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Economics and Sociology

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Social capital (Sociology), Religion & sociology


This paper tests the arguments of social theorists about the changing spirit of capitalism in countries with different levels of economic development using the recent World Values Survey (WVS). Max Weber claimed that the Protestant Ethic was the spirit of capitalism for salvation and improved economic development in Europe. During the last 40 years, sociologists, such as Bell and Bauman, have claimed that capitalism has started to lose its puritan spirit and a new secular/hedonist personality type has emerged as the new characteristic of post-industrial/ consumer capitalism. The data show that religiosity and work values decline but leisure and self-expression values increase in knowledge economy-based post-industrial societies and late consumer capitalism has a new spirit which is the polar opposite of the Protestant ethic. However, the puritan spirit has not totally disappeared from the world but has migrated to newly industrializing societies.




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