I was checking The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism book by Weber few days ago. I first checked it years ago when I was reading The Hacker Ethic and the Spirit of the Information Age, a book by Pekka Himanen which build on Weber’s ideas to show how the Web and Internet and Information and software have changed how (some of) us think about work. Very interesting book.
However in the Wikipedia page for The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism I found a quote by Benjamin Franklin cited by Weber.
Remember, that time is money. He that can earn ten shillings a day by his labor, and goes abroad, or sits idle, one half of that day, though he spends but sixpence during his diversion or idleness, ought not to reckon that the only expense; he has really spent, or rather thrown away, five shillings besides. […] Remember, that money is the prolific, generating nature. Money can beget money, and its offspring can beget more, and so on. Five shillings turned is six, turned again is seven and threepence, and so on, till it becomes a hundred pounds. The more there is of it, the more it produces every turning, so that the profits rise quicker and quicker.
Now I know who I have to blame if I feel guilty when I think I’m not working hard enough ;)
On a side note, I think we can now empirically test if Weber hypothesis is true: do protestants really use “capitalistic” concepts more than non-protestants? One way could be to do something like the great blog of OkCupid does for different subsamples of its large population. See some gorgeous example on OkCupid blog