What is Quakernomics?. A Fresh Look at Capitalism. Introduction. This talk and discussion is about economics and a religious tradition originating in the UK, the Quakers ‘Quakernomics’ is an exploration of how Quaker principles apply to economic activity
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What is Quakernomics?
A Fresh Look at Capitalism
Klein’s book traces the application of Friedman’s ideas through the ‘Chicago School’ and the imposition of its free-market ideas on Indonesia and South America, and their application to the ‘privatisation’ of the second Gulf War – the invasion of Iraq.
She compares the application of free-market economics in developing countries to electro-shock treatment and its use in torture.
Chang’s book challenges Friedmanite free-market doctrines by showing that mostly they don’t actually work. For example in one of his ‘Things’ he shows that Governments can create successful state-owned industries that out-perform private ones.
The Spirit Level shows how the application of free-market ideas leads to harmful inequalities in society. The authors believe that that more equal societies work better for everyone.
Public grain silo from the time of King Jeroboam II (8th century BC Palestine)
Egyptian grain silos dating to the 17th Dynasty (1630-1520 B.C.) It belongs to a large silo court that comprised the main grain storage facilities of the town.
The 1825 Stockton and Darlington Railway, one of the first passenger services in the world, was the brainchild of Quaker Edward Pease, who helped pass the law that made it possible, and provided substantial finance for it. The Peases were a Quaker family which engaged in weaving, wool-trading, coal-mining and banking.
A later Pease helped found the Fabian Society, which in turn laid many of the foundations of the Labour Party.
Lloyds Bank was founded by Quakers in 1765, when button maker John Taylor and iron producer and dealer Sampson Lloyd set up a private banking business in Birmingham. The first branch office opened in Oldbury in 1864. The symbol adopted by Taylors and Lloyds was the beehive, representing industry and hard work. The black horse device dates from 1677 when Humphrey Stokes adopted it as sign for his shop. Stokes was a goldsmith and "keeper of the running cashes," an early term for banker. When the bank took over the site in 1884, it retained the black horse as its symbol. This private bank converted into a joint-stock company known as Lloyds Banking Company Ltd. in 1865
Barclays takes its symbol, the spread eagle, from the Quaker banking and goldsmithing firm founded by John Freame in 1728. Eight years later, Freame's brother-in- law, James Barclay, became a partner. Two more Barclays relatives joined the Black Spread Eagle, Silvanus Bevan in 1767 and John Henton Tritton in 1782. The bank then assumed the name it was known by for more than a century - Barclays, Bevan & Tritton.
After a change in banking law, Barclays, Bevan & Tritton agreed with two of the other big Quaker-run firms, Jonathan Backhouse & Co and Gurneys, Birkbeck, Barclay & Buxton, and 17 smaller Quaker-run banks, to merge and form a large enough bank to resist all takeover attempts.
John and Benjamin Cadbury received the Royal Warrant as manufacturers of chocolate and cocoa to Queen Victoria in 1854. In 1861 John’s sons George and Richard Cadbury took over the business. George, described as a ‘mystic and businessman’ bought Woodbrooke country house for the Quakers as Study Centre, and in 1893 the brothers bought land for the creation of a factory and model village for their workers in the countryside, naming it Bourneville. It became an outstanding example of an enlightened capitalist enterprise, complete with a school and hospital, and the involvement of workers in the improvement of the business.
Robert Ransome, a Norwich Quaker, moved to Ipswich, which was more tolerant towards non-conformists and allowed Quakers to live and work in comparative peace. He founded Ransomes and Co. in 1789, obtained a patent for making cast-iron ploughshares, and began production in a disused maltings in St Margaret’s Ditches, now Old Foundry Road.
Ipswich museum was founded in 1846 with the specific remit to educate the working classes in natural history. The primary initiative for this philanthropic venture came from George Ransome, FLS, a member of the Quaker Ransome family of Ipswich.
Francis Frith was a photographer who embarked upon the colossal project to photograph every town and village in the United Kingdom. He was ‘recorded’ a Quaker minister in 1872 (at this time there were little more than 250 recorded ministers in England and Wales). He frequently spoke in favour of pacifism and abstinence.
Francis Frith and his co-authors began the liberalisation of the Quaker movement and paved the way for the philanthropic and educational reforms for which the movement is well known today.
The official Quaker website for Great Britain is at:
The website for Quakers in Suffolk, listing local Meetings, is at: ww.suffolkquakers.org.uk
Our Meeting in Ipswich is at 10.30 on Sundays: all welcome
Mike King’s writings, including the Quakernomics talk is at: www.jnani.org/mrking/writings
For a copy of the talk contact Mike King at: