The Protestant Ethic

“A person’s duty is to achieve success through hard work and thrift, such success being a sign that one is saved.” -Max Weber

According to Weber, “protestant ethic” is the view that an individual must work hard and put a lot of effort into what they are doing in order to be ‘saved’. Weber argued that Calvinism encouraged a different outlook on how to be a great worker than what was known to those people in the past. In fact, he says that Calvinists believe that there were only a certain amount of spots in Heaven, and that they must do everything in their power to “reserve” those spots. This comes to my earlier definition of the protestant ethic: these people were always on the lookout for different signs that show that they have been saved, or assured that they will have a space in heaven. I find this to be very interesting because while they were too busy looking for signs, they didn’t realize that they were constantly contributing to their society and community.


Weber also argues that the act of being around your community and working hard for what you achieve contributes to the beginning of capitalism. Although this is true, that is not the only reason that working hard for your community can give back. This also is very important for creating a culture of innovation. If I am using Steve Jobs as an example, his inventions and ideas not only helped the rest of the community, but it also helped all of the others who had around the same ideas as him to become great at what they do. I think that when Weber argues that being great at what you do he takes into consideration the amount that it can help the overall community. When Jobs came out with the first Apple product years ago, he made an impact on the entire world. Apple is now the largest company worldwide to have ever put out so many electronics and have been successful in doing so.

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