270

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231153270.001.0001

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Concluding Note

Concluding Note

(p.263) Concluding Note
The Origins of Business, Money, and Markets

Keith Roberts

Columbia University Press

This concluding chapter presents the author's reflections about the lessons he learned from the story of early business. One of the questions he sought to understand was this: what, exactly, is new in modern business? The answer surprised him; and with it came answers, or at least partial answers, to other questions he has long entertained, such as the role of business in creating wealth, the function of finance, the place of morality in business, and the role of business in society. He argues that the crucial difference between modern business and that of ancient times lies in the role that modern business plays in the creation of material wealth, thanks to systems of innovation and marketing that never existed in antiquity. He discusses the four ways that public policy shapes business: providing knowledge, creating markets, enforcing rules, and reducing transaction costs.

Keywords:   early business, business history, Rome, wealth, finance, business ethics, social responsibility

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