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Source: Lolame

 

What is the Protestant Ethic? 

 

The Protestant Ethic (otherwise known as the Protestant Work Ethic) is a theory which attributes hard work and discipline to an individual following Protestant Christianity. The sociologist Max Weber published a book The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. Arguing, the Protestant Ethic was the main factor in the economic success of certain Protestant groups (e.g. Calvinists) experienced during the early stages of European Capitalism. The theory remains controversial and to gain the best grounding, it’s recommended to read the book. Then you can truly answer whether you think the argument is convincing.

 

Is Weber’s argument convincing?

 

No. There is little to no empirical research in his work, so it is just another case of establishing a correlation without much to back it up. But it is an interesting form of sociological philosophy since the way of thinking and acting he described is alive today in the way many people develop their work ethic. It is interesting, and it can inspire interesting scientific studies. It is just not scientific at all by itself.

gibsanchez

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He was certainly onto something but I consider it one of many, many factors.

V_Niloticus

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The theory was a great early foundation for thinking about how social systems are reinforced, built upon and spread out, based on shared values within those societies. Weber didn’t and couldn’t have possibly had all of the answers, but there’s a reason why he’s taught in intro classes. From what I remember, materialism and leisure were pretty much frowned upon. There was no guarantee of heaven after death (not that this question was ever settled, that’s not the point), but one could have at least tried to stay in God’s good graces and increased their odds by saving their earnings, investing them, not spending frivolously, and working their asses off. The idea was that this created an effect that propagated capital accumulation as a virtue. A good capitalist was not only viewed as a virtuous human being but was also seen as more likely to go to heaven because they used their life/time here wisely and in the way that God wanted them to. This is a super oversimplification of part of what my professor explained years ago, and again, no 1 theorist or theory is ever all-encompassing in terms of explaining any aspect of any social phenomena. The idea is to learn about as many theories as possible and to continue to build on their observations as we stand on the shoulders of giants, or however that phrase goes. It’s just 1 of many lenses through which to see things.

 

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I connect it more to the development of republican government in the colonies than capitalism.

JoshuaTPeterson

 

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