[In seventeenth century England], nonconformists like Quakers were barred from universities, professions and public office, and so turned to trading and industry instead. . . The work ethic of the Quakers and their simplicity of speech and life quickly led to prosperity and property, and that property soon included ownership of the industrial base of factories and transport and their financial underpinnings through banking. In other words, despite the almost otherworldliness of their conscience and spiritual practices, the Quakers were instinctive capitalists. . . The ethics of this are clear: once it is impossible for a family to own their immediate means of production, the owners of such means have various ethical obligations to their workers. The history of Quaker businesses demonstrates [their] keen sense of that obligation.
– Mike King (2014)
Subscribe or renew now to read all articles online.