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From the Enlightenment to Business Models. Episode 4. Who moved the ways of the Enlightenment Part A. The Dutch.

Have a beautiful weekend. Today is about setting your palate into the entrée dish. Our saga starter platter is about understanding at least the main relevant points of each of the begetters of the Enlightenment period. We decided to begin our month of February by answering the question of Who was who in the Enlightenment. And of course, the mega answer was vast. Many erudite that are knowledgeable or at least well-informed about history will probably be in opposition to land into knowing people before the chronology of the events. If a historiographer disagrees with the way in which I open the outline, then my response is to always start with people first. People matters. In consequence, we selected, randomly, the space-location category to introduce you to the diverse amount of thinkers, philosophers, and studious who had been relevant to this ritual passage that has been called the Enlightenment.

I have also been in a doldrums week.
As you will be able to observe in the Ocean Race video shown below, the main last week event of the race was to cross the doldrums. The doldrums definition is a region of the ocean near the equator, characterized by calms, light winds, or extensive clouds. Doldrums also is a period of stagnation or slump. So, last week, I as the teams’ Guyot, Malizia, Biotherm, HolcimPRB, and 11th Hour Racing; all, have been tremendously slow. I was compelled to create a dashboard in my studio whiteboard, to write a list of all the themes, people, subjects, aspects, and context of the Enlightenment, with the amplest panorama of all the bits and pieces that we need to connect. So this last doldrums´ week was heavy for me too.

The doldrums is a term for windless areas at the equator. Literally a perfectly calm sea in the middle of the ocean where ships just get stuck for days. Photo Source: Illustrative and non-commercial image. Used for educational use. Utilized only informatively for the public good.

Against my own contradictions to unfold the main Enlightenment personalities’ in only two episodes, I clashed in the doldrums slump. In the doldrums, it was unavoidable to decide to expand all this monstrous content into more episodes. And I decided to do it, country by country. Please remember, our same hypothesis was shared with you last Friday. Each of the European main competitors, who were battling in their own continent for the conquest expansion of their own kingdoms, suddenly was facing a new context. By coincidence or not, Christopher Columbus’s mistake of discovering America was enough reason for the leaders of the 16th century to do something about it. All those kingdoms were pushed to decide. New land with resources was around the corner. Populations who wanted to emigrate from the conflicts in Europe, only to start fresh in America. New opportunities for trading were envisaged. So the monarchs of Spain, Portugal, The Netherlands, France, England, Germany, and the Holy Roman Empire legacy territories (for example Italy), found a new fountain for fortune and wealth. The monarchs launched strategically a bold consideration to move forward for colonization. Their goal: a new conquer to pursue in the West side of their world across the Atlantic. Suddenly Asia wasn´t the only piece of the cake, but also there was magic, a promise of riches and merchant trophies to discover on the west side. The 1500s arrived, and each of the European main kingdoms, opened their mental boundaries, for the awards of the New World.  And corporate strategic decision-making was driven not by what could occur in Europe, but in the new world.  The race to conquer and colonize between the Portuguese; Spanish (in conjunction with the German Holy Roman Empire); English; French; Danish-Swedish; and Dutch was a race of merchant conglomerates. Empires that were commercially driven, merchant-wise established, using warfare to economically found and develop the most expanded network of trade spots they could.

In consequence, and if you follow my corporate strategist rationale of trying to connect the dots between the philosophers of the Enlightenment and the commercial expansion of each of the main kingdoms where they were born, I am convinced that you will begin to open your eyes to a reality that goes beyond the anti-God, and anti-church ideas of the radical philosophes of the Enlightenment.

Today we will initiate to show you the main relevant intellectual Enlightenment characters (as if it is an antique novel) of the Dutch lands. During our next episodes, we will also reveal the Germans, the British, the Italians, the French, and the Spaniards-Portuguese profiles. We will try to bring them back to our present. But please, take notice: it is up to you to continue learning about them. I can´t expand too much into the details of their works. I encourage you to please read the Jonathan Israel required bibliography that I introduced to you in the first episode. Many of my inferences in the slides are coming from Doctor Jonathan Israel sources, and other complementary academic papers and books.

Illustrative and non-commercial image. Used for educational use. Utilized only informatively for the public good.

The context. The Dutch Golden Age.
Who has not been attracted to the paintings of the Masters of the Dutch Golden Age? Why do you think these amazing painters, Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Steen created such wonderful oeuvres of art? As a work-in-progress watercolorist, I have learned that the high quality of your artwork depends on the degree of inner peace, excellent expensive raw materials and pigments, the promise of a rewarding acceptance of your artwork once it is finished, and the full-time dedication/inspiration that you can throw back on your paper or canvas. Something must have been happening in The Dutch Republic at that time. The Dutch republic, even with its bemols and troubles, was a relatively “efficient political system that emerged into a hostile world” (1). “The Dutch Golden Age, (17th century) was a period of great wealth. The Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie (VOC) or United East India Company was settled in 1602 and trade expanded quickly into their territories. The VOC attracted immigrants and stimulated the growth of the main cities and ports” (2). “In 1621 the Dutch West India Company (WIC) was the counterpart for the expansion of the economic and warfare interests of the Dutch Republic in America and Africa.  The trade of objects (and even slaves) was good business for the Dutch” (3). See slides 18 and 19 below. All the colonial empires (not just the Dutch) were immersed in international trading. But the Dutch state for-profit companies (VOC and WIC) were premium stars in re-selling and transportation or logistics (buying cheaper and re-trading as wholesalers, for a solid ground markup or profit). The concept of the global value supply chain genesis comes from this specific moment in time, in which all the European trading state corporations were blooming.

Who was moving the ways of the Enlightenment in the Dutch lands?
Find attached the set of slides that I have prepared for you today. This document agglutinates the main profiles of the Dutch Philosophers during the Dutch Golden Age. Even though I am a firm believer in God, the Holy Trinity, and the miracles of Jesus as the Son of God, our redeemer; I must show you the mental framework of the Enlightenment figures of that time. So please, be consequently mature to understand our narrative and the facts of these players. I am not doing any judgment on the past history. I am only showing you my inferences when studying the thoughts, the mental frameworks, and the philosophy of corporate strategists of the merchant empire’s epoch. Is it a coincidence that the same epoch of the Enlightenment was the same time in which the business model of merchant empires expanded?. Can you see the overlap? By understanding how the corporate strategy leaders were thinking, then we will be able to comprehend from where are we starting our current theories of globalization and our current business models of today.  You can download the document and print it in PDF.

The slides represent a journey of the main profiles of the Early enlightenment. The Dutch were the pioneers of the radical enlightenment, many of them were persecuted not just by the Catholic Church but by the reformed protestants too. It seems to me that Van Den Enden mentality influenced several students from the University of Leiden, who then grouped under Baruch Spinoza´s leadership to write their radical thoughts in several books. Leiden University was founded in 1575, thanks to William of Orange. “According to tradition, he founded the University to reward the citizens of Leiden for their resistance to the Spanish occupiers”. Please read all these slides with careful attention. There are several pathway clues for you. Try to discover them in the slides. One question that took hours of scrutiny? How did the Dutch mentality swing from the radicals to the moderate? What do you think? Was that true, or did the radical mentality simply traveled to New Amsterdam in America?

Next week, we will continue exploring the profiles of the Enlightenment figures of the German territories. The next topic is “Who moved the ways of the Enlightenment, part B. The Germans”.

Ocean Musical Section
As I mentioned before, during the last 7 days, our sailors have been stuck in the Doldrums. Just a couple of days ago the Ocean Race teams were able to cross the Equator, and find better wind conditions. Nevertheless, at this specific moment in time, the clouds are also interrupting their plans. During the following days, the 5 teams will enter another “doldrums” region where there are no good wind conditions. Passing through the doldrums is worst than “hell” for any navigator that depends on the wind to advance forward. If you have been curious enough to follow Leg 2, the tracker of the Ocean Race 2022-2023 (click here, shows a speed forecast of less than 3-5 knots. This means another 2 to 3 days of slow stagnation await us. By this moment of the race, we expect that you have been able to watch the dramatic changes in the wind speed of the IMOCA boats. These “have retractable foils that lift the hull out of the water above 18 knots (33 km/h) and allow a top speed of 35 knots (65 km/h) or more” (5). So when there is no wind, the boats are stuck. Zero motion unless gybing (zigzag).

Tracker position of the teams, at the moment of this publication. Illustrative and non-commercial image. Used for educational use. Utilized only informatively for the public good.

In corporate strategy, there is a lesson for all of us to learn: when we are in the middle of extremely difficult decision-making (such as if it is good for humanity or not to proceed with automation and artificial intelligence), and we are stuck, unable to decide, in the middle of zigzags. Well, let´s make a big move (for some probably irrational) but for us, necessary. Let´s go back to the origins of globalization and the merchant empires, and find out the clues of our limited mental frames of business and trading. The same applies to those who still want to utilize modern slavery towards people by cutting their income flows. The same applies to those who still believe that the wrong premises of the anti-christian values of the Enlightenment are outstanding to keep in our days. Only then we will be able to comprehend what needs to be fixed, in the doldrums of our current history, before proceeding further.

The summary of the Doldrums phase when the sailors were crossing the Equator.
This classic concert represents the hard stuck times of the Doldrums. From the Netherlands for us.

See you next Friday 10th of February. Thank you and blessings for reading to me.

We are heading to Cape Town, the Ocean Race 2023. Photo Source:

Sources of reference are utilized today.




Disclaimer: Illustrations in Watercolor are painted by Eleonora Escalante. Other types of illustrations or videos (which are not mine) are used for educational purposes ONLY.  All are used as Illustrative and non-commercial images. Utilized only informatively for the public good. Nevertheless, most of this blog’s pictures, images, or videos are not mine. I do not own any of the lovely photos or images posted unless otherwise stated.

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