Virgil Henry Storr
“Context matters: the importance of time and place in economic narratives” attempts to construct a cultural economics consistent with the interpretive social science of Weber, Mises and Hayek. Beginning with a description of the Weber–Austrian approach, the chapter moves very quickly to a discussion of why the study of culture is important to any attempt to understand economic phenomena and how we might bring the study of culture into our understanding of economics. As I conclude, ours is a science of meanings and thus a focus on culture must be at the fore of our analysis.
Virgil Henry Storr
The Protestant ethic, which according to Weber contributed to economic development in the West, is only one of a variety of work ethics that can be identified and studied. In the Bahamas, for instance, a definite Junkanoo ethic colors economic life. Junkanoo is a semi-annual carnival-like festival that is the quintessential Bahamian cultural experience. This chapter argues that Weber’s Protestant ethic can serve as a model for telling culturally aware economic narratives and uses Weber’s approach to discuss the role that the Junkanoo ethic has played in the economic success of the Bahamas (the richest country in the West Indies).
Virgil Henry Storr and Arielle John
Virgil Henry Storr and Bridget Colon
Entrepreneurs are cultural creatures, and culture affects how they conceive their opportunities and how they determine and pursue their interests. Understanding entrepreneurship in any particular context thus requires attention to be paid to prevailing cultural beliefs as well as the formal and informal institutions that affect economic behavior. This chapter adopts the important but seldom used approach of focusing upon the tales of entrepreneurship prevalent in a given culture. The authors argue that, to get a sense of the economic culture in a particular context, it is crucial to focus on what a culture’s success and failure stories tell about how to get ahead. Arguably, this approach is particularly important if the goal is to understand entrepreneurship amongst subaltern/marginalized groups. Using fiction from the former Soviet bloc, where a one-dimensional form of entrepreneurship flourished even within the command economy, and literature from anglophone Africa and the British Caribbean, where black entrepreneurship had to contend with brutal colonial rule and postcolonial corruption, this chapter highlights how entrepreneurs were influenced by culture in these contexts, and explores the origins of these cultural factors.