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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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PRINTED FROM COLUMBIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.columbia.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CUPSO for personal use.date: 25 September 2021

Markets and Greece

Markets and Greece

(p.51) 3 Markets and Greece
The Origins of Business, Money, and Markets

Keith Roberts

Columbia University Press

This chapter explains how a free-market business economy arose in Athens and other Greek city-states. It is a complex story that includes the geography, culture, and social structure of early Greece; the education and opportunities provided by Greece's Middle Eastern neighbors; new military technology and mercenary earnings; changing political structures; and the invention of coinage. The nature and distribution of wealth was the principal reason why the combination of money, markets, and businesses assumed a recognizable modern appearance and economic role in Athens and other Greek democracies. Colonial trade had indeed given business a greater role in Greece than in the Middle East, but it was no coincidence that business thrived in democratic Athens, not in oligarchic Sparta. Democracy protected voters' purchasing power, safeguarding it from clan leaders. With coinage, their demand enlivened urban markets in democracies, expanding wealth and business opportunities far beyond anything previously known.

Keywords:   free market, business economy, Athens, Greek city-states, colonial trade, democracy, Sparta

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