Intense Competition around the Entrants Price

The fact that competition was intense around entry price is demonstrable through a study of the geographic and spatial dimensions of religious competition in the sixteenth century. The kind of competition that concerns us is competition between Catholicism and the newly emergent Protestant religion(s). We recognize that competition within Catholicism, mainly in the Balkans, between the Roman Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church, existed for eight hundred years, but that is a separate issue from the one under examination here. With regard to rivalry between Catholicism and Protestantism, competition was more vigorous in contiguous areas where a Catholic region abutted a Protestant one. Religious competition was demonstrably more intense in Catholic Belgium (which borders Protestant Germany) than in Catholic Spain (which borders Catholic France or Catholic Portugal). Certain economic markets are not easily constrained by geographic boundaries. Hence, when Protestant countries eliminated usury prohibitions, interest rates in contiguous Catholic countries necessarily adjusted to the competitive market level.

In sixteenth-century Europe, practical boundaries were created by landscape rather than borders; where physical barriers were absent, people moved between different jurisdictions with considerable freedom. Boundaries in the contemporary sense were virtually nonexistent. With regard to France and Holland, for example, historian Andrew Pettegree noted: "Until the treaties of Madrid (1526) and Cambrai (1529) it was impossible to speak of a frontier between France and the Netherlands in any sense we would recognize. Fifty years later during the Wars of Religion citizens of both lands would continue to exploit the lack of controls or border markings to take themselves beyond the reach of trouble almost at will. In eastern and central Europe geographical borders between states were even more uncertain.''9 This geo-political reality could only serve to intensify the kind of competition for souls that the Reformation stimulated.

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