Synopses & Reviews
This book examines the complex interrelationship between charity, confession, and capital in the orphanages of the Free Imperial City of Augsburg. To provide the best care at the least cost the administrators of these traditionally non-capitalistic organizations engaged in a wide variety of capitalistic practices in capital, commodity, and labor markets. Their market-orientated practices inspired bourgeois virtues that included the assessments of long-term risk and reward, the avoidance of excess and waste, and the practice of obedience, persistence, and industry. Under the pressures of confessional tension, efficiency slowly evolved into a more complex notion of utility that placed the needs of the orphanages over the dictates of economy and the divisions of religion. The product of monumental, original research, this book offers a substantial revision of current historical scholarship on poor relief, social discipline, organization building, and the advent of capitalism. A forthcoming volume will pursue these issues through a close study of the fortunes and fates of 8.000 Augsburg orphans. These studies make required reading for advanced students of early modern Europe.