JEWS AND CAPITALISM
WE have seen that Jews helped considerably in the transition of Europe from a barter-economy to a money-economy during the quarter of a millennium ( 1100-1350). By the later date their functions in this regard had been transferred to Italian bankers, and they themselves, to a large extent, removed from the countries of Western Europe, except Spain. Forty years later, during the terrible persecutions of 1391, promoted by the fanaticism of St. Vincent Ferrer, the majority of the Jews of the Iberian Peninsula became forcibly converted to Christianity, but yet retained their adhesion to their ancestral faith secretly, mostly marrying among themselves, and were marked out as "new Christians" or, in popular parlance, Marranos.
For reasons not quite clear, the Jews of Spain had preserved their monopoly of money-lending, up to the fateful date 1391, without any interference from the "papal usurers," as in the west of