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The liberating power of entrepreneurship in ancient Athens

Author

Listed:
  • George C. Bitros

    (Athens University of Economics & Business)

  • Anastassios D. Karayiannis

    (University of Piraeus)

Abstract

Our objectives in this paper are threefold. First, we identify the nature of entrepreneurial climate in ancient Athens. Drawing on the analyses of Athenian writers we argue that, although philosophers, politicians, and generals enjoyed greater civil and social status relative to those pursuing wealth-creating activities, ancient Athenians were not negative to efforts at making “moderate” profits that were used also for promoting the well being of the city. Second, we inquire if and to what extent the city-state of Athens (mainly during the 5th century BC) had an active policy for encouraging metics (i.e. resident aliens) and slaves to assimilate into the Athenian society through success in business. And, finally, we characterise the degree to which metics and slaves were able to take advantage of the prevailing institutional set- up in order to achieve social advancement and individual liberty. Our main conclusion is that in ancient Athens there operated a system of economic and social incentives that had been deliberately designed to promote entrepreneurial activities.

Suggested Citation

  • George C. Bitros & Anastassios D. Karayiannis, 2004. "The liberating power of entrepreneurship in ancient Athens," Method and Hist of Econ Thought 0411004, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpmh:0411004
    Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 15
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    File URL: https://econwpa.ub.uni-muenchen.de/econ-wp/mhet/papers/0411/0411004.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Link, Albert N, 1980. "Firm Size and Efficient Entrepreneurial Activity: A Reformulation of the Schumpeter Hypothesis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(4), pages 771-782, August.
    2. Rosen, Sherwin & Nadiri, M Ishaq, 1974. "A Disequilibrium Model of Demand for Factors of Production," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(2), pages 264-270, May.
    3. Eliasson, Gunnar, 1984. "Micro heterogeneity of firms and the stability of industrial growth," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 5(3-4), pages 249-274.
    4. Acs, Zoltan J & Audretsch, David B, 1987. "Innovation, Market Structure, and Firm Size," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(4), pages 567-574, November.
    5. Schultz, Theodore W, 1975. "The Value of the Ability to Deal with Disequilibria," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 13(3), pages 827-846, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Bitros, George C. & Karayiannis, Anastasios D., 2009. "Character, knowledge and skills in ancient Greek education: Lessons for today’s policy makers," MPRA Paper 18012, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Entrepreneurship; social advancement; individual autonomy; individual liberty.;

    JEL classification:

    • B - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology

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