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American Entrepreneur by Lynne PIERSON DOTI, Larry SCHWEIKART

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CHAPTER 2

European Settlement and Business Enterprise in the New World

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In the 1300s, Europe languished under a succession of famines and poor harvests—complicated by the Black Death, which killed one-third of the population (England suffered an even sharper decline of 40 percent). The demographic crisis spawned a period of lawlessness, as bandits and pirates inhibited commerce and discouraged investment. Nevertheless, the so-called “Dark Ages” had left a foundation for entrepreneurial success in the form of the monastic farms, which demonstrated division of labor and specialization; the free farm—unseen in the Islamic world; and the rational ...

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