Building Resilience Through Transitions
Edited by Frances Westley, Katherine McGowan and Ola Tjörnbo
Chapter 11: “A fever for business”: Dutch joint stock companies
In an inversion of what is usually presented as economic innovation, this case explores the social conditions that allowed the joint stock model to grow and flourish in the Northern Netherlands in the 16th and 17th centuries. Fuelling the period known as the Dutch Golden Age, the joint stock model allowed for significant, revolutionary shifts in resource flows, and ultimately reinforced an actual Dutch revolution against Spanish colonial authorities. This case illustrates the cross-sectoral requirements for a social innovation to take hold and scale, and how these shifts ripple throughout a society, leaving little untouched.
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