Studentsov Victor
Puritans’ Economy: Solidarity Versus Profit-Seeking
Publication Type:

ISSN 2073-6517

The article discusses the Puritans’ economic views and practices. Central to their economic ethics was the concept of calling. In dealing with it as well as in a treatment of wealth, the Puritans stressed that economic activity should be focused on  the  promotion  of  common  good.  Self-interest  was  censured  but  wealth  was  considered  to  be  ethically  neutral  able  to  promote private interest as well as common good. The Puritans’ economic ethic had found its most full application in the seventeenth century New England where a creation of the genuine Christian society was conceived. There was established a semblance of theocracy that bound residents together in addition to adherence to Calvinism by a pursuit to implement the Biblical principles of life, providentialism, a series of covenants, mutual church surveillance and discipline. The Puritans fought idleness, tried to foster callings by promoting education. Being champions of the private property and initiative, they did not interfere without special need in the process of price and incomes formation, but stimulated production. They sought to moderate profit-seeking for the sake of common good promotion. However, the rational method of life of the puritans noted by M. Weber is not sufficient to claim that they were the full-blooded forerunners of a contemporary economic man.

Keywords: economic ethics | puritans | calling | wealth | profit-seeking | common good | economic policy | ethical (communal) capitalism | homo economicus |

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