Monday, July 10, 2017

Peter Feuerherd — John Calvin: The Religious Reformer Who Influenced Capitalism

Short backgrounder.

Why is this significant? At the time that capitalism was rising in Europe, religion was the dominant cultural and institutional influence. Capitalism needed religion's blessing and Calvin played an important role in this.

In The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Max Weber argued for Calvin's key role, but some contemporary scholars view this perspective as somewhat exaggerating Calvin's role. 

The fundamental difference at the time of Weber was over Marx' view of capitalism as based on a shift of the primary mode of production that determines economic infrastructure and Weber's sociological view that emphasized the role of culture and institutions, especially the role of religion as a cultural and institutional phenomenon.

John Calvin: The Religious Reformer Who Influenced Capitalism
Peter Feuerherd | professor of journalism at St. John's University in New York


Kaivey said...
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Kaivey said...

I read an excellent article on this once. Calvin was puritan who believed God had chosen at birth who would go to heaven. His disciples asked how would they know that they had been chosen, and he said, well, if you are successful in life then you are chosen.

Being puritans they worked hard at their businesses and as they didn't believe in showing off wealth or living in luxury they reinvested all their profits back into their businesses. Their businesses grew and the protestant work ethic came into being. This was the beginning of capitalism.

Also, Carl Jung said that Christianity made people more honest and so people could trust leaving their money in banks or investing it in businesses. The Quakers were very successful businessmen because of this. So the west became capitalist and societies grew and modern civilizations came into being.

djrichard said...

"The people must always be kept in poverty in order that they may remain obedient." -- Calvin

Zarlenga has some good treatment on Calvinism in the world's monetary history in Lost_Science_of_Money.

Matt Franko said...

"Calvin was puritan who believed God had chosen at birth who would go to heaven."

Please... c'mon..

Kaivey said...

I read it in one of my books years ago. I've got hundreds of books and sold a lot. F*ck knows if I'll ever find out now.

Matt Franko said...

Kaivey you can just read Paul's letters today who needs quacks like Calvin anymore? Who cares what dogmas Calvin came up with?