The Hidden Form of Capital: Spiritual Influences in Societal Progress

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Peter L. Berger, Gordon Redding
Anthem Press, 2011 - Political Science - 230 pages
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'The Hidden Form of Capital' presents evidence from several parts of the changing world about how the realm of the spirit affects the economy. Instead of adding to the theoretical speculation on the role of culture in economic progress, this book provides evidence from recent analytical studies in Europe, Asai, Africa, Russia, and the United States.


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About the author (2011)

Peter Berger came to the US in the 1950s as a Lutheran teacher of religion. He joined the renowned New School in Greenwich Village, where he completed his doctorate with a study of the Baha'i faith. His interest in religion expanded to the wider field of sociology, and in 1966 with Thomas Luckmann he wrote the classic treatment of culture ‘The Social Construction of Reality’, now with over ten thousand citations, shortly followed by the equally classic treatment of religion ‘The Sacred Canopy’. [NP] His interest in societal development later led him to an analysis of the workings of capitalism, and his book ‘The Capitalist Revolution’ was an early clear statement of the issues in the debates on economic ideology that have followed and remain controversially fought over. The new literature on the comparison of capitalisms is a legacy of that thinking. At the Institute on Culture, Religion and World Affairs that he founded and directed until recently, he has inspired a wide selection of global scholars to research and write a formidable total of eighty books bringing new knowledge to policy debates. He continues to research and write, and also to inspire, as he encourages a tolerant combination of varied disciplines to address some of the world’s most challenging issues.

Gordon Redding spent eleven years in business before indulging his awakened curiosity about how it worked by undertaking doctoral research at Manchester Business School.  While there, he received formative guidance from Richard Whitley, now one of the foremost scholars on the global comparison of systems of business. Moving to Hong Kong to escape the 1970s tribulations of the British economy, he found himself observing the beginnings of the Asian miracle, and stayed twenty-four years to study its astonishing progress. Initially studying the ethnic Chinese in the region outside China, his book ‘The Spirit of Chinese Capitalism’ showed the contribution of culture to economic behavior. Since then he has continued to develop the theory of placing culture among the multitude of factors leading to societal economic evolution. This theory was exercised in his analysis of China’s growth ‘The Future of Chinese Capitalism’ (with Michael Witt). [NP] Now dedicated to deeper investigation into the origins of economic progress, his current work looks at the factors - including spiritual - that explain why some countries are richer than others. His work both combines and transcends traditional economics and sociology, attempting to find a fertile combination of the two perspectives.

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