Friday, March 18, 2011

Work Ethic

A short one:

The Protestant work ethic is frequently held up as the core of America's productivity. Work hard, don't complain, never ask for or expect anything for yourself, and feel bad if you fall short of expectations, whether internally or externally applied.

This is what makes a good Protestant. It is also what makes a good worker.

It is also what makes a good slave.

Was this Protestant ethic the beginning of our modern version of feudal society? If we're not there already, we're quickly moving towards that point. Strong inequalities between the "upper" and "lower" classes, educational and cultural divides, and financial systems that keep the less-well-to-do indebted to their corporate masters.

If so, is this a case of a system turning on itself, with hypocritical or oblivious Protestants profiting from their fellows, or a case of religious exploitation where another group came in and took advantage of the Protestants' hard-working nature?

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