Huge numbers of Americans think the United States is the greatest country in the world, or even that it is the best that has ever existed. That may or may not be the case, but we ought to ask: in comparison to what? It is important for us to look at political and economic systems outside of our own. If we become too parochial, we tend to engage in ethnocentrism, the attitude that one’s own group, nation, or culture is superior to all others. At that point, there really is no need to consider any other system. Compare our own way of life to the feudal system. Feudalism concerned social relations between lords and subordinate landholders called vassals. Much of what we see in European cities today developed in the Middle Ages and the feudal era. Lords protected their subjects from neighboring attacks. In return, vassals gave up part of the fruits of their labor. This led to a rigid class system that continued through the Industrial Revolution. Peasants became industrial workers and the
This year represents the 400-year anniversary of the first enslaved Africans being brought to America. The subsequent history of Africans in America is especially illuminating when viewed through the lens of business and economics.
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