Money, Banks and Finance in Economic Thought

Samuel Przypkowski contra Max Weber? : First Outline of a Political Economy of Toleration

Higgins J. Patrick, Faculty of Law and Administration, University of Łódż

Weber's Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism has inspired generations of investigations into the interconnections of cultural and economic change. Many of these have engaged with Weber in debating the exact nature of the religious situation and how this effected the birth of capitalism and liberalism. An alternative explanation is that (pre-) capitalism was not the product of religious change, but rather that social, political, economic, and religious change were simultaneous. Such a theory is presented by the work of Samuel Przypkowski, a Polish theologian and social theorist of the 16th and 17th centuries, who argues that political (and by extension, economic) freedom and the meta-value of tolerance between religions are mutually reinforcing. This paper is a first attempt to systematize Przypkowski's theories of toleration to explain the diffusion of the Radical Reformation and the institutions of pluralism, tolerance, criticism of serfdom, and spread of religious freedom in Central-Eastern Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries.


Keywords: Virtues of 17th Century Political Economy, History of Political Economic Thought, Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Central-Eastern Europe, Toleration