chapter  10
18 Pages

The Influence of Technical Inventions

ByWerner Sombart

The limitless expansion of capitalist enterprise today can be explained only by reference to the undreamed-of possibilities of technical science. Many advances in technical science are due to pure accident, and even those that are sought after often take on a shape least expected. The influence of technical improvements on the growth of economic rationalism in every age has already been noticed by many writers. The very existence of an invention is due to enterprise. Inherently, therefore, all inventions exercise a primary influence on capitalism. The producer in the pre-capitalist age, whether a peasant or craftsman, was dominated, as we have seen, by the idea of quality; the trader, on the other hand, cared less for the quality of his wares, principally because he stood in no personal relation to them. A very special role in the history of the capitalist spirit was played by money-lending.