Is Capitalism bad for you?
Picture yourself as a laborer in a field picking turnips.
You are compelled to increase production.
Perhaps you are worried about keeping your job.
Perhaps you are worried that other people are working harder than you.
The important thing is this: you have to pick more turnips.
You can’t stop now… no matter what.
Where might this anxiety come from?
For sociologist Karl Emil Maximilian “Max” Weber,
modern Capitalism differs from Marx’s theory
Workers are not simply alienated.
They are subject to a process that strips them of their very humanity.
For Weber Capitalism is an iron cage
that exposes workers to incapacitating anxiety.
All for the accumulation of profit.
Written in 1904, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism
is Weber’s attempt to explicate the ways that
American style Capitalism grew from a specific set of beliefs,
You see, the protestant ethic is a calling to work
a way of showing glory to god.
The Calvinist is not just called to work
they are pressured via the fear of eternal damnation.
And this has to cause some serious angst.
Beset by the expectations of a boss,
working to finish a deadline,
aching to make ends meet,
struggling for everyday salvation,
Capitalism creates anxiety in its own right.
Calvinists believed in predestination,
or the idea that very few people are selected by God
to gain admittance to the golden gates of heaven,
while the majority of the world is condemned to hell. Forever.
In order to ensure salvation
the Calvinist worked tirelessly, endlessly,
without lavish possessions,
for their very salvation was at stake.
They showed their neighbors
they were chosen through disciplined work and practice.
Living with the pressures of Calvanism in a Capitalist society
makes it difficult to get up each morning
and make the morning commute.
With modern Capitalism there is a similar parallel:
Work hard and you will be rewarded.
It is the mantra of “picking yourself up by your bootstraps.”
With Calvinism, Capitalism found the perfect worker.
Protestantism’s dedication to a calling,
to the need to work for the glory of God,
created an environment
that paved the way for a work force eager for eternal reward.
Over time the sacred practices of Calvinsim:
努力工作 自制 具体的日常实践
hard work, self-restraint, specific routine practices,
efficiency, lack of idleness—
all became the defining traits of a western work ethic.
It’s the reason why Americans
tend to work long hours, take fewer vacations,
have short lunch breaks, and reserve Sunday for rest.
It is the secular expectations of a work force
founded on religious principles.
If ghosts are the remnants of past entities,
Protestantism haunts modern Capitalism
We are left with the echoes of religious anxiety
over the fear of damnation.
Well beloved viewer,
if “God helps those that help themselves”
who does modern Capitalism help?