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Regular version of the site

Book chapter

Kerov V. Russian Old Believers: Traditionalism Promoting Economic Innovations

Modern social sciences view traditionalism as an opposite of innovations and economic growth. In Russia Old Believers was characterized by the deep traditionalism of their rituals and everyday life. The Old Believers, however, in 19th C. turned out to be leaders in technical and economic innovations. How did it coexist with the traditionalism of Old Believer denominations? By developing tendencies of Russian Orthodox society of the 16-17th C. in new social and economic environment and under the influence of prosecutions the Old Believers in the late 17th – early 18th C. created new confessional values. A new type of religiousness and of personality emerged an active worldview and a high level of responsibility. Then, in the state of eschatological stress, the Old Believers sanctified oversufficient labor as edifying and overcame traditional dislike for entrepreneurship and ownership of property. In the early 19th century the concept of Business as Case was formed. For the sake of Business the Old Believers forewent the prohibition on innovation in the organizational and technical sphere while keeping it in place for their everyday lives. The fusion of innovation and tradition called to life the non-etatist modernization of whole sectors of the Russian economy.

In book

Uppsala: European Business History Association (EBHA), 2013.