Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Reformation Redux and today's Eurozone troubles


Think about what you know of the earth shaking Reformation struggles of centuries past, and then study this chart:
Reformation and Rates?

This delightful quote summarizes the articles main thrust:

One German commentator, Stephan Richter, has suggested mischievously that the eurozone's problems would have been prevented if only Luther had been one of the negotiators of the Maastricht treaty, deciding which countries could join the euro.  
"'Read my lips: No unreformed Catholic countries,' he would have chanted. The euro, as a result, would have been far more cohesive," says Richter.

Now switch to the provocative  and brilliant Niall Ferguson and read his delightful work, Civilization. This is one extract:

When Weber returned to his study in Heidelburg he wrote the second part of his seminal two-part essay, 'The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism'. It contains one of the most influential of all arguments about Western civilization: that its economic dynamism was an unintended consequence of the Protestant Reformation. 

Whereas other religions associated holiness with the renunciation of worldly things – monks in cloisters, hermits in caves – the Protestant sects saw industry and thrift as expressions of a new kind of hard-working godliness. The capitalist 'calling' was, in other words, relgious in origin ... '[Thus] Christian ascetism ... strode into the market-place of life.'

History has a long tail of consequences, eh?

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