2. Money and work attitude-study
PROTESTANT ETHIC, CAPITALISM,
is now available on Protestant Ethic-page.
2. Two types of
3. The outlook on life by the time
4. Martin Luther-Part 1.(early life)
Part 2.(personality, role)
Part 3.( contribution to reformation,
literacy, the role of women)
5. Protestant values
Part 1: Worldly asceticism, money and work values
A Protestant tradesman
All the chapters can be read on Protestant Ethic-page.
The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1930) by the German philosopher
and social scientist Max Weber, was originally published in 1904-1905.
It became one of the most famous (and debated)
works published in Social Sciences.
Since the publishing of the work most social scientists (as well as other people) recognize the
concept of protestant ethic.
the book Weber aimed to show that there was a causal link between the origin of modern capitalism and the protestant ethic
in the sense that protestant ethic provided modern capitalism with the spirit it needed. In other words, Weber
did not claim that Protestantism was behind capitalism. Neither did he claim that there was no capitalism before Protestantism...
The focus of this set of articles is also on some aspects
neglected by Weber. These are especially related to the relevance of Martin Luther.
Today we are trying to
figure out in what kind of world we would like to live in, and what kind of capitalism would be desirable. Weber’s definition
may help us in this task.
Another focus will be on the Protestant ethic, which has influenced our contemporary
We (at least in the Northern Europe and Northern America) have inherited many beliefs from the
original protestant ethic, whether or not we are aware of this influence.
We have inherited many
beliefs about the value of work, about the way we live our lives, how we think other people should live their lives, from
Finally, the focus will be on psychological, empirical research on protestant (work) ethic and
Read the whole set of articles on protestant Ethic-page (it is a password
To the top of page
Money and work
In an international
study several scales measuring attitudes to money and work were studied across 43 countries
The psychological attitude-measures were related to the economic growth (1970-1985) and per capita income (1985) of each
country both in developing and developed countries. Thus, the study offers an interesting comparison point to our current
world suffering of recession.
The following attitude scales were used in the study (for more detailed
information about the scales, read the book):
Work Ethic-Scale, a short version of the original
scale based on Weber’s idea of Protestant work ethic as the engine behind the rise of capitalism.
Motivation Scale, based on McClelland’s idea of the achieving society.
based on Shumpeter’s conviction that competitiveness increases work effort.
Conformity-Scale, based on White’s idea of the ‘organisation man’ who identifies with the team’s
Mastery-scale, conceptually similar
to Achievement Motivation.
Valuation of Money-scale, a short version
of the (obsession with money) scale which is a part of Furnham’s Money beliefs scales.
to Saving-Scale, measures to what extent people believe in saving and do save money for the future.
In addition to these scales occupational preferences for Teacher, Doctor, Company
Director, Social Worker, Country Landowner and Farmer, and Small Business
Owner were studied.
relationship between the psychological measures and Economic Growth were studied separately and in a multiple regression analysis
(since some of the scales had high, positive intercorrelations).
showed to be the key factor across the countries regardless of the used method.
a separate measure Competitiveness had a (statistically significant) strong positive link to Economic growth in the total
sample and in Developing and Developed countries separately. Relationship to Per capita Income was negative and significant
in the total sample.
As a separate measure Valuation of Money (obsession with
money) had a statistically significant positive link to Economic growth in the total sample as well as in Developed countries.
Relationship to Per capita Income was statistically significant and negative both in the total sample and in Developed and
Developing countries separately.
Of the other scales only Attitudes to Saving-scale was positively
linked with Economic Growth in Developed countries but not in Developing countries.
Of the Occupational preferences
none had a significant link to Economic growth in the total sample, but Doctor and Landowner had a statistically significant
negative link to Economic Growth in Developing countries whereas Company Director had a statistically significant positive
link to Economic Growth (and negative to Per capita Income) in Developed countries but not in Developing countries.
In the Multiple regression analysis Competitiveness once again was clearly the most
important measure of Economic growth in the total sample (when the influence of other measures was controlled).
However, some differences appeared when Developed and Developing countries were studied separately. In Developed countries
the Valuation of Money-scale had the highest coefficient, followed by Achievement via Confirmity, Competitiveness, and Work
Ethic, in that order.
In Developing countries Competitiveness had the highest coefficient, followed by Achievement
The psychological measures explained 40 % of the variance
in economic growth rates in this study.
Thus, with the exception
of Competitiveness, none of the other measures offered a ‘global solution’ to economic growth.
Moreover, there were no ‘global’ or ‘universal’ gender differences. However,
there was a general tendency for men to score higher (not in all but in some countries the difference was statistically significant)
on Competitiveness, Valuation of Money, and Attitudes to Saving, whereas women tended to score higher on Work Ethic and Achievement
Interestingly, many of the psychological measures having a positive effect on economic growth,
tended to be negatively related to Per capita Income. When the Per capita Income increases, people are less interested
in saving, and so on.
But perhaps the most surprising finding was that the psychological measure of Valuation of Money
was related to Economic growth in Developed countries and not in Developing countries as one might easily have assumed.
Personally, it makes me feel a bit uneasy to think of Valuation of Money having such an
important role in the Developed countries ('I would do practically anything legal for money if it were enough'), especially
with the thought of the financial scandals of recent decades!
R. Lynn (Ed.) (1991). The Secret of the Miracle Economy.
Different national attitudes to competitiveness and money. Crowley Esmonde.
Ekehammar, B. , & Niemenmaa, P.
(1993). Attitudes to work and money: analyses of various scales applied to a Swedish sample. Reports from the Department of
Psychology, No. 781. Stockholm University.
to the top of page
How do you use money?
Are you a
to your children?
Cultural values may change over time but they influence the way we relate to money. Within
a culture parents and parenting styles in turn influence the way children relate to money.
A. The parents of today think
that they teach their children more about money than they themselves learned from their own parents.
The most popular methods parents use to teach children about money are Piggy Bank, Pocket money, Own bank account, and Money
In the early years a child does not
understand that coins have different values. In the early years a child does not understand where money comes from (money comes from father’s
or mother’s pocket).
Don’t count on that your children understand that they have to pay for products they pick
from the supermarket shelves!
Parents may teach their children about money but use money in a way that contradicts the teachings!Some parents do not teach about
money at all.
Children learn both by listening to what parents tell them and by observing
the behaviour of parents. Thus, a child may imitate the behaviour of a parent rather than follow the advice offered by a parent.
We may use money to reward or punish another person, be it an adult or a child.
We may use money to buy love,
by offering gifts when it pleases us.
We may offer gifts but remind the child of how expensive the gift is or how we really couldn’t
afford to buy it.
Before teaching your child about money, take a moment to
reflect upon your own money attitudes and behaviour.
How did your own
parents use money? Are you using money in the same manner as they did?
to the top of page
What is just treatment?
What is just treatment? This is a question relevant in many areas of life; it is
relevant to those who are applying for a loan or for funding, applying for a job, or applying for a benefit...
And it is equally relevant to those whose task it is to judge who should be given a loan or funding, a job, or a benefit.
Here are some definitions of just treatment:
To each the same thing
This means that all people (or all events) must be treated equally without regard to any of their distinguishing
particularities. If we assume that all human beings are similar or identical, and that all the actions take place in
similar circumstances, we might rely on this principle. However, as discussed in Part I, human beings are not identical and
actions take place in particular circumstances.
The principle is intuitively appealing since we tend to think
of just treatment in general terms. But as soon as we think of particular situations where we are supposed to treat people
in the same way, we may notice that we would like to make exceptions to the rule in some cases. This principle remains
an ideal but demands specification in action situations.
To each according to his or her needs
principle is applied to charitable work, the charity worker has to make a judgment of what the needs of each individual he
or she is encountering are. Thus, the charity worker will notice that the needs of one person are different from those of
When applied to society, the needs cannot be defined individually since a state or government can only
take into account the needs that are common to a large number of people. Usually, only the basic or minimum needs can be defined.
This applies to protection of labour, insurance against illness, unemployment, child benefit, and so on, and it can be based
on age or the number of household members, or any other numerical value.
There are various needs and often they
must be organised hierarchically. The importance of some essential needs may always be questioned, and the hierarchical order
between them changed.
Many of the essential needs in society are currently questioned in Western European countries.
For example, it is questioned whether child benefit should be universal (available to all families) or only available
to those families who need it. This in turn demands that we define what characterizes families who need child benefit
and who do not need it. The question is more complex than one would like to think.
Various other needs and their
relationship to society are discussed today as well. For example, to what extent do we need Universities? Some prefer
to limit this discussion to the question of who pays for the costs of higher education. Others would like to debate the need
of well-educated people in a modern complex society.
To what extent should we invest in inventions that
may or may not show to be of great value to society sometimes in the future. To what extent should we invest in inventions
that are needed mainly by small groups in society who do not have high ‘purchasing power’.
To each according to his
or her merits
This principle is often applied to selecting and ranking of candidates for
an appointment. It demands that we define what the merit or merits should be. Even if two persons were in the possession of
the same merit(s), they must possess it to the same degree in order to be equal.
Often several merits are involved
and they must be ordered hierarchically. Merits ranked at the top of the hierarchy are given more value than other merits.
Merits can also be used as measures of rewards, where higher merit corresponds to higher rewards. This applies both
to salaries and to bonuses.
Finally, when both rewards and punishments are involved, not only merits but also
demerits must be taken into account.
To each according to his or her legal entitlements
This principle is quite naturally related
to the legal system of a country. A judge must apply the laws of the country. It is a ‘static justice’, since
it aims at maintaining established order. However, there is also a ‘dynamic justice’ meaning that change may take
place in the legislation when changes take place in the political scene of a country and its moral values.
entitlements apply also to business world and to inventions. New ideas and products have to be protected, and agreements signed
of the ownership or copyright as soon as several persons or groups are involved.
each according to his or her rank or origin
This principle refers to the rank, class,
ethnicity, or category an individual belongs, not to any criteria or merit intrinsic to the individual. Members belonging
to different ranks should be treated differently, whereas members of the same rank should be treated equally.
used be a common principle some hundreds of years ago when status went by birth, but it applies to the world of today as well.
In every society there are elites and superior classes (within different areas of society) with power and force at their disposal.
However, societies usually impose greater responsibilities and burdens of duty on their elites.
If the rights
of the elites do not coincide with special responsibilities, the system will degenerate into a system of calculated favouritism,
into an ‘old boy network’.
Politicians and their actions have been scrutinized and criticized during
the recent years when the transparency principle has been put into practice. Transparency principle applies to public sector
but not to private sector activities. Other criticized elites involve investment bankers and corporate leaders. Academics
and other well-established groups too are often criticized for using Old boy network’, which is said to prevent social
each according to his or her works
This principle mainly applies to fixed wages, to duration of
work, to output and quality of work and products. Only essential characteristics that can be measured or weighted are taken
into account. This is also the principle behind the pricing of commercial serial products.
However, as soon as
a task demands specific talents, the common measure breaks down. The intrinsic qualities of the work itself must be
taken into account, and the qualities compared only with similar works. Thus, we cannot fix a value to a piece of art, or
compare pictures with works of literature, or symphonies with works of architecture.
Scientific products are hard
to compare as well. A theoretical work within Social Sciences should not be compared with applied technological work.
What is your favourite principle of just treatment?
areas of life and society would you apply the above mentioned principles of just treatment?
are interested in learning more about the issue might consider the following advanced reading : Perelman, Chaim, (1980). Justice,
Law, and Argument. Essays on Moral and Legal Reasoning. D. Reidel Publishing Company.The late Professor Perelman had his professorship
in Philosophy at the Universite Libre de Bruxelles, Belgique.
To the top of page