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Jonathan Klemens 's ' The Protestant Work Ethic : Just Another ' Urban Legend?

Decent Essays
Jonathan Klemens 's in his essay “The Protestant Work Ethic: Just Another 'Urban Legend?” claims that the American work ethic, despite many saying otherwise, is still deeply rooted in American society. He states that this work ethic is personified in the persons who find their work both personally enjoying and a service to society. In other words, people who have found their passion. He goes on to explain that this dedication to hard work is exemplified by the existence of societies such as the Amish, Shakers, Mennonites, and the Hutterites. He attributes the existence of this work ethic in such an entitlement based society to the translation of The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism in the 1930s. He attributes the book, written by Max Weber, to starting America’s love affair with the work ethic. This work ethic, he claims, led to the dominance of American enterprise and world leadership. He ties the origins of this work ethic to the various Protestant denominations that emphasize diligent and dedicated hard work. More specifically, he emphasizes the Methodist and Presbyterian ministers who, every Sunday, would extoll the virtues of the work ethic to their flock. These virtues, he explains, are: a focus on work, unpretentious and modest behavior, and a strong moral code.

The American work ethic, he claims, has made a large free labor force, which in turn has made capitalism a very powerful force in our society. The post World War II surge in patriotism and
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