The Dirty Secret of Early Modern Capitalism: The Global Reach of the Dutch Arms Trade, Warfare and Mercenaries in the Seventeenth Century

1st Edition

Kees Boterbloem

Published November 1, 2019
Reference - 244 Pages
ISBN 9781138692886 - CAT# Y286470
Series: Routledge Research in Early Modern History


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This book shows how the Dutch accumulation of great wealth was closely linked to their involvement in warfare. By charting Dutch activity across the globe, it explores Dutch participation in the international arms trade, and in wars both at home and abroad. In doing so, it ponders the issue of how capitalism has often historically thrived best when its practitioners are ruthless and ignore the human cost of their search for riches. This complicates the traditional Marxist understanding of capitalists as middle-class exploiters in arguing for a much greater agency among lower-class Dutch soldiers and sailors in their efforts to benefit from skills that were in high demand.

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