How did capitalism originate? ‘Where did capitalism come from?’ argues that although capitalist production made its first fully developed appearance in Britain, key capitalist institutions actually emerged elsewhere in Europe. Indeed, capital, labour, and entrepreneurs moved within a European network. Why did capitalism emerge first in Europe? Independent cities, a multi-state structure, and the Protestant ethic provided a favourable socio-economic environment within which capitalism could develop. The other side of this question is to ask why capitalism did not originate elsewhere. In other advanced civilizations cohesive elites were able to use bureaucratic rather than economic means of scooping off the surplus from producers but in Europe this was not possible after the collapse of the Roman empire.