The spirit of entrepreneurship has shaped the minds of people and influenced the courses of various civilizations. Although Western civilization, by far, is known as being the most heavily influenced by entrepreneurship, that is only apparent. It has a lot to do with the technological innovations that have captivated the world and kept everyone informed about the newest trends. There is a real history of entrepreneurship, and its roots reach far before the colonization of the Americas even began.
From Mesopotamia to America
The influence of entrepreneurship can be traced back to ancient Mesopotamia and the purple dyes they purchased from the Phoenicians to use for their royal robes. This royal standard of dressing was passed on to the Egyptians and later throughout the Roman Empire. The Phoenicians were known for their mercantile endeavors and were one of the primary races credited for establishing international trade.
These merchant sailors also brought their goods to faraway places like Africa, Asia, and Europe. Although the term “entrepreneurship” wouldn’t be coined until the 1920s by the economist Joseph A. Schumpeter, there were individuals from many cultures making their marks on the known world with their goods and services. Think about how the ancient Chinese were known for their different varieties of tea. How many nameless individuals were behind the large profits that were made when any given blend became popular beyond the borders of China?
From Slavery to Lawlessness
The scope of entrepreneurship has also been behind various forms of evil worldwide. These include the rise of pirates and various forms of organized crime. The colonization of the Americas brought the individual’s desire to turn a large profit to extreme levels, although many thought it necessary. The mistreatment of other humans through slavery was atrocious, but it still goes on to some degree today.
The next time you buy a smartphone, or another high-tech device, think about the engineers who designed it and where it was eventually manufactured. The harsh working conditions, low wages, and long hours suffered by workers who manufacture these goods in countries like China and other East-Asian countries are still a problem today. It turns out entrepreneurship can sometimes exist at the expense of other humans.