Overview of Christian involvement in the establishment of new financial institutions in the 18th and 19th centuries

 

by Samuel Fisher

This paper seeks to establish that Christians have a rich heritage in establishing financial institutions during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries which brought about many economic and social benefits to the nation.  Christians today can take encouragement from such institutional entrepreneurship as a means of tackling growing economic and social tensions in twenty first century society.The economic and related social problems of today can seem massive, ingrained and ultimately unchangeable.  But this paper argues that local financial institutions can be relationally enriching and an especially practical means of demonstrating the gospel.  For example, Christians, of the nineteenth century in particular, were able to bring liberty from oppressive lenders, security in times of uncertainty and multi-faceted behavioural and relational improvements to those who used the institutions by engaging with institutional entrepreneurship. 

This paper was originally published as a working paper for Jubilee Centre’s sister organisation Relational Research, April 2010

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