Self-reliance. Can-do attitude. Personal responsibility. Where did this thought originate? These descriptions of basically the same mind set are found in Western Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. How so? Its roots in these countries is traced to the Reformation, in particular, Calvinist teachings. Calvinism taught that accumulation of wealth was not a sin as was the prevailing attitude of the Roman Catholic Church. Hard work, thrift and accumulating wealth to bestow upon heirs became a religious teaching.
The suggested reading for this essay is The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1905) by Max Weber. Calvinist precepts raising the importance of work to a religious duty encouraged the further development of capitalism. Weber’s argument is the inspiration for this essay.