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Weber Revisited: Critical Perspectives from Calvinism on Capitalism in Economic Crisis

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses the connection between Calvinism and capitalism. The link between capitalism and Calvinism was of course a central theme in Max Weber's famous thesis. The author is interested in the critical perspectives on capitalism that can be derived from Calvinism and discusses the principles with regard to labor, consumption, property and lending derived from Calvin writings. Together these economic activities create the capitalist virtuous cycle of economic growth: by laboring one is able to earn an income, by consuming one can sustain labor, but by consuming only part of income, one can also save and accumulate property, and this in turn can be used to invest, raise productivity and increase income by interest. The chapter also shows how these principles help us to understand what went wrong in the credit crisis.

Keywords: calvinism; capitalism; capitalistic economic system; credit crisis; Max Weber



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