Culture and Economic Action
Show Less

Culture and Economic Action

Edited by Laura E. Grube and Virgil Henry Storr

This edited volume, a collection of both theoretical essays and empirical studies, presents an Austrian economics perspective on the role of culture in economic action. The authors illustrate that culture cannot be separated from economic action, but that it is in fact part of all decision-making.
Buy Book in Print
Show Summary Details
You do not have access to this content

Chapter 18: Network closure, group identity and attitudes toward merchants

Ryan Langrill and Virgil Henry Storr


The nature and evolution of the spirits animating commercial activity are best understood by a cultural approach to economics which focuses on the meanings that individuals attach to their circumstances and actions. This approach can illustrate how the values and ambitions of people in different times and places shape commercial activity as well as how the changes in resource availability and external institutions shape people’s values and ambitions. This chapter discusses two ‘spirits of capitalism’ in Tokugawa Japan: Osaka’s merchant spirit and Edo’s warrior spirit. The two cities had vastly different demographics, which sparked in merchants different values and ambitions. Those values and ambitions, in turn, generated a peculiar ‘spirit,’ which governed commercial activity and shaped the city’s economic landscape. The chapter will continue as follows: section 18.2 examines how ‘closure’ can initiate cultural change. Section 18.3 provides a brief history of Tokugawa Japan. Section 18.4 discusses the divergence of Osaka’s and Edo’s cultures and economies, and how those two relate. Finally, section 18.5 concludes by discussing the chapter’s implications.

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information

or login to access all content.