Economics & Sociology

ISSN: 2071-789X eISSN: 2306-3459 DOI: 10.14254/2071-789X
Index PUBMS: f5512f57-a601-11e7-8f0e-080027f4daa0
Article information
Title: Has Capitalism Lost its Puritan Spirit? What do Recent WVS Data Say about Religiosity and Work Values?
Issue: Vol. 10, No 2, 2017
Published date: 06-2017 (print) / 06-2017 (online)
Journal: Economics & Sociology
ISSN: 2071-789X, eISSN: 2306-3459
Authors: Veysel Bozkurt
Istanbul University

Birol Yesilada
Portland State University
Keywords: post-industrial capitalism, religiosity, work values, protestant ethic
DOI: 10.14254/2071-789X.2017/10-2/9
Index PUBMS: 54b4d9ea-004d-11e8-94c4-fa163e5d4f72
Language: English
Pages: 125-139 (15)
JEL classification: A13

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 sprit has not totally disappeared from the world but has migrated to newly industrializing societies.


1. Adorno, T. & Horkheimer, M. (1997). Dialectic of enlightenment. London: Verso.

2. Bauman, Z. (1987). Legislators and interpreters: On modernity, post-modernity and intellectuals, Cambridge: Polity.

3. Bauman, Z. (1997). Postmodernity and its discontents, Cambridge: Polity Press.

4. Bauman, Z. (1999). Work, consumerism and the new poor, UK: Open University Press.

5. Bell, D. (1973). The Coming of post-industrial society, A venture in social forecasting. New York: Basic Books, Inc., Publisher.

6. Bell, D. (1996). The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism. New York: Basic Books.

7. Berger, P. (2008). Faith and Development. Society, 46(1), 69-75.

8. Berger, P. L. (2010). Max Weber is alive and well, and living in Guatemala: the protestant ethic today. The Review of Faith & International Affairs, 8(4), 3-9.

9. Berger, P. & Zijderveld, A. (2009). In Praise of doubt: How to have convictions without becoming a fanatic? Harper Collins.

10. Bozkurt, V., Bayram, N., Furnham, A., & Dawes, G. (2010). The protestant work ethic and hedonism among Kyrgyz, Turkish and Australian college students. Drustvena Istrazivanja: Journal for General Social Issues, 19(4-5), 749-769.

11. Bozkurt, V. (2000). Puritanizmden hedonizme yeni çalisma etigi, Bursa: Alesta.

12. Bruce, S. (2010). Secularization. The new blackwell companion to the sociology of religion, 123-140.

13. Carroll, J. (1977). Puritan, paranoid, remissive: A sociology of modern culture. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

14. Casanova, J. (1994). Public religions in the modern world. The University of Chicago Press.

15. Casanova, J. (2007). Rethinking secularization: A global comparative perspective. In Religion, globalization, and culture (pp. 101-120). Brill.

16. Ciulla, J. B. (2011). The working life: The promise and betrayal of modern work. Random House Digital, Inc.

17. Clegg, S. (2009). Foundations of Organization Power. Journal of Power, 2(1), 35-64.

18. Dawes, G. & Bozkurt, V. (2010). The Changing world of work and youth: A comparative research of Australian and Turkish university students’ perceptions about the changing world of work. World Applied Sciences Journal, 9(12), 1343-1349.

19. Di Maggio, P. (1994). Culture and economy. In The Handbook of Economic Sociology. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

20. Florida, R. (2012). The Rise of the creative class: And how it’s transforming work, leisure, community and everyday life. Revisited edition, New York: Perseus Book Group.

21. Freud, S. (1920). Beyond the pleasure principle, The standard edition of the complete psychological works of Sigmund Freud, Volume XVIII, and London: Penguin.

22. Furnham, A., (1990). The Protestant work ethic: The psychology of work-related beliefs and behaviours. London: Routledge.

23. Grint, K. (1998). The Sociology of work. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.

24. Inglehart, R. (1997). Modernization and postmodernization: Cultural, economic, and political change in 43 societies. Princeton University Press.

25. Inglehart, R. (2000). Globalization and postmodern values, The Washington Quarterly, 23(1), 215-228.

26. Inglehart, R. & Norris, P. (1997). Sacred and secular: Religion and politics worldwide. Cambridge University Press.

27. Inglehart and R. & Baker, W. E. (2000). Modernization, cultural change, and the persistence of traditional values. American Sociological Review, Feb 2000, 65, 19-51.

28. Kaplan, H. R. (1979). The Convergence of work, sport, and gambling in America. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 445, 24.

29. Lafargue, P. (1907). Right to be Lazy. Translated by Charles H. Kerr, Chicago.

30. Lasch, C. (1979). The Culture of narcissism: American life in an age of diminishing expectations. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

31. McGraw, B. (2007). Life in the ruins of Detroit. History Workshop Journal, 63, Spring, 288-302.

32. Mirels, H. and Garrett, J. (1971). Protestant ethic as a personality variable. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 36, 40-44.

33. Polanyi, K. (1957). The Great transformation. Beacon Press.

34. Sennett, R. (1998). The Corrosion of character: The personal consequences of work in the new capitalism. W.W. Norton & Company.

35. Sennett, R. (2006). The Culture of the new capitalism. New Haven: Yale University Press.

36. Smith, G. (2008). A short history of secularism, London: I. B.Tauris.

37. Standing, G. (1997). Globalization, labour flexibility and insecurity: the era of market regulation. European Journal of Industrial Relations, 3(1), 7-37.

38. Toffler, A. (1989). The third wave. Bantam edition, William Morrow & Co., Inc.

39. Turkle, S. (1995) Life on the screen: Identity in the age of the internet. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson.

40. Weber, M. (1956). The Sociology of religion. Forth Edition. Boston: Beacon Press.

41. Weber, M. (1971). The protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism. London: Unwin University Books.

42. Weber, M. (1977). From Max Weber: Essays in sociology. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

43. Yesilada, B., Noordijk, P. and Webster, C. (2009). Religiosity and social values of the Cypriots. Social Compass, 56, 15.