Tags: Religion | christian | capitalism | protestant | influence | america

Christian Thought: 3 Ways Protestantism Influenced American Capitalism

By    |   Monday, 14 Dec 2015 09:33 AM

Though the Protestant Reformation didn't directly cause the emergence of capitalism, it did influence its development in the Western world.

Capitalism draws its roots from earlier phenomena, including the rise of the merchant class in the Middle Ages, the development of banking, and proto-corporations known as joint-stock companies, according to Historyworld.

When the Puritans came to America, they brought the Protestant work ethic with them.

The following are three ways in which Protestantism influenced American capitalism.

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1. The Role of Reason

Religions in China, India, and the Middle East emphasized asceticism and criticized profits; in Europe, however, Christianity emphasized the role of reason in faith.

According to the Independent Institute
, this facet of Christianity, although emphasized during the Protestant Revolution, had been a key trait for centuries.

2. The Rise of the Individual

Martin Luther's doctine of the priesthood of all believers emphasized the spirituality of the individual, no matter their position in society.

In particular, his idea of a "calling" gave permission for believers to engage more fully in secular life and enobled them to find the spirituality in their own work.

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The Protestant Reformation and capitalism grew out of similar conditions and influenced one another.

3. The Protestant Work Ethic

Influential sociologist Max Weber argued in his 1905 book, "The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism," that Protestantism provided people with the morality to restrain material consumption while simultaneously seeking wealth, according to the Independent Institute.

Weber cited this Protestant work ethic as a direct cause of capitalism; however, the Independent Institute says Weber's idea was wrong. Capitalism was rooted in earlier history.

Still, Protestantism greatly influenced the rise of capitalism, firstly in Europe and then America.

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Though the Protestant Reformation didn't directly cause the emergence of capitalism, it did influence its development in the Western world.
christian, capitalism, protestant, influence, america
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2015-33-14
Monday, 14 Dec 2015 09:33 AM
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