Modern business systems empirical study


Today, modern business systems help an increasingly globalized world function in seamless ways. In fact, English is rapidly becoming the lingua franca of the business world and transnational borders and cross-cultural factors no longer operate as major barriers to commerce. Further, a wide range of financial instruments exist such as letters of credit and bills of lading whose purpose and operation are readily understood by businesspeople from New York to New Delhi. Business correspondence too has a fairly standardized format that businesspeople all over the world both use and understand and all of these features have helped create a modern business system that is both efficient and effective in achieving the movement of goods and services around the world. All of these business systems, though, did not just fall out of the sky into modern entrepreneurs’ laps, but are rather the end product of centuries of innovation and refinement. The purpose of this study was to identify the changes that have occurred in the business environment from the 12th century to the democratic governments and free trade enjoyed by many countries around the world today. To this end, a discussion of the respective roles played by influential individuals and institutions in history is followed by an analysis of the paradigm shift and development of modern economies and knowledge revolution related to business. A qualitative review of the relevant literature is presented in chapter four and synthesized in the concluding chapter together with conclusions and recommendations.

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A History of Business Science

On the shoulders of giants we stand. — Isaac Newton


Statement of the Problem

Mankind has been transacting business of all sorts for millennia, but the study of business as a science is of fairly recent introduction, dating to the mid-19th century according to some scholars. Because business transactions are such a fundamental component of the human condition, it is little wonder that business science has emerged as an important and highly relevant field of investigation in the last century or so, but like many disciplines, business remains more a mixture of art and science than a strict science per se. Nevertheless, 5,000-plus years of human history have shown time and again that as trade between people and nations progresses, civilization advances and people come to realize there is more to life than buying something for one dollar and selling it for two. For example, Cochran (1977) emphasizes that, “Business practices, inevitably reflecting the forms of society and culture, have roots far back in the past with offshoots in unexpected directions. The rise in the early modern period of interest in exactness and quantification, accompanied by a shift from religious sanctions toward recognition of utility as self-justifying, was part of the basis for a phenomenal rise of commercial enterprise” (p. vii).

Likewise, the study of best practices in businesses of all types and sizes has gained particular momentum in recent years as the World Wide Web has leveled the playing field for many small- to- medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) which can now compete with their larger counterparts on a global basis. Indeed, the history of business science continues to be rewritten on an almost daily basis now, so capturing a “snapshot” of where the discipline stands today represents a timely and valuable contribution. In this regard, in an increasingly globalized and competitive marketplace where constant change is the norm rather than the exception, gaining an improved understanding of the history of business science can provide some unique insights and observations concerning current and future trends that may offer a competitive advantage for SMEs seeking to grow their businesses at home and abroad, an attribute that forms the basis of this study and the purpose of which is discussed further below.

Purpose of Study

The main purpose of this study was to discover the important changes that have taken place in the business environment from the time of the formation of the Illuminati and suppression of science linked to business, the revolutionary times in Europe to the democracy and free trade enjoyed today. The pioneers and their assistance with Knights Templar, Free Masons and other sociological and science societies that have propelled the world into the 21st century. The study examines the relevant peer-reviewed and scholarly literature concerning these issues during the period from the Dark and Middle Ages up to the present day. A discussion of the respective roles played by luminaries such as Thomas Kuhn, Galileo, Newton and others and the societies they belonged to is followed by an analysis of the paradigm shift, development of economies and knowledge revolution related to business. A qualitative review of the relevant literature is presented in chapter four and synthesized in the concluding chapter together with salient conclusions and findings.

Importance of Study

Aristotle Onassis once observed that the secret to business success was “knowing something the other fellow didn’t,” and it is reasonable to suggest that to the extent that business leaders and entrepreneurs today understand how and why the current business practices that have emerged over the millennia will be the extent to which they will be better prepared to use these practices to their advantage. In this regard, Thomas (1999) suggests that, “Understanding the historical, political, social, and material context in which earlier documents were created also helps us be more aware of the web of influences and constraints that affect business communication today and thus helps us to be better able to assess, and if need be, work to change them” (p. 40).

Scope of Study

Although the study’s scope extended to global events in terms of their significance and impact on the development of modern business practices, there was an emphasis on events and individuals in the West.

Rationale of Study

An old adage suggests that “history repeats itself,” while another cautions that “those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Based on this rationale and countless examples of how the importance of this knowledge it has played out in the historical record, identifying salient events and individuals who have contributed to modern business practices provides a useful snapshot that can be used to gauge future progress. This rationale is congruent with Chandler’s (1962) observation that, “If the chronological development of the story [of business] is kept intact and if it can be presented as it appeared to the actors in the story, the data should have more value to businessmen and scholars interested in the growth and government of the great industrial corporation than if they were selected and arranged to develop or illustrate one particular historian’s theses” (p. 7). Therefore, rather than focusing on a single episode, event or individual, this study sought to provide a comprehensive overview of the development and emergence of business as a science over the past 1,700 years or so.

Overview of Study

This study used a five-chapter format to achieve the above-stated research purpose. Chapter one of the study was used to introduce the topics under consideration, provide a statement of the problem, the purpose, importance and scope of the study, as well as its supporting rationale. Chapter two of the study was used to deliver a review of the relevant peer-reviewed and scholarly literature concerning the development of business practices and the emergence of a science or discipline, and chapter three describes more fully the study’s methodology, including a description of the study approach, the data-gathering method and the database of study that was consulted. Chapter four of the study was used to provide a qualitative analysis of the data developed during the research process and chapter five provides the study’s conclusions, a summary of the research and important recommendations for entrepreneurs and business leaders alike.

Definition of Key Terms

Ars dictaminis

The art of letter writing.


The legal definition provided by Black’s Law Dictionary (1991) advises that this term means, “Employment, occupation, profession, or commercial activity engaged in for gain or livelihood. Activity or enterprise for gain, benefit, advantage, or livelihood” (p. 198).

Business science:

For the purposes of this study, will this will loosely include various contemporary usages such as business administration, business disciplines, and so forth.

Letter of credit:

Black’s provides the following definition for this term: “An engagement

by a bank or other person made at the request of a customer that the issuer will honor drafts or other demands for payment upon compliance with the conditions specified in the credit” (p. 904).


Chapter Introduction

This chapter presents a review of the relevant peer-reviewed and scholarly literature concerning the Illuminati, the Knights Templar, Freemasons and some other particularly influential individuals such as Thomas Kuhn, Galileo, and Newton. An analysis of the evolution of modern business practices from the era of the foregoing individuals and societies to the present day is followed by a summary which concludes the chapter.


In a day and age that was characterized by ignorance and a paucity of opportunities to obtain a formal education of any sort, the need for some type of organization that could forge the way for future generations to become learned members of society was painfully obvious to a few elite members of medieval society. A favorite target for conspiracists today as well as in the past, a group of European intellectuals created the Order of the Illuminati in May 1776, in Bavaria, Germany, under the leadership of Adam Weishaupt (Atkins, 2002). In this regard, Stewart (2002) reports that, “The ‘great’ conspiracy organized in the last half of the eighteenth century through the efforts of a number of secret societies that were striving for a ‘new order’ of civilization to be governed by a small group of ‘all-powerful rulers.’ The most important of these societies, and the one to which all subsequent conspiracies could be traced, is the Illuminati founded in Bavaria on May 1, 1776 by Adam Weishaupt” (p. 424). According to Atkins, it was Weishaupt’s fundamental and overriding goal to form a secret organization of elite members of Europe’s leading citizens who could then strive to achieve the Enlightenment version of revolutionary social change; the order’s original tenets included an opposition to superstition, a rejection of organized Christianity, and an acceptance of free love (Stewart, 2002). When authorities in Bavaria became aware of the organization’s existence after lightning killed a courier who was carrying documents from leaders of the Illuminati 1785, they were alarmed at the presence of this secret society in their midst and the order was outlawed in 1786 (Stewart, 2002).

Despite this legal setback, the Illuminati continued to exert some degree of influence on the social order the Jacobins embracing a number of ideas from the Illuminati during the French Revolution (Atkins, 2002). This continuing influence was the source of further official condemnations of the order. For instance, a French cleric historian by the name of Abbe Baruel suggested that the Illuminati were actually the inspiration for the French Revolution in 1797; Baruel regarded the Illuminati as being complicit in an overall assault on Christianity which was began by the Order of Templars in the Middle Ages and continued to modern times by Freemasons (Atkins, 2002). Besides the foregoing, in 1797, a professor of natural philosophy at Edinburgh University named John Robison wrote a book entitled Proofs of a Conspiracy; in this text, the author maintained that the Illuminati had in fact already insinuated themselves within Masonic lodges (Atkins, 2002).

According to Stewart (2002), the main objective of the Illuminati was to replace all existing human institutions in order to create a single, socialist government that would be capable of controlling the entire world. The order was headed by of a small group of secretive and powerful members that have been labeled the “Insiders” in order to avoid any distracting controversy concerning which of the order’s leaders were communists or not. As Stewart reports, “Weishaupt set forth the methods and objectives of his Order of the Illuminati that continues to the present day, including ruthless undermining of rulers and governments, destruction of religion, use of professional agitators to foment mob action, massive use of terror to silence opposition, and manufactured smears to destroy opposition” (p. 425). In fact, Stewart goes so far as to suggest that Welch had identified an continuous chain of organizations and events from 1776 to 1966 that were attributable to a single source, which was the Illuminati, and maintains that this group was the theretofore undiscovered association between big government and communism (Stewart, 2002). While most observers would likely not go so far as this assertion, the fact remains that the Illuminati were responsible for some profound changes in the social order that ultimately had an enormous impact on the practice of business. For instance, during the 1840s, the Insiders fueled a number of revolts throughout Europe in an effort to overthrow existing governments because the French Revolution did not succeed in catalyzing the European population into widespread uprisings as yet (Stewart, 2002).

In 1848, conspiracists believe that the Illuminati under the auspices of the Insiders promulgated the organization’s original so-called “Declaration of Purposes,” which was in fact the more well-known Communist Manifesto; the Declaration of Purposes was published under the umbrella of Communism and was authored by Karl Marx (Stewart, 2002). In fact, modern conspiracists believe that the communist movement was simply another “tool of the total conspiracy” which was in reality the organization’s action plan to achieve its nefarious goals of installing a “new world order” with a world government controlled by the Insiders (Stewart, 2002). Having successfully reorganized the Russian sphere, Stewart reports that from 1850 on, the Insiders focused on the United States as the next step in its world domination plans; in order to achieve its goals in North America, though, the Insiders would have to compel President Abraham Lincoln to approve a graduated income tax, which was a founding position of the Communist Manifesto (Stewart, 2002). Furthermore, Stewart emphasizes that, “Under the guise of communists, socialists, and anarchists, Insiders promoted the Illuminati’s purposes in the United States, all under the pretense of promoting freedom, equality, and brotherhood” (2002, p. 426).

During the 30-year period from 1890 to 1920, the Illuminati’s Insiders are alleged to have organized the populist and progressive movements in an push for a more collectivist government in the United States and through the proposition and enactment of various governmental regulations, a “central banking apparatus” (i.e., the Federal Reserve System), the ability to control of the economy, and social “security” laws including workmen’s compensation (Stewart, 2002). Thereafter, and in what was perhaps one of the more influential initiatives attributed to the Illuminati on modern business, was their action in 1913 when they are alleged to have coordinated the requisite amendments to the U.S. Constitution that were required to enact an income tax (Article XVI) and for the direct election of senators (Article XVII), steps that diminished the power of the several states (Stewart, 2002). Indeed, Stewart suggests that the latter initiative represented an enormous move to consolidate powers in the executive department of the federal government. According to this author, “F. R. Duplantier, associate editor of The New American, claimed ‘It had taken a civil war and two depressions to condition the American people to lower their guard against this clear threat to their personal liberty and the sovereignty of their states'” (quoted in Stewart at p. 426).

Although it is fairly spurious to suggest that the Illuminati were behind every initiative that took place during the late 19th and throughout the 20th century, it is clear that some authorities believe they were in fact responsible for moving the world towards a one-government arrangement wherein the Insiders would be in control. In this regard, Stewart advises, “The principle and hidden purpose of all these actions by visionary do-gooders and opportunistic politicians was to reduce the responsibilities and rights of individual citizens, while steadily increasing the quantity, reach, and the potential tyranny of governments” (p. 427). From the perspective of like-minded authorities, democracy and communism were less relevant than the fundamental goal behind their creation and sustainment. As Stewart emphasizes, “Notice the ever-present link between expanding government and communism, both created with one goal in mind, a new world order” (Stewart, 2002, p. 427).

Today, members of the Skull & Bones have managed to get the United States and its increasingly reluctant allies inextricably involved in shooting wars in two Middle Eastern nations, with the promise of a third (and maybe a fourth) in the offing while the Cheney-Halliburton insiders continue to profit. In a similar fashion, Stewart suggests that, “The Insiders instigated World War I but gave themselves away when they claimed it was an effort to make the world safe for democracy rather than republics, democracy being a code word for socialism. In 1917, the conspiracy financed and directed Lenin and Trotsky to seize power in Russia” (p. 427). Following the Russian Revolution, Stewart adds that, “The Communist arm of the conspiracy has come to be regarded, however inaccurately, as its whole body. This perception allowed Insiders to benefit from Communist progress, without themselves having carried a Communist card or belonged to the Communist Party and led misguided people and officials to see communism as the sole threat” (Stewart, 2002, p. 427).

Two years later, in 1919, various Illuminati Insiders collaborated with the so-called “internationalists” to compel the United States to join the doomed League of Nations, an international organization that would evolve into the modern United Nations which was part and parcel of their overall plans to install a one-government global enterprise. In this regard, Stewart advises, “When their League of Nations scheme failed because the U.S. Senate balked at this surrender of American sovereignty, Insiders founded the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). The CFR’s primary purpose was to trash sovereignty in exchange for global government” (p. 427).

By 1933, the CFR, which represented the primary agency of the Insiders in the United States at the time, helped to arrange the election of Franklin Roosevelt to further their socialist goals by creating a series of New Deal programs and friendlier relations with other countries, most notably the Soviet Union, in furtherance of their world domination objective while continuing to present some initiatives that would help divert attention from their true scheme (Stewart, 2002). Conspiracists even go so far as to maintain that in 1938, the Insiders helped to start World War II by encouraging Hitler to precipitate the war by invading Poland; the Insiders were even responsible, according to this theory, for compelling the Allied Powers to willingly accept Stalin as an ally in the conflict and to prosecute the war based on his warped views and lack of regard for human life. In this regard, Stewart advises that, “During the devastating war years, the conspiracy placed communist agents and sympathizers into dominant positions in the governments of the United States and Europe to prepare them for socialism and one-world government when the war ended” (p. 428).

The political machinations involved were of less relevance to the Insiders than their overarching objective of a one-government world, and Stewart points out that, “It is the very purpose of the Insiders who control and use the Communist movement to turn the world upside down. The Communist Party, with its considerable percentage of idealistic dupes and misguided fools, has been simply a tool of these power-hungry conspirators, in any country at any time. The Communist Party was merely a conspiratorial decoy” (Stewart, 2002, p. 428).

In 1945, in the wake of the collapsed League of Nations, the Insiders went on to help create its successor in the United Nations in an effort to establish a “one-world tyranny” that would be under the auspices and oversight of the communist conspiracy. For instance, according to Stewart, “The CFR’s goal was to work toward making the United States, through membership in the U.N., its many organizations, and the ratification of numerous treaties under the auspices of the U.N., a formal part of a one-world, socialist government” (p. 428). Indeed, the modern European Union and its growing membership of former Soviet states can be traced to the intervention of the Insiders if this view is accepted as fact. For example, the Committee on Foreign Relations is supposed to have created the Marshall Plan in 1947 as a ways to encourage the formation of social democracies in Europe as a predecessor to the Common Market, European Community and ultimately the all-but-in-name United States of Europe by convincing the younger members of European society that it was in their best interests to forego national sovereignty in favor of a single, ever-burgeoning state (Stewart, 2002).

The European extremist view of the influence exerted by the Illuminati over the years is paralleled in many ways by the American interpretation; however, the American version maintains that members of the Illuminati were consolidated into the radical Masonic movement during the 19th century in order to create a revolutionary movement (Atkins 2002). American extremist views of the Illuminati likewise maintain that Jews were in charge of the new organization and have been responsible for the majority of the disasters of the 20th century (Atkins, 2002). According to this author, “In their interpretation, Karl Marx was a Mason and so were the communist leaders of the Russian Revolution of 1917. To them, forged evidence of an international Jewish conspiracy to rule the world in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (1920) proves the existence of this conspiracy” (Atkins, 2002, p. 137). Furthermore, American extremist views of the Insiders indicate that members of the Jewish-led conspiracy have been exacting genocide against Christianity throughout the 20th century and that a component of this conspiracy is what they consider to be Jewish control of international banking and, therefore, overall control of the global economy and the Federal Reserve Bank (Atkins, 2002).

Indeed, observers in the 21st century would have to look long and hard to find a more influential group of individuals on the world’s business systems than the Illuminati. In this regard, Atkins reports that:

They claim that members of the Illuminati direct the policies of the U.S. Department of State and cater to the communists. This hatred by the extremists extends to the Trilateral Commission, a club of prominent businessmen from Europe, Japan, and the United States, and the Council on Foreign Affairs which they claim are controlled by a Jewish cabal and are part of the general conspiracy. Because prominent Democrats and Republicans belong to these groups, extremists believe both parties are active in the conspiracy. (Atkins, 2002, p. 138)

In fact, if these accounts are to be believed, even in part, it would be reasonable to conclude that the democratic states that exist throughout the world today are nothing more than facades designed to cover up the true machinations of these powerful individuals. For instance, according to another contemporary observer, “The Illuminati are the grand historical puppet masters, presiding over all human activities through indirect channels of control and manipulation” (emphasis added) (Lewis, 2005, p. 46). It is impossible to dispute, though, that there are some powerful organizations in the world that exert a great deal of control over the financial arena and it is little wonder that these organizations have attracted a great deal of attention from conspiracists and others who may be suspicious that there is more than meets the eye when it comes to these secretive and far-flung agencies. In this regard, Lewis adds that, “From the innermost secretive ‘Round Table,’ a handful of masterminds directs the course of human events via a network of international organizations such as the Council on Foreign Relations, The Trilateral Commission, The Bilderberg Group, the IMF, World Bank, and the United Nations. Their plan is quite simply to complete their financial control of the human race” (2005, p. 46).

Likewise, from a business science viewpoint, Atkins also reports that modern representative groups comprised of members of the Illuminati are such international organizations as the Trilateral Commission, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Bilderberg Group; American, European, and Japanese businessmen and academics who provide recommendations to lawmakers concerning foreign and economic policy. Similar to the bad press that has been received by the Freemasons and other fraternal organizations over the years that maintain confidentiality concerning their rituals and tenets, the secrecy of the Illuminati’s proceedings and the powerful nature of their memberships make them ripe for targeting by conspiracists today (Atkins, 2002).

One of the better known earlier members of the Illuminati, Francis Bacon, though, enjoyed the opportunity to weigh in on matters of state and social organization during his lifetime. For instance, his book, Advancement of Learning written by Bacon and published in 1605, is described by Yates (2001) as being “a sober survey of the present state of knowledge, drawing attention to those areas of learning which are deficient, where more might be known if men would give their minds to research and experiment, particularly in natural philosophy which Bacon finds deplorably deficient. Such improved knowledge of nature could and should be used for the relief of man’s estate, the betterment of his position in this world” (pp. 156-157). There does not appear to be anything sinister about this advice, notwithstanding the conspiracists’ beliefs to the contrary, but here again even Bacon subscribed to the need for a secret society of some type that could provide the framework in which learning could be shared and expanded while benefiting mankind in the process. For example, it was Bacon’s scholarly opinion that there should be some type of fraternity or brotherhood in learning; in this venue, wise and educated men would have the opportunity to share their knowledge as well as assisting each other in various ways (Yates, 2001).

Here again, though, there were some compelling reasons for this proposition on the part of Bacon; during this period in history, institutions of learning did not typically encourage or facilitate this type of exchange of knowledge and there was a glaring need, at least from Bacon’s perspective, to introduce some type of organizational framework in which such sharing of knowledge could be accomplished (Yates, 2001). In the Age of Information, people simply take international exchanges for granted as part and parcel of everyday life; by sharp contrast, though, during Bacon’s era, there was little regular contact between the learned men of different countries and this spurred Bacon on to argue that the brotherhood of learning he proposed should transcend national boundaries: “Surely as nature createth brotherhood in families, and arts mechanical contract brotherhoods in communities, and the anointment of God superinduceth a brotherhood in kings and bishops, so in learning there cannot but be a fraternity in learning and illumination, relating to that paternity which is attributed to God, who is called the father of illumination or lights” (quoted in Yates at p. 157).

Taken together, this passage suggests that Bacon was considering learning as it is regarded today as being some type of human “illumination,” in other words, knowledge could be viewed metaphorically as light that descended from the “Father of Lights,” and that the brotherhood in learning which he promoted would therefore be comprised of a “fraternity in learning and illumination” (quoted in Yates at p. 157). While such aspirations might be scoffed at by modern observers, these comments are considered by Yates to be worthy of reflection fully 4 centuries later: “These expressions should not be passed over as pious rhetoric; they are significant in the context of the times” (Yates, p. 157). In 1614, the Rosicrucian Fama from Germany was scheduled to present the Brothers R.C. As yet another order of the Illuminati, a characterization that is supported by the observation that they were “a band of learned men joined together in brotherly love”; the reason for this initial gathering was to encourage magicians and Cabalists alike to communicate their knowledge to one another (Yates, 2001). In addition, the meeting was held in order to declare to the world that the time was ripe for the wise and learned members of society to come together and provide mankind with the major advances in knowledge of nature that had been ignored in favor of less secular pursuits in the past (Yates, 2001).

Less conspiratorial-minded scholars have suggested that the Illuminati were created in order to bring learned men together who could debate the hot topics of the day, most particularly the study of areas that had been banned by church authorities. In reality, the Illuminati paved the way for future fraternal societies throughout Europe and North America, including the Freemasons. In this regard, Howe (1971) advises that, “By the end of 1779, the Order had achieved very little and certainly had no political experience. Indeed, Weishaupt received one complaint after another from Munich about his dictatorial rule and the time-wasting correspondence. At this point he realized that far from the Order capturing the Freemasons, members were leaving it to join Masonic Lodges” (p. 1403).

At this point, the decision was made by Weishaupt to become assimilated into the Freemasons and the order obtained a charter and established a lodge in Munich. A number of freemasons, including Goethe, joined the Illuminati-sponsored Masonic lodge in Munich, but became disenchanted when they discovered the lodge had ulterior motives that were contrary to the Masonic strictures. The Illuminati, as a formal organization, experienced a number of setbacks thereafter due to increased suspicions on the part of legal authorities, arrests of their membership and Weishaupt was forced to leave Bavaria and the order subsequently collapsed (Howe, 1971). In the final analysis, the influence of the Illuminati on the emergence of modern business systems can be attributed primarily to the group’s desire to develop a formal mechanism whereby knowledge and learning could be shared across national borders and the later membership’s emphasis on creating a democratic society (Howe, 1971).

Knights Templar

Like their more recent counterparts in the Illuminati and Freemasons, the Knights Templar have been the focus of numerous conspiracy theories, but it would appear that their primary impact on modern business systems can be traced to their introduction of various financial instruments such as letters of credit and transnational banking. The humble origins of the Knight Templar, though, would seem to belie their ultimate financial successes. For instance, Hall, Schuyler and Trinh report that, “In the twelfth century, when Christian soldiers ‘took the cross’ (from which, the word crusade) as a promise to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, the Order of Poor Knights of the Temple of Solomon was formed to protect Jerusalem and the pilgrimage routes” (2000, p. 117).

Notwithstanding the otherwise-lofty goals of the Crusaders to reclaim the Holy Land from the Moslem occupiers, it is clear that the Knights Templar had their work cut out for them in bringing cosmos to this social, political and religious chaos. It was not uncommon for Crusaders, for example, to engage in acts that were not necessarily holy in spirit or practice along the way to Jerusalem. As Hall and his colleagues emphasize, “Based at the site of the temple of Solomon, the knights took religious vows, and they obtained sanctification of their order by the Church of Rome with the help of St. Bernard, the Abbot of Clairvaux. Not that Bernard was particularly enamored of the knights’ religious fervor. ‘You will find very few men in the vast multitude which throngs to the Holy Land,’ he observed, ‘who have not been unbelieving scoundrels, sacrilegious plunderers, homicides, perjurers, adulterers'” (quoted at p. 117).

In fact, St. Bernard is reported to have barely tolerated the Knights Templar because they were drawn from the same class that most of the Crusaders and were worthy only of executing the church’s will as it applied to regaining the Holy Land while killing as many adversaries in the process as possible. According to Hall and his associates, “Europe, St. Bernard suggested, would be better off without such men, most of them badly educated and illiterate, drawn from the lower echelons of the feudal order’s warrior class. As Knights Templar, they could serve the Church in the unseemly duty of killing infidels. But this was a difficult point” (p. 117). This point was difficult because the Ten Commandments and other religious dogma was clear about killing, but these strictures were rationalized away by St. Bernard thusly: “Whereas medieval theologians had previously insisted on keeping the carnage of war separated from the direct works of the Church, Bernard produced a fusion: ‘For Christ! hence Christ is attained…. The soldier of Christ kills safely: he dies the more safely. He serves his own interest in dying, and Christ’s interests in killing!'” (quoted in Hall et al., 2000 at p. 117).

During their halcyon years from the 12th to the 13 centuries, the Knights Templar wore distinctive attire comprised of a white mantle (which was supposed to represent their innocence) overlaid with a red cross (which was intended to confirm their willingness to be martyred for the Christian cause) (Hall et al., 2000). Despite their military and altruistic goals, it was the Knights Templar’s impact on the international finance and business system that would remain their major legacy into the 21st century. In this regard, Hall and his associates report that, “Under the leadership of a Grand Master, they established cohesive fighting cadres and organized other military ranks of troops under their command. From their early duties maintaining strongholds and protecting pilgrimage routes to Jerusalem, the Templars developed an ever more widespread organization that helped finance the religious Crusades with support from feudal nobility. So many donations flowed in that the Templar order became adept at property speculations and banking functions, such as protecting, transmitting, and loaning funds, services that they began to provide for dukes and kings” (p. 117).

The Knights Templar initially enjoyed a degree of freedom from church oversight that was rare in the day, as they had received a charter directly from the pope and were not obligated to report to any religious or political intermediaries in the execution of their responsibilities; in addition, the Templars created memberships for lay members in their order, which in some cases was tantamount to a competing religious institution that operated in the same fashion as the mainstream church by collecting tithes and providing the sacraments to men and women who had even been excommunicated from the Catholic Church with impunity (Hall et al., 2000). Despite the religious overtones, the Knights Templar helped to create what would later be refined into the business science that is readily recognized by businesspeople the world over in the 21st century. In this regard, Hall and his colleagues advise, “By the end of the thirteenth century, the Order of the Knights Templar had become something of a hybrid corporate conglomerate; operating outside the religious and feudal orders, it combined military and security operations with banking, money lending, and the dispensing of salvation” (2000, p. 117). This point is also made by Smith and Walter (1997) who report that the Templars were responsible for establishing the forerunners of the modern banking system: “The Knights of the Holy Temple of Jerusalem (called Knights Templar) collected vast sums of money and property from well-to-do supporters in Europe. The Knights invested the money, making loans and buying and selling property throughout the Middle East. They evolved into possibly the first full-fledged modern bankers through careful development of their unique franchise” (emphasis added) (p. 8).

Given their enormous financial success — and the fact that many powerful people in Europe owed them large sums of money — the days were numbered for the Knights Templar but they failed to realize their peril until it was too late. As their power grew, so too did the suspicions surrounding their order and they were suspected of engaging in all manner of un-Christian-like behaviors besides the usurious loans they were fond of making. According to Hall and his associates (2000), “Because the Templars lacked any solid base in medieval society, and because the order was powerful yet secretive, they became suspect. Perhaps the Templars were not truly servants of Christ but something much more sinister. The money lending had always offended feudal sensibilities” (p. 117). The power and wealth accumulated by the Templars over the years, combined with indebted monarchs, was a recipe for disaster even if the Templars did not realize it at the time and they became the target of a smear campaign intended to discredit them and to pave the way for their elimination. In this regard, Hall et al. report that:

‘Atrocity tales’ that began to circulate described the Templars as greedy, corrupt in matters of honor, and foolhardy in the Crusades. Rumors surfaced that they were sodomites. The king of France, Philip the Fair, dispatched undercover agents to infiltrate the Templars, and in 1307 he ordered an amazing feat for its day, the simultaneous arrest of every known Templar in his kingdom. Two months later, the Pope, Clement V, demanded that other European monarchs undertake similar mass arrests. (p. 117)

Following their incarceration at the order of King Philip, the Templars became the target of much more than a mere smear campaign and they were accused of much more serious charges including denying that Jesus Christ was the son of God (Hall et al., 2000). Despite their fortitude in battle, it would appear from the historical record that the Templars were no match for the horrors of the torture chamber and many of them ultimately confessed to the heretical charges and disavowed their allegiance to the Knights Templar as a result (Hall et al., 2000). Nevertheless, some of the Templars took their own lives rather than disavow their allegiance to the order, but Hall and his colleagues report that hundreds of Templars admitted to defiling the Cross as a result of the tortures to which they were subjected. Thereafter, it appeared the Templars would be able to enjoy some degree of due process and be provided with an impartial trial for their alleged crimes; at that point, fifty-four of the Templars denied their earlier confessions; however, prior to any trial actually being conducted, a provincial church council headquartered in Paris sentenced them to death for this “relapse” into their heretical ways (Hall et al., 2000, p. 117).

Today, the organization sponsored by the Freemasons for its younger members is known as the “Demolays”; this organizational title is derived from a martyred Templar leader. For instance, according to Hall and his associates, “On 12 May 1310, amidst protestations of innocence to the end, the fifty-four were burned alive at the stake. Four years later the Grand Master himself, Jacques de Molay, denied the charges against the order, and he and a provincial leader of the Templars were burned at the stake in Paris, on a small island in the Seine” (p. 118). By 1311, legend maintains that Philip the Fair and Clement V had both died as a result of the curse placed on them by the Grand Master de Molay for their persecution of the order (Hall et al., 2000).

Since the rise and fall, an unending string of those who would benefit from these secret teachings have assumed the title or affected the same type of secretive social organization that the Knights Templar used and these neophytes have reported being in communication with the so-called Unknown Superiors” that are alleged to reveal the truth to Grand Masters of the Rosy Cross; these individuals and their teachings have subsequently been the source of inspiration for a wide range of other secret societies that are committed to the same ideals as the Knights Templar, relying on Christian teachings or esoteric mystical knowledge as the source of their spiritual legitimacy. According to Hall and his associates, over time, “Masonic fraternities began to claim descent from the martyred Templars and the Order of the Rose and Cross as a way of substantiating their ancient heritage. These claims fitted easily into the odd Masonic mix of esoteric lore, enlightenment philosophy, egalitarian conviviality, and ‘aristocratic’ status-graded membership” (p. 119). Although the Freemasons claim their heritage from the ancient teachings of Egypt and beyond, it is clear that they were influenced in substantive ways by earlier secret societies such as the Knights Templar where rituals, passwords and ranks were assigned as a way of communicating nuanced learning to their membership. For instance, according to Hall and his associates, “In the final analysis, the Templars in fact developed an innovative hybrid religio-military-financial organization outside the existing order that, if left unchallenged, might have led the nascent European power complex to develop in an entirely different direction, towards a sort of religiously sanctioned military capitalistic socialism” (p. 118). “Capitalistic socialism” is an apt description in many ways of the European Union that has emerged in recent years, and it is clear that some of the formative influences derived from the Knights Templar and their successors in the Freemasons, who are discussed further below.


Despite their assertions to the contrary and like their earlier counterparts in the Knights Templar, secrecy, wealth and power — no matter how benign their stated intentions may be — tend to attract a great deal of unwanted and malevolent attention from those who are “not in the know” and these has certainly been the case with the Freemasons over the years. For instance, Harland-Jacobs reports that, “In the 1740s the Parisian police arrested, searched, and systematically interrogated freemasons. We know about these events because the reports of what was said made their way into the records housed in the Bastille. Spies, and at least one local priest with a grudge to satisfy, helped the authorities gather their information” (p. ____).

“In some confusion the police described their new detainees as ‘frimassons’ or ‘frey-maqons,’ but it was not the name that worried them. The detailed interrogation reports reveal their concern. Repeatedly they asked the prisoners: ‘Is it not true that this assembly was for the purpose of electing a master of the lodge who in turn would choose two surveillants; is it not true that the record of the Election would be handed over to the secretary of the order who is M. Perret, notary?’ Is it not true ‘that with various other freemasons you signed an act of Convocation in order to be assembled. . . . And that this assembly was for the purpose of electing a master of the Lodge? Did you write that act?'” (quoted in Harland-Jacobs at p. ____).

Elections, signed acts of convocation permitting an assembly, a legal record prepared by a notary, an assembly held with the expressed purpose of conducting elections — these were the elements that alarmed the authorities, these were the words they used to describe the meetings. The answers they invariably got from the detained brothers and lodge officers, who displayed remarkable amnesia on many other details, was invariably “oui.” With equal alarm the police wanted to know whether the lodge met “under the arms of M. The Count of Clermont,” who in 1743 became the Masonic Grand Master of France.

Clearly the authorities were confused. Was this a new corporate entity with pretensions at self-government, using forms of representative assembly possibly alien, possibly subversive? In other words, was this imported form of social behavior inherently political, and thus almost inevitably criminal? “All association (as one representative of the police put it) is always dangerous to the state, especially when it takes on the secret and appearance of religion” (quoted in Harland-Jacob, 1991 at p. 3). From the French gendarmeries’ perspective, this assembly may have appeared to have been yet another form of assemblage that held ill portent for the governing authorities in ways that were becoming increasingly commonplace in the history of France, what Jacob describes as “a cabal organized under the arms of a prominent aristocrat” (p. 3). Like other secretive organizations, According to Jacob, “The nature of the gathering was doubly confusing because on another occasion the police arrived just at the moment when an elaborate feast was being prepared” (p. 3). When the law enforcement authorities arrived at this gathering of Freemasons, they were confronted with a motley assortment of individuals from all walks of life and these fraternal societies served as a great social leveling field that brought men together to share their thoughts and learning in ways that would not have been otherwise possible (Harland-Jacobs, 1991). For instance, this authority emphasizes that, “The problem was that some of the men present were of the most ordinary status: a lapidary (or jeweler), a minor official of the poultry market, a gardener, a tapestry merchant, worse still, an actor in the Comedie Italienne, and perhaps most remarkable of all, ‘a Negro who serves as a trumpeter in the King’s Guard'” (quoted in Jacob, 1991 at p. 3). The impact of these meetings transcended the geographic proximity of the lodges in which they were conducted but rather extended to the entire continent and ultimately became influential on a worldwide basis. Freemasonry’s importance to eighteenth-century revolutionary movements in France and the American colonies is cited by York (1993) who suggests Freemasonry was the “main instigator of the intellectual revolution” of that age and “the spiritual father of its political revolutions” (p. 315). According to York, Freemasons engendered among “a limited but very prominent class of people a feeling of American unity without which American liberty could not have developed-without which there would have been no United States” (p. 316). Indeed, Harland-Jacobs emphasizes that, “From Montreal to Madras, from Barbados to Burma, the lodges of Freemasons dotted the landscape of the British Empire from the eighteenth century to the twentieth. Together with the British grand lodges under whose authority they met, these lodges constituted a vast network that extended across the oceans and linked Freemasons in Britain’s colonies to the metropole and to each other” (p. 237). This author suggests that the Freemasons can be used to “demonstrate how the age of empire can serve as a laboratory for studying transoceanic networks, institutions, and identities” (Harland-Jacobs, p. 237).

Throughout the 19th century, the Freemasons were instrumental in linking people from different countries together in ways that helped facilitate international trade and contributed to the modern system of business that is in place today. In this regard, Harland-Jacobs emphasizes that, “The long nineteenth century saw the unparalleled growth and culmination of the most extensive empires in world history, empires that were both international and interconnective. The empires of this period were simultaneously national and global, as Britain, France, and the Netherlands (and later Germany, Belgium, the United States, and Japan) extended their polities, economies, and cultures across the world’s oceans” (p. 237).

The European imperialism that characterized the 18th and 19th centuries fostered the development of transnational connections in two different ways as follows:

1. It facilitated intercultural exchanges through which (sometimes for the better but often for the worse) imperial powers came into contact with the non-Western societies they sought to dominate; and,

2. Imperialism contributed to the development of intracultural or internal connections, which served to link those who were invested in an empire’s well-being. Such connections made an empire cohere. Their strength and elasticity determined an empire’s geographical extent and longevity. The “age of empire,” therefore, can readily serve as a laboratory for studying the global processes, including the development of transoceanic connections and networks, that ushered in the modern world and the current ‘age of globalization’ (Harland-Jacobs, p. 237).

Although the historic record makes it clear that people from different religious and scientific persuasions were responsible for these early extensions of thought across national borders, it is also clear that Freemasons in particular contributed more than their fair share to the process. For example, Harland-Jacobs concludes that, “Freemasonry was one institution that contributed to the development of these intracultural connections in the British Empire. By creating a global network that had both practical functions and ideological dimensions, Freemasonry played a critical role in building, consolidating, and perpetuating the empire” (emphasis added) (p. 237). A careful examination of Freemasonry from the perspective of the empire in totality provides some useful insights concerning the organization’s ability to spread its message to other countries, eventually becoming global in scope, as well as the manner in which it was prepared to provide support and assistance to its membership who pulled up stakes and moved abroad (Harland-Jacobs, p. 237). From this wider imperial perspective, the British North Atlantic which Harland-Jacobs defines as being comprised of Britain, Ireland, and Canada, provides a useful case study for determining Freemasonry’s influence in linking people on a global basis. According to Harland-Jacobs, “Between the 1860s and World War I, Freemasonry became the essential link between Freemasons on the British and Canadian sides of the Atlantic. Belonging to the fraternity not only gave members access to an actual network of individuals and lodges that helped those who crossed the Atlantic in both directions; it also carried with it membership in an ideological network, a set of emotional and mental connections that fostered an imperialist identity among its members” (Harland-Jacobs, 1999, p. 237). These events helped to spawn a globalized network of members who shared some common goals and values. For example, according to Miles (2005), “The Freemasons and Illuminati were both in fact prototypes of the public sphere — organizations where men from all walks of life met on terms of equality to pursue the rational good” (p. 318). The public sphere would also experience some profound shifts as the result of the work of Thomas Kuhn, who is discussed further below.

Thomas Kuhn

It is clear that the work of Thomas Kuhn has been a focus for debates concerning culture, science and policy in a number of disciplines including the political and business arenas (Nickles, 2003, p. 1). This observation is particularly accurate when applied to Kuhn’s best-known work, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, which was originally published in 1962 and revised in 1970. In this work, Kuhn introduced the now-familiar terms, “paradigm,” “paradigm change,” and “paradigm shift” (Nickles, 2003, p. 1). According to Wenner and Wells (1990), “Thomas Kuhn was one of the first to recognize and successfully stress the importance of social input in the scientific processes. He proposed in 1962 that scientific inquiry proceeded in a different manner than that advocated or believed to be the case by earlier philosophers of science and by the scientific community” (p. 23). Prior to the publication of Kuhn’s book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, scientists generally subscribed to a so-called “gradualism” perspective; in other words, the prevailing thought prior to Kuhn was that scientific progress is cumulative and that the scientific community readily acknowledges its errors when it is presented with new and better evidence (Wenner & Wells, 1999).

In his seminal text, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Kuhn painted a fundamentally different picture of science. In this regard, Nickles advises that, “Kuhn contended that there are two types of mature physical science, ‘normal science’ and ‘extraordinary’ or ‘revolutionary science.’ In a given scientific field, long periods of conservative, tradition-bound normal science are punctuated by an occasional crisis and, still less frequently, by a revolution” (p. 1). The prevailing paradigms throughout history can be viewed as less fluid than the view of science that existed prior to Kuhn’s work. Indeed, a heliocentric solar system was apparent to some observers such as Copernicus and Galileo (who is discussed further below), but his trials and tribulations in advancing this knowledge in the face of prevailing thought is well-known. Likewise, before Einstein’s work in the early 20th century, the scientific community was of a fairly like mind in its views concerning time, matter and energy and only after Einstein’s observations concerning relatively were proven correct through empirical evidence did this paradigm change in substantive ways. For example, According to Nickles, “Normal science is highly regimented work under a paradigm. It aims to extend and articulate the paradigm, not to test it, for the paradigm defines the research tradition, the scientific life, of a particular discipline and its practitioners. Normal research consists in attempting to solve research puzzles by modeling them and their solutions on exemplary problem solutions previously achieved” (2003, p. 1).


Even before Galileo’s era, in the 16th century, a growing number of humanists had started to pose various questions that represented a threat to the prevailing order. For instance, Brians (1998) reports that, “Francois Rabelais, a French monk and physician influenced by Protestantism, but spurred on by his own rebelliousness, challenged the Church’s authority in his Gargantua and Pantagruel, ridiculing many religious doctrines as absurd” (p. 3). More than just a Renaissance man, though, Galileo Galilei (1564-1641), also “exhibited all the traits characteristic of modern thinking: the reference from words to things, from memory to perception and thought, from authority to self-ascertained principles, from chance opinion, arbitrary opinion, and the traditional doctrines of the schools, to ‘knowledge,’ that is, to one’s own, well grounded, indisputable insight, from the study of human affairs to the study of nature” (Falckenberg, 1893, p. 59). Nevertheless, Galileo suffered from what Yates (2001) terms “thought repression” (p. 39) and the great man’s knowledge was not spread throughout the Western world until a century after his death. Moreover, Nasr (1996) notes that, “There is no doubt that Protestantism, for the most part, joined Catholicism after the trial of Galileo in abandoning the domain of nature to the scrutiny of a totally secularized science” (p. 77).

The traditional Christian view of nature and mankind’s place in the universe was replaced with a more informed view as a result of the Scientific Revolution; as a result, Christian scholars attempted to integrate these new teachings and knowledge into their dogma in ways that made this new paradigm compatible with Christian teachings (Nasr, 1996). Following the trial of Galileo for heretical thoughts and teachings, though, there was little effort on the part of the scientific community to pursue any further advances for some time. Indeed, as Nasr emphasizes:

It is only during the past generation, and thanks to the environmental crisis, that the situation as far as renewed interest in nature is concerned has changed within the mainstream of Christian thought in the West. Whatever the causes and the nature of the consequences of the Scientific Revolution, it is important to remember that it marked the first occasion in human history when a human collectivity completely replaced the religious understanding of the order of nature for one that was not only nonreligious but that also challenged some of the most basic tenets of the religious perspective. (Nasr, 1996, p. 130)

At the time, though, Galileo’s work represented the beginning of the end for the religious community’s influence over mankind and provided yet another chink in the wall of dogma that allowed a few rays of empirically tested knowledge into the existing paradigm. In this regard, Nasr adds that, “The rising view of nature as a machine and the order of nature as a mechanical order was based on the thesis that, because nature itself was devoid of intelligence and life, its order was due to laws imposed upon it by an intelligent being outside of nature — that is, God as the author of nature — but in a sense divorced from it. The human mind was able to study these laws, which in themselves were immutable and not subject to any change” (1996, p. 131). According to Falckenberg (1893), Galileo paved the way for the modern view of nature that was perfected by Newton who is discussed further below.


Nearly 300 years ago, Sir Isaac Newton (1642 — 1727) conceived of a possible similarity between objects falling to the ground and the moon orbiting the earth; Newton subsequently invested a quarter of a century in studying that relationship, including the development of a new type of mathematics and a method of scientific investigation (Commons, Perlman & Parsons, 1950). While the account of Newton’s being inspired by being hit on the head with an apple may be less than accurate, what is apparent is the fact that Newton identified the relationship between mass and attraction during a period in history when countless others had witnessed the same events but had failed to make this connection. In this regard, Commons and his colleagues (195) emphasize that, “Millions of people had seen the two motions but had not thought of inquiring whether they were similar, much less had persisted in such an investigation. For this reason their observations were ’empirical,’ instead of theoretical or even practical. They did not set up a hypothesis of similarity for investigation and agreement in the midst of the differences plainly visible” (Commons et al., 1950, p. 120).

The method of scientific inquiry developed by Newton, though, would provide a framework in which these phenomena and all others could be studied in depth in ways that could provide substantive and verifiable results. According to these authors, “Newton’s similarity was the simple hypothesis that both the objects and the moon were falling toward the earth. His 25 years were filled with guesses, theories, hypotheses, mathematics, and ended with the laws of motion. These so-called ‘laws’ were simply similarities of motion amid diversities, and as such, became the method of the physical sciences and of the inventions of mechanical engineers (Commons et al., p. 120).

Two of Newton’s biographers report that, “At his birth in 1642 he was very small and weak, and it was touch and go whether Isaac Newton would survive his first day. In the next 85 years until his death in 1727, his effect on the development of modern science was profound: he was, simply, its most important contributor” (Coppin & Barratt, 2002, p. 96). The impact of these contributions on modern business systems may not be readily apparent, but Commons and his colleagues point out that, “The whole of the physical sciences started by Sir Isaac Newton, in so far as promoted or obstructed by modern governments, corporations, and labor unions operate by laws of property, by profit-seeking, and by regulations and restrictions of output” (p. 121).

Likewise, Coppin and Barratt (2002) note that, “Sir Isaac Newton contributed to the British Enlightenment, the philosophical movement which stressed the importance of reason and the critical reappraisal of existing ideas and social institutions. Apart from being a pre-eminent process thinker, Newton was a colossal agent for change” (p. 49). His genius was recognized by contemporaries, and by those like Wordsworth who were to follow later. Wordsworth wrote the following description of Newton’s “outside-the-box” style of rationalization: “Newton with his prism and silent face, & #8230; a mind forever, Voyaging through strange thoughts alone” (quoted in Coppin & Barratt at p. 49).

Paradigm Shift: The Development of Economies and Knowledge Revolution Related to Business — Circa 1300 — Present Day

In any field of endeavor, history has shown time and again that there are ebbs and flows to invention, progress and innovation, and this has been the case with business science. In this regard, Sorokin (1962) notes that, “No single country, even the world, can expect creativity in a given field of culture to increase continuously. On the contrary, any creative culture should expect in each field an alternation of the bursts and lulls of creativity. Now a galaxy of creators suddenly or gradually appears; now it decreases and vanishes” (p. 654). Indeed, the Roman Empire rose and fell, and many observers are suggesting that even the days of the United States are numbered in a comparable fashion. For instance, Sorokin adds that, “Even the unusually long rise of scientific and technological creativity in western culture from the thirteenth century on is likely to be slowed down and decline in the future, through a decline of interest in its promotion, or through the destructive forces released through science and technology by sensate man at the overripe stage of the sensate era” (p. 654). It would seem that mankind repeatedly reaches a certain point in development and stagnates for a time, even drifting backwards rather than forwards. As Sorokin emphasizes, “It has happened many times in the past, particularly at the end of the Graeco-Roman sensate period and during the rise of the ideational phase. For separate countries such a decline of scientific and technological creativity has happened several times” (p. 654).

One of the other innovations that contributed to the advancement of business science in the Middle Ages was the introduction of business communications. According to Lund (1998), “While the outlines of modern business communication are certainly detectable in the practice of the East India Company, they become much more distinct in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries when two conditions make the creation of a new kind of practical rhetoric both possible and necessary” (p. 37).

The first condition cited by Lund concerned the increased size of the City of London in both geographic area as well as in its population rate. In this regard, Lund advises, “In 1400 when London had only 60,000 inhabitants most business could be conducted in person, but by the mid-eighteenth century, when London had swelled to some 600,000 persons, written correspondence assumed a growing importance. This change was encouraged by the growth of a reliable postal service which only developed in England after the Glorious Revolution of 1688” (p. 38). As the Internet of its era, letter writing became the best way to maintain communications with the frequently far-flung operations that were beginning to emerge during this period in history. For instance, Lund points out that, “The merger of the English, Irish, and Scottish postal services in 1711, combined with an ongoing addition of postal routes to smaller locations, made daily postal delivery a possibility throughout most of the British Isles. The availability of dependable postal service was at least partially responsible for opening the floodgates of private correspondence” (p. 38).

Recent scholars have identified the origins of business communication in a wide range of sources. For instance, some authorities have traced the principles of business communication to a series of 19th century writing texts as well as to the late-18th century British rhetoricians (Carbone, 1994). According to this author, “Continuing a 2000-year-old tradition of rhetoric,” these rhetoricians, “although deviating in some respects from the ancients — provided the fundamentals of writing for generations of authors” (Carbone, 1994, p. 173). Other authorities have identified a number of the general principles of modern business writing in the historical record; for instance, tailoring the content to the audience, and conversational tone in the epistolographic, or letter-writing, tradition of ancient Greece and Rome; although the ancient Greeks and Romans may have suggested the general outlines of business style, as Carbone maintains, these outlines were only general and were not founded on the development of Greek or Roman business.

Other scholars have examined the kinds of letters actually produced by businessmen before the nineteenth century. Donald R. Dickson (1985) points out the influence of classical models on Renaissance letter-writers like Fulwood’s Enemy of Idleness (1568), a collection of model letters which reveal their roots in Ciceronian and Humanist traditions of rhetoric and oratory. In “The First Century of English Business Writing, 1417-1525,” Malcolm Richardson (1985) traces the other formal models available to the business writer in the Renaissance. As he points out, most of these letters followed rigid conventions laid down for various forms of official writing in law, chancery, and other governmental agencies and tended to be written by clerks who followed formal outlines of the ars dictaminis. While the dictamen style began to relax somewhat during the period between 1461 and 1552, there was no effort made by scholars to develop specific methods by which individual letters could be composed (Carbone, 1994).

Letter writing instructions, of course, were not specifically introduced in the 18th century; both The Marchants Avizo (Browne, 1589/1969) and Day’s English Secretarie (1586/1967) provided models of correspondence that could be copied and modified for specific situations; however, of the more than 200 letter-writers in English that were cataloged by Katherine G. Hornbeak, the majority were created after 1700 (Carbone, 1994). In his essay, “Writing the History of Business Communication,” Lund (1998) advises that, “Quite a number of these letter-writers provide models that their authors classify as business letters. With the establishment of the Bank of England in 1694, the invention of various new credit instruments, and the fact that commercial society floated on a sea of debt, collection letters took on a greater urgency in the eighteenth century” (p. 37). An old adage suggests that an army moves on its stomach, and similarly, the business world moves on communication. The introduction of standardized formats and content served to facilitate business transactions in ways that may not be readily apparent to modern observers who are accustomed to these techniques, but they were truly innovative at the time. According to Thomas (1999), “The dictamen was the base for all business writing in the medieval period and that it was universally accepted for public and private correspondence. This conclusion regarding business writing is based on a study of important primary materials, such as the Paston papers and the mass of Chancery documents in the Public Record Office in London (Thomas, 1999, p. 40).

A number of common usage phrases became popular during the 18th to 19th centuries that were holdovers in some cases and completely new constructions in others, some of which remain in use today. For instance, Richardson (2003) notes that:

The phrase ‘I say received by me’ seems widespread in the seventeenth century obligations, perhaps a holdover from the days of formal, oral declarations of debt, or perhaps just a legal intensifier. Dictaminal stock letter phrases (‘Trusty and well-beloved,’ ‘and as touching this matter,’ etc.) disappear quickly, to be replaced by other standard phrases. By the eighteenth century, for example, ‘your humble/faithful servant’ becomes the near-universal letter closing. Latin in contractual writing slowly disappears, but surprisingly appears in some of the more formal seventeenth century agreements. (p. 254)

Here again, though, business communications have tended to experience the same kind of progression in fits and spurts that have characterized all human enterprises throughout the millennia with some scholars reverting to business letter styles that were reactionary rather than innovative and progressive. In this regard, Richardson advises that, “Aside from a few stock phrases (‘rec’ per me’) here and there, examples from the seventeenth century contain fewer residual Latinisms than business letters from later in the nineteenth century, the kind of anachronistic legalisms business writing teachers have been trying to remove for a century (‘In re,’ etc.). The social practices associated with writing are sometimes as instructive as the contents of the writing itself” (2003, p. 253). These anachronisms, though, were holdovers from a relatively influential period in the history of business correspondence. For example, Thomas (1999) reports that, “The art of letter writing (ars dictaminis) in the medieval period was based on rhetorical principles developed in ancient Greek and Rome; conventions of the dictamen included both form and style, the form consisting of various sections of the message organized in a particular way and style referring to language used in an appropriate manner for the message as well as word choices that signaled the reader to expect a change of idea” (Richardson, 1985, p. 28).

Although the content of a specific piece of correspondence could change depending on the purpose of the letter, the organization and style would typically use the following pattern

1. Address: formulaic and polite, e.g., “right worshipful sir,” “well beloved brother,” “worthy and worshipful father.”

2. Salutation: e.g., “I greet you well,” “I recommend me unto you,” etc.

3. Notification: e.g., “and let you know that. . .,” “and please you to wit that. . .”

4. Exposition: further information about and explanation of the subject.

5. Disposition: e.g., “whereupon,” “wherefore,” “whereof”; a request or demand.

6. Valediction: e.g., “God have you in his keeping. . .” etc.

7. Attestation and Date: “written at . . .” plus the date, often written as the year of the king’s reign (cited in Thomas at p. 40).

These standardized formats and verbiage have facilitated global business communications even into the Age of Information where the use of email has replaced traditional letter-writing in many ways, but the styles and formats developed over the centuries remain in use today.

Chapter Summary

This chapter provided a review of the relevant peer-reviewed and scholarly literature concerning the Illuminati, the Knights Templar, Freemasons and other individuals such as Thomas Kuhn, Galileo, and Newton who were especially influential in shaping the modern world and its business systems. The chapter concluded with an analysis of the evolution of modern business practices from the era of the foregoing individuals and societies to the present day. Chapter 3 below describes more fully the study’s methodology, followed by an analysis of the data in Chapter 4.


Description of the Study Approach

This study used an exploratory study approach of the relevant peer-reviewed and scholarly literature to achieve the research purpose described in the introductory chapter. This approach is highly congruent with numerous social researchers who emphasize the need to critical review what is known about a topic before formulating opinions and conclusions. In this regard, Fraenkel and Wallen (2001) point out that, “Researchers usually dig into the literature to find out what has already been written about the topic they are interested in investigating. Both the opinions of experts in the field and other research studies are of interest. Such reading is referred to as a review of the literature” (p. 48). According to Gratton and Jones (2003), a critical reviewing of the timely literature is an essential task in all research. “No matter how original you think the research question may be, it is almost certain that your work will be building on the work of others. It is here that the review of such existing work is important. A literature review is the background to the research, where it is important to demonstrate a clear understanding of the relevant theories and concepts, the results of past research into the area, the types of methodologies and research designs employed in such research, and areas where the literature is deficient” (p. 51).

In this regard, Wood and Ellis (2003) identified the following as important outcomes of a well conducted literature review:

1. It helps describe a topic of interest and refine either research questions or directions in which to look;

2. It presents a clear description and evaluation of the theories and concepts that have informed research into the topic of interest;

3. It clarifies the relationship to previous research and highlights where new research may contribute by identifying research possibilities which have been overlooked so far in the literature;

4. It provides insights into the topic of interest that are both methodological and substantive;

5. It demonstrates powers of critical analysis by, for instance, exposing taken for granted assumptions underpinning previous research and identifying the possibilities of replacing them with alternative assumptions;

6. It justifies any new research through a coherent critique of what has gone before and demonstrates why new research is both timely and important.

Likewise, Silverman (2005, p. 300) suggests that a literature review should aim to answer the following questions:

1. What do we know about the topic?

2. What do we have to say critically about what is already known?

3. Has anyone else ever done anything exactly the same?

4. Has anyone else done anything that is related?

5. Where does your work fit in with what has gone before?

6. Why is your research worth doing in the light of what has already been done?

The foregoing guidance was used to shape the form of the literature review and to identify any existing gaps in the literature which are discussed further in the concluding chapter.

Data-gathering Method and Database of Study

As noted above, the data-gathering method used to complete the study was an exploratory approach using key word phrases to locate key documents and serendipitously identified resources. The database of study used consisted of both public and university libraries, as well as reliable online research resources such as EBSCOHost and Questia. The excerpted data collected for the study was presented in tabular form in order to provide a linear recapitulation of the historic events and individuals that have contributed to modern business systems and practices. This approach is congruent with the American Psychological Association’s Publication Manual (5th ed.), which states, “Word tables present qualitative comparisons or descriptive information. For example, a word table can enable the reader to compare characteristics of studies in an article that reviews many studies, or it can present questions and responses from a survey or shown an outline of the elements of a theory. Word tables illustrate the discussion in the text” (p. 161). A summary of the research and salient conclusions are presented in the concluding chapter that follows.



Timeline of Historical Events that Influenced Modern Business Science

Year (circa)


Key Impact


Knights Templar formed

The Order of Poor Knights of the Temple of Solomon (Knights Templar) was formed to protect Jerusalem and the pilgrimage routes; the group introduced letters of credit and new methods of conducing business across national borders (Hall et al., 2000).

From their early duties maintaining strongholds and protecting pilgrimage routes to Jerusalem, the Templars developed an ever more widespread organization that helped finance the religious Crusades with support from feudal nobility. So many donations flowed in that the Templar order became adept at property speculations and banking functions, such as protecting, transmitting, and loaning funds, services that they began to provide for dukes and kings (Hall et al., p. 116).

Late 12th to 13th centuries

Introduction of business schools

Business schools provided education for those seeking a career in commerce to learn basic reading, bookkeeping, and arithmetic (Smith & Walter, 1997). Major textile factories had been established in Flanders that were furnished with wool from Britain and flax from Egypt; the cloth that was manufactured by these factories was marketed all over Europe with financing provided by French-speaking expatriate Italian bankers (Smith & Walter, 1997).

By the thirteenth century, banking and finance had become quite sophisticated (Smith & Walter, 1997, p. 8).

14th century

Letters of credit and international financing emerges

Long-term credits were available, offered by merchants seeking to place their excess cash, or by bankers acting on their behalf (Smith & Walter, 1997, p. 8).

54 Knights Templar were burned alive at the stake

De facto end of the Order

15th century

The modus operandi of relations between merchants and the Church was reasonably well fixed, if complicated.

In order to redeem his soul, merchants would make contributions to the Church and its charitable works and alms houses, perhaps leaving a substantial part of his fortune to the Church upon their death. They would also suffer, as an ordinary cost of doing business, numerous fines and other charges for violating religious laws restricting commerce. Businessmen could purchase benefices or indulgences from the Church to expunge their guilt; before long literally hundreds of such benefices were offered for sale by the Church. They might also, as a lowly member of the bourgeoisie, have to renounce high social position in the community (Smith & Walter, 1997, p. 9).

Assuming that businessmen performed these duties to the extent required, they would be free to grow as rich as they were able, to likewise ascend in society and to leave most of their fortune to their heirs. It was a delicate balance perhaps, but one that was efficient for both the Church and the emerging middle classes. Each became mutually supportive of the other, despite the unbridgeable chasm of their intellectual and spiritual positions, and each prospered (Smith & Walter, 1997, p. 9).

Burgeoning business class in England

Opportunities for education were abundant in the fifteenth century, especially in London. To do business at all, merchants had to be able to read and do accounts, and the merchant class as a whole wanted its sons to enjoy the benefits of learning. Legacies left to sons often included money for schooling, with amounts ranging from that which would only cover learning to read and write to that which would support a son until he was twenty (Thomas, 1999, p. 40).

Formal business studies, which included French, the dictamen, rhetoric, accounting, and often common law, were centered in Oxford from the early thirteenth century until the latter half of the fifteenth when these subjects were taken over by other institutions, such as the Inns of Court (Thomas, 1999, p. 40).


Scientific Revolution in Europe

By tradition, the “Scientific Revolution” refers to historical changes in thought & belief, to changes in social and institutional organization, that unfolded in Europe between beginning with Nicholas Copernicus (1473-1543), who asserted a heliocentric (sun-centered) cosmos, it ended with Isaac Newton (1642-1727), who proposed universal laws and a Mechanical Universe (Hatch, 2009, p. 3). This shift from Cosmos to Universe also marked a transformation from an Organic Worldview to a Mechanical World Picture. That is, the Modern World Machine. All of this, according to traditional definitions, would have been rather important in itself, given the importance of science to 20th-century civilization (Hatch, 2009, p. 4).

The broadest period acknowledged usually runs from Nicholas Copernicus (1473-1543) and his De Revolutionibus to Isaac Newton (1642-1727). Some historians have cut this back, claiming that it properly extends only to the publication of Newton’s Principia (1687) or to his Opticks (1704) or to Newton’s death (1727). More radical proposals have suggested that the Scientific Revolution might apply to the so-called Enlightenment ‘Newtonians’ thus extending to roughly 1750 (Hatch, 2009, p. 3).

1602 — 1636

Financial markets appear

The Dutch established organized markets for trading in financial instruments by 1602. The Amsterdam Stock Exchange followed in 1611, on which trading and speculation in securities of all types developed rapidly. The “tulip mania,” in which the prices of bulbs temporarily reached extraordinary levels (one traded as high as £20,000), came in 1636 (Smith & Walter, 1997, p. 10). Insider trading is made a crime (Smith & Walter, 1997).

The Amsterdam market permitted various forms of short selling, puts and calls, and futures transactions in many different commodities (including tulip bulbs) and securities, including shares of the dominant and prosperous Dutch East India Company (Smith & Walter, 1997).

Trial of Galileo

One of the principal points of controversy about the trial of Galileo in 1633 hinges on the question whether the procedure envisaged “in case of his refusal to obey,” took place or not. If it did, Galileo was bound by an unconditional and absolute injunction not only not to defend, but not even to discuss Copernicanism. If it did not take place, the obligation placed on him could be interpreted elastically (Koestler, 1959, p. 462). As the result of the trial, Galileo did not publish anything for the next 7 years (Koestler, 1959).

This event represented the harsh type of “thought repression” that was evident at this time in Europe in the Middle Ages (Koestler, 1959, p. 462).

Fundamental shift in view of nature

Reduced to a machine by the new mental conception of what constituted physical reality, nature was to be studied by the human mind through laws that it was in the nature of the mind to understand, and God was reduced to the role of a millwright or a clockmaker, a role that also came to be considered as redundant by many of the later Newtonians (Nasr, 1996, p. 131).

The radical transformation in the understanding of the order of nature that was to serve as the background for modern science was thereby established in the late Renaissance despite the survival of nonmechanical views that continued to be of some significance well into the seventeenth century (Nasr, 1996, p. 132).

Establishment of the Bank of England

The Bank of England was chartered as a joint stock company in 1694 in return for a loan of 1.2 million pounds sterling to the government. In addition to its commercial activities, it was expected to handle the government’s accounts and to assist with its funding. Although the Bank immediately began issuing notes, not until 1709 did it achieve a virtual monopoly in note issuance. Eventually, the Bank both provided settlement services between banks and assumed responsibility for the stability of the banking system as a whole by acting as the lender of last resort (Tootell, 2002, p. 61).

Movements toward central bank independence eventually led to the 1998 Bank of England Act. The Act gave the Bank freedom in setting the monetary instrument, the interest rate. However, the Act also codified the Bank’s goals. The government set an inflation target for the Bank of around 2% and required the Bank to “support the government’s economic policy.” As a byproduct of this new instrument independence, government debt management was moved from the Bank to the Treasury (Tootell, 2002, p. 61).


Isaac Newton presides as Master of the Mint, the chief officer of the UK Royal Mint

Before the Royal Mint moved into a purpose-built building in 1810, the coinage of the realm was minted within the walls of the Tower of London. Isaac Newton presided over the organization, as Master of the Mint from 1699 until 1727. He had offices at the Tower of London, and as chief officer of the Mint worked hard to prosecute counterfeiters and improve the working of the institution (Coppin & Barratt, 2002, p. 96).

The Mint had always to compete for space and privileges in the Tower with the other departments based there, and Newton fiercely protected the Mint and its authority against the Lieutenant of the Tower and the Master of the Ordnance (Coppin & Barrett, 2002, p. 96).

18th century

Trading in bills of exchange and other financial instruments, including shares of a limited number of corporations, emerges.

Much of the trading took place daily in the City of London in an area called Exchange Alley. This was the scene in 1720 of the “Great South Sea Bubble,” in which thousands of British investors developed a mania for shares of a new company that would have monopoly rights to trade off the east coast of South America, the prospects for which were never much better than dim. Many people bought their shares on margin, an early example of financial leverage at work (Smith & Walter, 1997, p. 10).

The Great South Sea Bubble was a financial fiasco for its investors.


Rise of commercial enterprise in Western Europe

In contrast to the prolonged hold of older religious and aristocratic values in the rest of the world. Italy pioneered in the use of arabic numerals and the keeping of orderly accounts, England in the new secular emphasis on utility (Cochran, 1977). These psychological and environmental factors shaped the new American business institutions during the half-century following the end of the war for independence — the period of the Business Revolution (Cochran, 1977).

By the time the American colonies were established, the so-called modern attitude toward the world was part of the English heritage that the settlers brought with them (Cochran, 1977).

The founding of the Grand Lodge of England in London

This was the first of the Masonic lodges that would become “a vast chain” emerged in the British Isles during the seventeenth century. This event also marked the brotherhood’s formal institutionalization. The Grand Lodge of Ireland emerged around 1725; and the Grand Lodge of Scotland came into being in 1736 (Harland-Jacobs, 1999, p. 237).

These grand lodges performed important administrative functions, such as devising and circulating basic statements of Masonic ideology and regulations, collecting fees and dues, and warranting and keeping track of lodges. Although differences in English, Irish, and Scottish Freemasonry did exist, the institutions were similar enough to warrant being subsumed under the label “British Freemasonry” (Harland-Jacobs, 1999, p. 237).

The first official history of the Brotherhood was The Constitutions of the Free-Masons written by James Anderson

First published in 1723, the Constitution was revised and enlarged in 1738 (York, 1993, p. 316). Anderson’s version reigned supreme until the 1880s, when Robert Freke Gould took Anderson to task in his multivolume work. Others have since done the same or deferred to Gould. Contrary to Anderson, who dated Freemasonry back to antiquity, even linking it with the biblical creation story, Gould traced Freemasonry – as distinct from stonemasonry – to the Middle Ages. Later writers have argued that Freemasonry only developed in the seventeenth century, or even later, in Anderson’s own lifetime (York, 1993, p. 316).

These newer Freemasons gradually eclipsed older masonic craft guilds, which were absorbed into the new lodges or withered away and disappeared. For Gould and those like him, that was the real history; what Anderson wrote was either his own invention or based on legends, not empirical evidence (York, 1993, p. 316).

English Freemasons founded the first English lodge in the empire: Star of the East Lodge at Fort William in Bengal.

From that point on, the brotherhood spread through the empire by means of three processes. First and foremost, Masonic lodges in regiments of the British Army took the brotherhood to all parts of the empire, from the garrisons in its well-established colonies of America to outposts on its Asian frontiers. The development of the “traveling warrant” by the Grand Lodge of Ireland made Freemasonry’s spread through military lodges possible (Harland-Jacobs, 1999, p. 237).

(A warrant was a document issued by a grand lodge to indicate that it had granted members permission to form a lodge.) As their name suggests, traveling warrants accompanied their peripatetic regiments and gave them the authority to hold lodge meetings anywhere in the world

Count of Clermont installed as Masonic Grand Master of France

Event heralded a new corporate self-governing entity that used forms of representative assembly (Jacob, 1991).

Masons introduced elections, signed acts of convocation permitting an assembly, a legal record prepared by a notary, and an assembly held with the expressed purpose of conducting elections (Jacob, 1991).


Industrial Revolution

This term is used to describe the social and economic changes that mark the transition from a stable agricultural and commercial society to a modern industrial society relying on complex machinery rather than tools. It is used historically to refer primarily to the period in British history from the middle of the 18th century to the middle of the 19th century (Industrial Revolution, 2009). Although the Industrial Revolution involved more than automation and machinery, these were the primary fueling forces. The textile industries provide the first instance of machine industry, taken in the most complete sense. The rapid transformation in the cotton industry, wrought by a succession of technical inventions, made it the earliest and also the classical example of modern large-scale industry (Mantoux, 1961, p. 191). The Industrial Revolution of the mid-18th century to the mid-19th century witnessed significant changes in the social and economic structure took place as inventions and technological innovations created the factory system of large-scale machine production and greater economic specialization, and as the laboring population, formerly employed predominantly in agriculture (in which production had also increased as a result of technological improvements), increasingly gathered in great urban factory centers. The same process occurred at later times and in changed tempo in other countries. The Industrial Revolution did not in fact end in Britain in the mid-1800s. New periods came in with electricity and the gasoline engine. By 1850, however, the transformation wrought by the revolution was accomplished, in that industry had become a dominant factor in the nation’s life (Industrial Revolution, 2009).

The modern factory system that was the product of the Industrial Revolution is able to anticipate demand, to modify, or even sometimes to create it. These attributes are due to its extraordinary adaptability and to the rapid and incessant improvements in its technical equipment. Development in transport enables the producer to increase the extent of his market at will, without other limits than those of the inhabited world. This was not the case with the old industry. Limited both by the slowness of technical improvement and by the difficulty of communication, production was forcibly confined to the known wants of its habitual market. To manufacture for a clientele of unknown and distant possible consumers would have been considered an act of madness. In short, industry had to be regulated by the condition of trade connections (Mantoux, 1961, p. 72).

Publication of Adam Smith’s influential work, The Wealth of Nations

This work helped to ensure almost a century of prosperous laissez-faire economic policy in Great Britain (Smith & Walter, 1997). The term “laissez-faire” used by Smith also provides a means of understanding an important aspect of the complex and detailed account of the commercialization of Western society that is found in the Wealth of Nations. A careful reading of this book shows that Smith never portrayed free trade as an unmixed blessing. It shows, too, that Smith thought the ideal of a completely free commercial market was something of a utopian dream (Teichgraeber, 1986, p. 5).

Smith regarded the title ‘An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations’ as a synonym for “political economy” (Cannan, 2007, p. 4).

Illuminati order was outlawed

Members of the order remain active nevertheless.


Preparation for and execution of the French Revolution

The Illuminati “Insiders” planned and precipitated the French Revolution (Stewart, 2002).

When the revolution failed by 1795 “to set off a continent-wide social conflagration, as the Illuminati and similar groups had hoped and planned,” the Illuminati observed more closely than ever Weishaupt’s “instruction that the very existence of the order should be denied and kept secret at all costs” (quoted in Stewart, 2002 at p. 424).

Emergence of transnational societies

“Correspondence” was a key historical factor in the rise of the republic of letters. Corresponding societies would therefore appear to be the republic in microcosm. In fact “corresponding” had a meaning opposite the one intended by Habermas E.P. Thompson explains: “Since it was technically illegal to form a national society, correspondence … was the means by which national association was maintained.”

Rather than the means by which private individuals come together, rationally, to form a public sphere, “correspondence” signifies the subterfuge by which public men remain private.

National corresponding networks were springing up in places such as Norwich, Sheffield and Birmingham, but members from diverse groupings were unable to meet, face-to-face: they “corresponded,” as this was their only legal form of communication. Such subterfuge meant that participants in these societies were unable to stand openly as members of a national community. Rather they were stigmatized as members of an underground brotherhood, like the Freemasons and Illuminati, men charged with, not coming together openly as a “sphere” to mediate between state and society, but acting as cabals dedicated to bringing both these things down. (Miles, 2005, p. 317).

Emergence of business academies, later called colleges

Young men in the bigger cities could take evening courses at business academies, later to be called colleges, where within a few months they could learn arithmetic, bookkeeping, commercial geography, or navigation (Cochran, 1977).

The inroads of business education in the previously theological and classical private academies is illustrated in 1796 by the remark of Reverend David Barnes of Darby Academy in Massachusetts that business arithmetic was the international common language (Cochran, 1977).

New York Stock Exchange Founded

The first stock market in the United States, the New York Stock exchange was established 1792, when a group of people met under a buttonwood tree on Wall Street in New York City to trade shares of stock. The Stock Exchange Office they formed later grew into the New York Stock Exchange. Not only has the New York Stock Exchange grown, but other stock markets have sprouted in our nation over the years. The biggest ones are the American Stock Exchange in New York and a nationwide computerized system called NASDAQ, the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation system (Dickneider, 1992, p. 250).

These stock markets have all played an important role in the national and global economies (Dickneider, 1992).

Late 18th century

The Enlightenment

This period in history witnessed prejudiced philosophies and open-minded religious establishments alike; it remains unclear, though, what the average citizen made of the Enlightenment mindset. Change was glacial in this society dominated by the past, and the reforms that were instituted came late in the century. Typically such measures came not through the bold actions of enlightened rulers but as a result of hesitant princes striking compromises with bureaucrats, intellectuals, and sundry vocal constituencies to meet the growing demand for some governmental accountability (Luehrs, 2002, p. 103). In addition, Hinchman suggests that the Enlightenment carried with it the notion that a modern economy can generate unheard-of wealth, material security, and, ultimately, happiness (this last premise did not emerge clearly until later stages of the Enlightenment) (p. 351). In addition, Hall et al. note that in the secret Masonic world, the Enlightenment became subject to magical erasure through esoteric wisdom that held out the promise of bridging the Western dualisms between science and religion, reason and faith, spirit and sexuality. Just as surely, secret organizations became venues of political intrigue. By the nineteenth century, conservatives (and later, fascists) facing unruly rising social classes began to use the lodges to reaffirm the old order, virtue, authority, and the aristocracy of a master race. Yet radicals just as readily drew on the esoteric traditions to invoke reason, community, and a revolutionary theory of “synarchy”: a utopian plan to establish a technocratic oligarchy of Templar initiates (Hall et al.).

The excesses of the French Revolution indicated the limits of such alliances (Luehrs, 2002, p. 104).

Britain’s defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo

This event set the stage for another near-century of economic dominance by Great Britain and also represented the occasion for the House of Rothschild to rise from obscurity to supreme prominence from the enormous sums it earned in the market by accurately predicting the outcome of the battle and the defeat of Napoleon, and then duping other trades on the Exchange by at first selling, then buying large amounts of British paper (Smith & Walter, 1997).

The Rothschilds had earlier amassed a smaller fortune in buying and selling commercial bills from both sides during the war. Neither of their activities was illegal or considered improper at the time, though both would be condemned today (Smith & Waller, 1997, p. 10).

The physical sciences changed when the scientists shifted, toward the middle of the nineteenth century, from a “philosophy” to a “science.”

Sir Isaac Newton looked upon his mathematical method of reasoning as a “philosophy,” apparently because he considered his “attraction of gravity” as one of the divine purposes; however, when, in the nineteenth century, both divine purpose and human purpose were dropped and the reasoning was reduced to only mechanical “causes,” then the “philosophies” became the several “sciences” of physics, astronomy, chemistry, biology, psychiatry, and their multiple “forces” or “energies” of “nature” predetermined (Commons et al., p. 153).

It was found impossible to keep the many sciences separated with separate “causes” assigned to each, like gravity to physics and astronomy, affinity to chemistry, polarity to electromagnetism, and so on. Various efforts were made to unite them in one harmonious system (Commons et al., p. 153).

The spread of railroads and the telegraph during the second half of the 19th century

This encouraged firms to take advantage of economies of scale and rely on hierarchical management to control their far-flung operations (The new colossus, 2003, p. 94). Around 1850, the United States as far west as the Great Plains became a national business system knit together by rail and water, with a rapidly growing population spurred by a high domestic birth-rate and heavy immigration.

The firms’ mass production of standardized goods at low cost put those goods within the reach of most consumers (The new colossus, 2003, p. 94).

Publication of Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species

The evolutionary thought of Hegel and Marx was given a firm scientific foundation in 1859 with the publication of Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species. The philosophic concept of process or of becoming was now combined with the biological concepts of change and development. The effect of the penetration of the idea of becoming into the biological sciences was to give the evolutionary outlook a more widespread public acceptance. It was Herbert Spencer who first popularized the evolutionary outlook among social scientists by showing the applications of Darwinian thinking to the field of social science. In the fourth quarter of the nineteenth century Spencer spread the principles of “social Darwinism” throughout England and the United States (Gruchy, p. 16).

The rise of the industrial corporation and the antecedent technological advance in production and distribution

These events and trends have been fully documented and generally accepted (Chandler 1959, 1977). These developments produced a dramatic change in the business environment of the late nineteenth century. In particular, business practices that had evolved under earlier conditions proved inapplicable. Destructive price competition became common in the late nineteenth century because the creation of a national market produced high fixed costs for expanding firms. Due to the rapid growth of industry and the absence of stable business relations among firms, these businesses were unable to collude informally; companies chose to engage in price competition in an effort to establish market share (Hake, 1998).

In an attempt to operate at a level of full output, individual business concerns engaged in destructive price competition, lowering prices and maintaining high levels of output in the vain attempt to satisfy their fixed charges. Horizontal mergers eventually resulted (Hake, 1998, p. 145).

Sherman Antitrust Act

This was the first legislation that was passed by the U.S. Congress to prohibit trusts. Prior to its enactment, various states had passed similar laws, but they were limited to intrastate businesses. Finally opposition to the concentration of economic power in large corporations and in combinations of business concerns led Congress to pass the Sherman Act. The act, based on the constitutional power of Congress to regulate interstate commerce, declared illegal every contract, combination (in the form of trust or otherwise), or conspiracy in restraint of interstate and foreign trade. A fine of $5,000 and imprisonment for one year were set as the maximum penalties for violating the act (Sherman Antitrust Act, 2009). The act was passed when prices were falling sharply and output was growing rapidly, especially in industries that were the specific targets of the new legislation (Morgan & Rutherford, 1998, p. 180).

By the end of the 1930s, economists showed considerable enthusiasm for application of the act in the control of large firms and of the destabilizing effects their pricing policies were believed to have on the economy (Morgan & Rutherford, 1998, p. 180).

Explosion in marketing of factory-made consumer goods

From 1890 on, synthetic materials, electricity, electronics, and the automobile all changed the things to be sold and the ways and means of moving and marketing them (Cochran, 1977). The period after 1890 may be seen as a time of fruition of innovations that were made in preceding decades and only then began to have an effect. These include the electrical devices of telephone, light, and power machinery; the automobile and interurban highways; oil as a major source of energy; better alloys and specialized tools; an easier capital market helped by the huge reserves of insurance companies; a mature system of investment banking; trade, employer, and civic associations; chain stores and mail-order houses; more specialized wholesale and retail distributors; nationwide advertising by new devices; direct factory marketing of branded products to retailers; and increasing federal and state regulation of business practices (Cochran, 1977).

The uniquely American problem was the domestic marketing of machine-made family and household equipment in the face of the heavy costs of selling and transportation (Cochran, 1977).


The history of business administration faculties such as the Harvard Group began in 1881 with the foundation of the Wharton School in Philadelphia.

The strong movement towards the incorporation and bureaucratization of firms had already raised weighty questions back at the beginning of the century [concerning] how the liberal ethos [could] be preserved in a place where modern business organization was becoming a new kind of property, and the individual’s chances of survival depended on his entering some form of association. The Progressives did not object to the existence of big corporations; on the contrary, they accepted them as a vital element of American life. In 1908, George W. Perkins told an audience of Columbia University students: “The most useful achievement of the great corporation has been the saving of waste … Corporations brought together the best brains, the best genius, the best energy … And coordinated them in work for a common end” (quoted in Yogev, 2001 at p. 52).

In 1891, the University of Wisconsin and Dartmouth College opened up their own business administration departments, with Harvard following suit in 1908 and Columbia University in 1916. By 1939, 120 business faculties were already in operation across the United States. Today 900 American universities award a total of 90,000 MBAs every year. According to Daniel A. Carter’s new study on the development of business management as a university discipline, one out of every 250 people in the U.S. has a degree in business administration (Yogev, 2001, p. 52)


Merger movement

This movement was preceded by the pressures of destructive price competition. Large horizontal mergers combined competing firms and reorganized American industry on the basis of the corporate form. The turn of the century represented a watershed (Veblen, 1964, p. 338).

The conjuncture was essentially that of a sweeping transition and realignment, incident to the passing of the common run of the key industries from a footing of competitive business in an ample market to a footing of collusive traffic in a closed market too narrow for unguarded competitive production (Veblen, 1964, p. 338).


Fundamental shifts in employment

The increase in the use of prepared foods and readymade clothing, and the steady fall in the percentage of partly self-sufficient farm population were expanding wholesale and retail trade at a rate slightly higher than the total value added to materials by manufacturing. In people employed, the contrast was more striking, with those working in trade growing from 1899 to 1929 at a rate of 160% as against 100% for those in manufacturing — illustrating the well-established assumption that as industrial society matures employment in the trade and service sectors rises the most rapidly (Cochran, 1977).

Both the trade and manufacturing sectors were still growing in relation to agriculture, but the true gain of the trade sector was significantly larger than shown in the census, since many large manufacturing firms carried on extensive marketing activities within the company, occasionally reaching all the way to the retailer or even the ultimate consumer (Cochran, 1977).


Emergence of new business model

The history of business administration in the United States was shaped by four companies that first created the new business model. General Motors, du Pont, Standard Oil ( New Jersey), and Sears, Roebuck enlarged their business, took on new functions, moved into new lines of businesses, and such move required a new design for administration.

Busy executives worked out, often slowly and painfully, new methods and means for coordinating, appraising, and planning the effective use of vast and varied assortments of men, money, and materials (Chandler, 1962, p. 4).


Global diffusion of financial services

At the end of the twentieth century, the global diffusion of one important financial service, insurance, was encouraged by deregulation, but it also encountered difficulties where deregulation remained incomplete and where there were many nonregulatory barriers to entry. International insurance was already well developed before 1914 (Pearson & Lonnborg, 2008).

The growth in the global insurance trade, however, occurred against a background of increasing national regulation and fiscal burdens in many countries, making international business affordable only for the largest companies with the deepest reserves (Pearson & Lonnborg, 2008).


Thorstein Veblen publishes The Theory of Business Enterprise

This seminal text developed an explanation of the relationship among the rise of a national market, the phenomenon of destructive price competition, and the merger movement, which produced the modern corporate structure of American enterprise. Veblen described the evolution of financial practices through stock-financed mergers as the solution to a business crisis caused by the technological advances of the late nineteenth century. He argued that a change in the method of capitalizing business assets, coupled with the adoption of innovative financial instruments, allowed the rapid reorganization of industry (Hake, 1998, p. 145).

In describing the forces that led to the emergence of the corporation, Veblen argued that advances in production technologies, coupled with the growth of an integrated system of transportation, produced a markedly different business environment than had previously existed. No longer did businesses operate in regionally segregated and isolated market environments (Hake, 1998, p. 145).


Prof N.S.B. Gras defined business history and wrote the first general treatise in the field

Shaped the institutions necessary to establish business history as a separate identity, provided opportunity for communicationg among its practitioners, and gave it status in the academic world (Galambos, 1967).

Gras taught at the Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration (Galambos, 1967).


Emergence of the so-called “Age of Demand”

Instead of acting as a relatively disinterested and remote arbiter of the distribution of private wealth and power, the national government in the United States became a major force redistributing income, altering demand, strengthening workers’ organizations, and ultimately becoming and remaining the major customer of business (Cochran, 1977).

While the social needs of an urban society forced state and local authorities continually to increase spending, the fundamental changes of the 1930s were on the federal level (Cochran, 1977).


FDR Signs G.I. Bill of Rights

One of the unforeseen consequences of this laudable act was to create an enormous pool of middle managers who would contribute to the professionalism of businesses of all types, but which also weighed companies down compared to their leaner Japanese counterparts who would emerge as more efficient and effective in the latter part of the 20th century.

During the latter half of the 20th century, American middle managers were typically responsible for the management of just a few to perhaps a dozen employees; by sharp contrast, their Japanese counterparts might be responsible for the oversight of hundreds of employees, making these companies more competitive.


Emergence of business administration as a science

Business schools, being accountable to both professional and academic audiences, should consider the simultaneous pursuit of two models: academic and professional. The academic model treats the field of business as a science; its objective is to develop in students habits of mind and analytic competence that will be useful in analyzing future problems that are today unknown. In this model, the function of a manager is to allocate the organization’s resources to maximize long-term value using sophisticated decision-making models. Faculty who subscribe to the academic model emphasize graduate instruction and have little relationship with the business community. Alternatively, the professional model is essentially “field driven,” or responsive to the perceived needs of the business community. This model challenges faculty to work with students in helping them deal with developing judgment in resolving complex and unstructured practical problems. In the professional model setting, linkages with the professional community are critical and faculty regularly pursue consulting and executive development activities. Research, while not as critical as in the academic model, supports the investigation of applied problems of current concern to managers (Van Auken, Cotton & Mckenna, 1996, p. 380).

Business schools should not choose one model to the exclusion of the alternative. Rather, schools should seek to maintain an appropriate balance between the two. In essence, schools of business would differ with regard to the degree of emphasis placed on each of the two approaches (Van Auken et al., p. 381).


Publication of Alfred Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

Kuhn’s book, now considered a classic by many, presented the argument that major advances in science have occurred in a sudden manner (a “punctuated” process) rather than in a gradual fashion. He further advanced the “paradigm” notion, which was an essential component of his “nongradual” hypothesis dealing with the manner in which science progresses. Within each scientific community, Kuhn (1962) reasoned, individuals work within certain doctrinal and social constraints and become “locked in” to given explanations and attitudes as they proceed with their work; the current body of acceptable thought then dictates the spectrum of approaches open to them. Kuhn wrote: “paradigms [are] universally recognized scientific achievements that for a time provide model problems and solutions to a community of practitioners” (1962, p. viii).

Kuhn’s earliest adoption of the paradigm notion included, among other implications, the concept of a “gestalt.” He felt that scientists working within the constraints of a paradigm actually view their research problems and possible approaches from a very limited perspective, as shaped by a prevailing viewpoint (world view) in their particular scientific community. As Kuhn later stated: “Paradigms may be prior to, more binding, and more complete than any set of rules for research that could be unequivocally abstracted from them” (1962, p. 46).


The Hart-Scoss-Rodino Antitrust Improvement Act

This act made it easier for regulators to investigate mergers for antitrust violations, but few mergers were blocked during the merger boom of the 1980s, when the FTC and Justice Dept. adopted a looser interpretation of antitrust legislation (Sherman Antitrust Act, 2009).

By the 1990s, still a time of large corporate mergers, the FTC became more litigious in antitrust actions, and the Justice Dept. aggressively pursued the Microsoft Corporation (Sherman Antitrust Act, 2009).


Chandler establishes dominant approach to American business history in The Visible Hand (1977) and other influential works

America’s economic success in the 20th century was due to the rise of huge, vertically integrated, hierarchically managed enterprises in steel, automaking, and other important industries. Instead of relying on the market to obtain raw materials and to sell their products, the Ford Motor Company and other large firms took on the supply and marketing functions themselves — and management’s “visible hand” proved more efficient than the market’s invisible one. Chandler “provided a compelling alternative to the [then-common] robber-baron view of big business,” say the authors; however, by the 1980s, “classic Chandlerian firms frequently were being outperformed, even in their core businesses, by more specialized, vertically disintegrated rivals,” such as Toyota. Detroit automakers found it hard to adapt, but firms in other U.S. manufacturing industries, particularly new ones such as computers, were at home in the new environment (The new colossus, 2003, p. 93).

Chandler’s view prevailed even as the behemoth firms he celebrated were running into grave difficulties in the late 20th century (The new colossus, 2003, p. 93).


Emergence of the Internet and World Wide Web

Even in the best of times, big companies find it hard enough to create new businesses, so the advent of the World Wide Web and the attendant stock market hoopla put even greater pressure on top managers — this time to come up with business models incorporating e-commerce platforms, and fast Chu, Gold & Leibowitz, 2001, p. 43). For better or for worse, the rise and fall of the Internet era is a part of the recent history of business and entrepreneurship (Forbes & Pavone, 2006, p. 579). The Internet has not only facilitated global business communications, it has leveled the playing field for small- to- medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as well. Today, more companies of all sizes are exploiting increased mobility and innovation in their business communications to achieve competitive advantage. Until now mobility in particular has been prohibitive in cost terms for many SMEs. Mobile communications are definitely the future, with more handsets similar to the Blackberry being introduced on a daily basis and more and more people needing to be connected to their critical office functions wherever they are in the world (Laing, 2007, p. 28).

Some companies took the business-to-consumer (B2C) route, others the business-to-business (B2B) one. The results often failed to meet expectations (Chu et al., p. 43). To some people, this era is like a degenerate stage of youth that should be forgotten and is no longer discussed in polite company. Other people find themselves curiously entranced by the organizational dramas of the era (Forbes & Pavone, p. 579)


North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) takes effect

Free trade agreement between the nations of North America. While the trend toward greater North American economic integration is likely to continue, the prospects for a closer union will depend on the ability of the member countries to remedy NAFTA’s shortcomings (Taylor, 2004, p. 172). For instance, NAFTA has several drawbacks for Mexico. The large multinational companies and their maquiladora assembly operations have gained an increasingly larger proportion of Mexico’s export production, while the proportion of production by smaller manufacturing firms and other producers has steadily shrunk. Mexico continues to be an importer of technology and innovative processes, and likewise remains heavily dependent on the performance of the U.S. economy. This has made it difficult to remedy or improve upon the structural problems in the Mexican economy (Taylor, 2004, p. 173).

The economic benefits resulting from NAFTA have not been shared equally by all the country’s regions; in fact, domestic production remains concentrated in the Federal District, Jalisco and Nuevo Leon. Mexico’s inadequate road system, particularly in the central and southern states, constitutes a serious impediment to attracting foreign investment in those regions, as well for exploiting the full potential of the trade agreement (Taylor, 2004, p. 172). Although the general consensus concerning NAFTA’s performance during its first decade is positive, there remains considerable uncertainty regarding the longer range prospects for further integration in the Americas (Taylor, p. 173).


Emergence of new ecological and economic paradigm

The core problem addressed in ecological economics is the sustainability of interactions between economic and ecological systems. Ecological economics addresses the relationships between ecosystems and economic systems in the broadest sense. It involves issues that are fundamentally cross-scale, transcultural and transdisciplinary, and calls for innovative approaches to research, to policy and to the building of social institutions (Nemetz, 1999, p. 9).

Ecological economics tends to be characterized by a holistic “systems” approach that goes beyond the normal territorial boundaries of the academic disciplines (Nemetz, 1999, p. 9).



The research showed that mankind has been engaging in business transactions, defined as any commercial activity engaged in for gain or livelihood, for millennia, but the study of business as a science is much more recent in origin, beginning about a century and a half ago. There were business schools introduced in Europe, though, several centuries ago that helped fuel the rise of international commerce and the spread of democratic thought throughout the world in ways that other human enterprises could not match.

Today, international commerce is driven by countless business documents, documentary credits such as letters of credit and bills of lading, standard formats, styles, and accepted practices that are the result of the accumulation of business practices from around the world and it is reasonable to suggest that the process of globalization has been facilitated in large part by the business systems introduced by the Knights Templar and refined by the membership of the Illuminati over the course of hundreds of years. This is not to say, though, that these contributions were readily accepted by the mainstream society of the day, because they were not. It is to say, though, that over time, these innovations have contributed to a global business network that is simply taken for granted by modern practitioners but which would not be quite the same without the contributions of influential individuals such as Galileo, Newton and Kuhn and organizations such as the Illuminati and the Freemasons.


Today’s “Age of Information” is in reality the “Age of Culmination,” a culmination of centuries of advances, innovations and structures that were introduced bit by bit and which were not always readily accepted by the mainstream, particularly at first. In a “two-steps-forward-one-step-back” fashion, the business systems that have become the economic engine of an increasingly globalized marketplace were the product of countless individual contributions, but a few players and institutions stand out among the multitude. Galileo, Newton and Kuhn, of course, made enormous contributions to the way modern humans think about the world but even these individuals built on the work of earlier philosophers and scholars dating to antiquity. Thousands of institutions of higher learning offer courses and degrees in business science today, but the research made it abundantly clear that there would be nothing to teach had it not been for the contributions made by influential individuals such as Galileo, Newton and Kuhn as well as the linking frameworks introduced by organizations such as the Illuminati and the Freemasons. Although Galileo and Newton would likely be surprised by the Internet and the World Wide Web, they would probably not be shocked by the manner in which it has been employed in recent years to facilitate business communications and the dissemination of information on a global basis. In the final analysis, the world of modern business science is the product of contributions by the individuals and organizations discussed herein in ways that confirm Newton’s observation that, “On the shoulders of giants we stand.”


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Appendix A

Timeline of Important Events in Business History

[Source: Small Business Notes, 2009 at

Founding of J.E. Rhoads & Sons, America’s Oldest Continuing Business

Benjamin Franklin Born

Founding of Covenant Life Insurance (Presbyterian Ministers’ Fund)

Birth of Adam Smith

England: Act of Parliament Allows Establishment of Workhouses

Tobacco Notes Become Legal Tender in Virginia

The Beginning of the Industrial Revolution in England

Wampum Factory Opened in New Jersey

John Jacob Astor Born. Astor’s Fortune in Furs & Real Estate Eventually Grows to $20,000,000

Boston Tea Party

1st Continental Congress

American Revolution Begins

Bank of North America Incorporated

Revolutionary War Ends

Bavaria: Establishment of Work Institution for the Poor to Manufacture Clothing

New York Stock Exchange Founded

Eleuthere Du Pont Establishes E.I. Du Pont de Nemours & Co

Erie Canal Opened

Baltimore & Ohio, 1st U.S. Passenger Railroad, was Begun

Samuel Morse Invents a Commercially Viable Telegraph

First Steamship Built for North Atlantic Ocean Travel

England: “Labor Yards” Established Where Unemployed Could Come and Work

1st Message Sent Over 1st Telegraph Wire

U.S.-Mexican War Ends with Mexico Ceding Almost Half Its Territory to the U.S.

California Gold Rush Begins

Isaac Singer Patents the Sewing Machine

1st Commercial Producing Oil Well

U.S. Buys Alaska from Russia for $7.2 Million

Transcontinental Railroad Completed

1st Commercial Telephone Exchange

Edison Electric Founded by Thomas Alva Edison

F.W. Woolworth Opened First Store

American Federation of Labor Formed

George Eastman Perfects the Kodak Camera

Sherman Antitrust Act

1st Motion Picture Shown on a Public Screen



Olds Co. Begins Mass-Producing Automobiles


International Ladies Garment Workers Union Founded


Wright Brothers Make First Flight


U.S. Takes Over Construction of the Panama Canal


Ford Introduces the Model T



Supreme Court Order Breakup of Standard Oil


Panama Canal Opens



Great Stock Crash



1st U.S. Supermarket, King Kullen, Opens


FDR Signs Bill for Federal Housing Administration


1st DC-3 Flight


Hoover Dam Completed


1st Commercial Television Broadcast


Social Security Administration approves the 1st unemployment check



The Jeep, built by Willys, makes its debut


FDR Signs G.I. Bill of Rights


Gold Discovered in California



Disneyland Opens


Eisenhower Signs Act Creating NASA


BOA Launches First Credit Card



20,000 New England Shoe Workers Went on Strike and Got Higher Wages


Equal Pay for Equal Work


Intelsat 1 Goes into Service


President Johnson Signs Medicare into Law



Southwest Airlines Begins Flying


Federal Express Begins Operations


President Ford Signs EUSA into Law


Wall Street Fixed Commission Established


Volker Becomes Fed Chairman


Three Mile Island Disaster



U.S. Government Bails Out Chrysler


Black Monday Crash



North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) took Effect

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