The modern enterprise – successor of business organization forms in ancient Rome and medieval Europe
Authors: Anca Păcală
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In recent years, researchers and practitioners are increasingly interested in the role and influence of the forms of business organization on the economy and society.
Interpretations of the role of companies in the modern period, ranging from enthusiastic support (as the most important invention of capitalism, an explanation of the Western civilization’s expansion) to moderate and often critical positions, where the company is seen as a solution, not necessarily optimal, to market imperfections. On the other hand, we often ponder upon the explanation of political, administrative and infrastructural success of ancient Rome: the state or the enterprise (the private initiative)? Closer to our time, we rediscover with amazement that the "dark" Middle Ages are not at all dark and lacking in progress, at least in terms of capitalist organization and logic. The development
of trade in the two poles of medieval Europe (the Mediterranean and the Balto- Scandinavian area), of industry and trade in the North-Western quadrant (Flanders and neighbouring regions), was concurrent with the improvement of organizational forms of business, with the diversity and flexibility of entrepreneurial or even corporate frameworks. Of course, the study of historical sources (ancient or medieval) cannot provide direct
answers or solutions to the questions of modern society, because the challenges of today are rather different to those of the past. On the other hand, understanding history can help companies to build a more complete and a wiser enterprise functionality and role in the modern society, to reformulate the questions and to find new solutions. Our paper, with a clear juridical perspective on economic history, focuses on the organization of firms in ancient Rome and medieval Europe, tries to provide examples, useful interpretations and diverse solutions to the problems of contemporary society and economy.