It will be seen from the foregoing that some of the spirit and practices of modern capitalism were already apparent as early as the eleventh and twelfth centuries. European thought was becoming more secular with the development of a mercantile culture which stressed the production of goods for profit in contrast with the former emphasis on production for use. Medieval man began exploiting opportunities for more effective production and is distribution of the products of farm, mine, and shop. From this search evolved the economic system we call capitalism. In its rudimentary form this institution was not unknown during the Dark Ages. Though, greatly overshadowed, it provided some opportunities for entrepreneurial activity during the early Middle Ages, and thus capitalism that emerged full-blown in the sixteenth century was the result of an evolutionary process of trial and error. [excerpt]
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Bloom, Robert L. et al. "4. The Rise of Capitalism. Pt. V: The Rise of Capitalism and the National State to 1500." Ideas and Institutions of Western Man (Gettysburg College, 1958), 22-28.