TABLE OF CONTENTS
2. Social Changes
3. Itinerant Merchants
4. The Crusades
6. The Religious Climate
7. The breakdown of the manorial system
9. The industrial Revolution
Capitalism emerged in Western Europe due to several decisive factors which permitted it to evolve into a completely new social system and become the most dominant force in world economy and world politics. The most significant of these factors included social change, technical/ scientific innovations, economic transition and prevalent ideological thought. Each of these factors had an affect on the other, although its pace varied in the different countries within Western Europe. These convergent forces, including the development of maritime enterprise, allowed the domination of the evolving global economy by Western Europe.
There were slow social changes that eventually made the market system possible and brought about economic change. Adam Smith stated that we always have a predilection to “truck, barter, and exchange one thing for another.” There has never been a society which has been market controlled; however, market exchange (locally controlled), trade and merchants can be traced to the earliest civilizations. Karl Polanyi remarks in his book The Great Transformation:
[A]lthough the institution of the market was fairly common since the later Stone Age; its role was no more than incidental to economic life.... [W]hile history and ethnography know of various kinds of economies, most of them comprising the institution of markets, they know of no economy prior to our own, even approximately controlled and regulated by markets....All economic systems known to us up to the end of feudalism in Western Europe were organised either on the principles of reciprocity or redistribution or householding (i.e., production for...