Capitalism has many varieties, but like religious orthodoxy it is ferociously contested among adherents of particular traditions. For this book’s purposes it was a highly structured system of trade characterized by debt obligations that bound borrowers’ ambitions, expectations, and imaginations to future repayment. Debt instruments represented those obligations, which were durable, mobile, and ultimately transferable, the basis of paper money. Capitalism was built on the trust in promises debtors made to creditors and the expansive resources that those relationships yielded in the service of generating returns
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