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Shaking the Invisible Hand: Religion and Individualism as Economic Foundations

  • Simon MolloyEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

In the context of 10,000 years of human societies of growing complexity, individualism is a relatively new principle for social and economic organisation. Early societies were deeply tribal with the socioeconomic roles of individuals comprehensively prescribed. The two-and-a-half thousand-year journey from tribalism to individualism has traversed the democratic innovations of Athens, the deeply original conception of the individual at the founding of Christianity, the social philosophy of the Scottish Enlightenment and England’s gradual expansion of enfranchisement. In Adam Smith’s vision, societies realise their positive potential when individuals and institutions balance the pursuit of individualistic and social goals, an orientation fundamental to Christianity.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Systems Knowledge Concepts Pty LtdAdelaideAustralia

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