The Protestant Ethic And The Spirit Of Capitalism Summary

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Introduction In ‘The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism’. Max Weber argues that capitalism in Northern Europe evolved when the Protestant ethic influenced individuals to engage in work in the secular work, developing enterprises, engaging in trade and accumulate wealth for investment. Weber argues that one’s religious belief is a contributing factor to one’s economic behaviour. (Weber, 1958) This essay is inspired from Weber’s above mentioned work, which I would explore the possibility of the Chinese religious practice of burning paper offerings for the gods, ancestors and spirits having an influence on its practitioners’ economic behaviour. There are several studies done on the origins of the practice of burning paper offerings. One such study was from Dard Hunter, who found that paper cut into coin shapes being burned to the spirits had its origins from 221 ADE to 420 ADE, while imitations of real paper money appeared during the Tang Dynasty. (Hunter, 1937) People burn paper offerings to gods to give thanks and ask for assistance in times of need and to the ancestors and the departed relatives to express love and devotion. Items for ancestors are intended to provide the …show more content…

However, Foo, a Chinese national notes that offerings are based on customs of the province. He mentioned that practitioners in villages in China would burn paper oxen as it is part of a custom. Lin, another Chinese national observed that the practice of burning joss paper is practiced more flamboyantly in Singapore than in China. Although there is much to be explored, initial findings found that different customs and values would lead to different variations of offerings. As such, materialistic values and consumerism which Singaporeans are known for (Chua, 2003) could account for the differences in practice of the burning paper offerings in Singapore and in

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