2018 (15), №1

Puritans’ Economy: Solidarity Versus Profit-Seeking

For citation: 

Studentsov, V. B. (2018). Puritans’ Economy: Solidarity Versus Profit-Seeking. Zhurnal Economicheskoj Teorii [Russian Journal of Economic Theory], 15(1), 120-132


The article discusses the Puritans’ economic views and practices. Central to their economic ethics was the concept of calling. In dealing with it as well as in a treatment of wealth, the Puritans stressed that economic activity should be focused on the promotion of common good. Self-interest was censured but wealth was considered to be ethically neutral able to promote private interest as well as common good. The Puritans’ economic ethic had found its most full application in the seventeenth century New England where a creation of the genuine Christian society was conceived. There was established a semblance of theocracy that bound residents together in addition to adherence to Calvinism by a pursuit to implement the Biblical principles of life, providentialism, a series of covenants, mutual church surveillance and discipline. The Puritans fought idleness, tried to foster callings by promoting education. Being champions of the private property and initiative, they did not interfere without special need in the process of price and incomes formation, but stimulated production. They sought to moderate profit-seeking for the sake of common good promotion. However, the rational method of life of the puritans noted by M. Weber is not sufficient to claim that they were the full-blooded forerunners of a contemporary economic man.

Viktor Borisovich Studentsov — PhD in Economics, Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations (Moscow, Russian Federation; e-mail: Studentcov.Viktor@gmail.com).