Ethics and Capitalism

The Western form of capitalism and the shift of societal values towards rationality can be explained by the changes that have been experienced in religion as an institution. The renaissance which happened between the fourteenth and sixteenth century led to Protestant Reformation which is associated with Puritanism. Puritanism holds on the belief of ‘calling’ which means that human beings are called to engage in activities that glorify God with the promise of eternal rest in the next life. The need to work hard and gain more wealth explains why people in the modern ages spend more time working and less time playing (Weber 507). In Puritanism, there is no room for idleness or waste of time in such things as luxury, socializing or idle talk. I agree with the author that work and our duty to God is one thing in the contemporary world. We work to praise God and fulfill our purpose on earth. One of St. Paul’s letters in the Bible says that a person who does not work should not eat meaning that God detests lazy people. Besides, the rich people in the society are considered blessed in which God has rewarded the work of their hands (Weber 508).

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The difference between a catholic and a protestant is evident in the way they perceive salvation and the afterlife. In Catholicism, a person is assured of salvation by following the traditions of the Roman Catholic such as sacraments and submission to the clerical authority. However, the Protestants do not believe in such assurances and believe that the only way they can be assured of salvation is by following the teachings of the Bible. Finally, the modern capitalism needs religion to thrive. Protestantism supports worldly or secular activities which are dedicated to economic gains (Weber 510). To them, such activities are ethical and have spiritual significance. People believe that God is the owner of everything and we are only trustees.

 

Works Cited

Weber, Max. The Protestant ethic and the” spirit” of capitalism and other writings. Penguin, 2002.