Devonomics

Devonomics

It is difficult to answer questions about how Nigeria can and should achieve sustainable economic, social and political growth. This column takes a look at well known development economic theories and applies them to the unique Nigerian context.

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From Belief to Development

Martha Sambe

Martha Sambe

Martha is a graduate of Development Economics and International Cooperation from the University of Rome, Tor Vergata. She enjoys writing and researching topics in development, sociology, and religion.

The polymath Max Weber wrote about how religion aided the development of capitalism and highlighted some advantages that followed from this. Among these were increased entrepreneurial activities of the masses, increased savings, and greater literacy. His essay, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, provides a foundation for assessing the links between religion and development, with a particular focus on the role of the Christian Protestant faith. Historical evidence and recent research findings provide further insight into this interaction.   

 

Protestantism & Capitalism

The Protestant notion of a 'worldly calling' allowed Protestant Christians to pursue economic activity as a means of sustenance and also as a way of practising piety in their daily life. This was was an apparent deviation from the Catholic focus on monastic life and asceticism, and seems to have given Protestants a slight economic advantage. As this paper points out, from the start of the eighteenth century to the mid-part of the twentieth century, Protestant regions in Europe had higher income levels than Catholic ones. And the difference seems to have persisted beyond then. Further research found that Catholic countries and former Catholic colonies were on average economically worse off than their Protestant counterparts.

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