There is a concept loose in the U.S. and emphasized in our educational system that the Puritans arrived in the U.S. believing in capitalism and went straight to economic prosperity.
Well, capitalism will definitely do that, but the Puritans made a few stops before getting to prosperity. Those included socialism, price controls, and severe caps on finance & trade under the guise of opposing usury. All of those policies will suppress economic development.
Jerry Bowyer explores this journey through false ideas is a series of articles, which summarize his interview with Mark Valeri, author of Heavenly Merchandize.
To encourage you to check out the full articles, I’ll try to summarize some key ideas.
7/30 – Forbes – Jerry Bowyer – Puritans vs. Capitalism: How A Theological Error Led To Financial Stagnation – In the 17th century, pastors and religious leaders were opposed to usury which included even discounting letters of credit more than a small amount. If you can’t use paper (bills of credit) to facilitate long-distance trading, there won’t be much trading.