Ancient Greeks had an understanding of the concept of capitalism and knew about economic growth, profit and gross domestic product maximization, according to an Economist article.
In a series of articles on the concept of capitalism through the ages, the Economist uses Larry Neal and Jeffrey Williamson’s book entitled “The Cambridge History of Capitalism” as a reference.
The article suggested that even though ancient Greeks did not know what capitalism was under the strict definition of the term, their practices were very similar to those of the modern capitalist model.
There is a reference to ancient Greece and its sophisticated economy, according to which Greeks were raising their income by 0.07% to 0.14% per year, something that was phenomenal not only in ancient societies but even to societies until right before the industrial revolution.
“Industry” was limited in ancient Greece and despite the fact mills could be considered as “capital” and the mill owners as “capitalists,” Greeks of that era believed that true capital was the ownership of arable land and slaves.
The fact that ancient Greeks traded olives, olive oil, dried fruit and wine indicate that economic agents were operating with time horizons of at least several years, time needed to cultivate, grow and harvest on a regular basis.
Before Greece, the first primeval signs of capitalism appeared in the Babylonian society at around 1000 B.C., with the concept of commerce and mass agricultural production.
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