Martin Luther King

A Discussion and Analysis Of some of his Contributions As Well as their Social,

Political and Economic Impacts.

Since the Thirteen Colonies first united, the United States has had one of
the strongest economies in the world. Over the years, many theorists have had
varying opinions concerning the reason for this nation\'s strong economic
standing. One reason that has often been overlooked is that a great many of this
nation\'s workers have been influenced by the Protestant work ethic. The
philosophy behind this work ethic has driven many workers to attain as much as
possible at their jobs during their lifetimes. If one man were to be given
credit for the development of the Protestant work ethic it would have to be

Martin Luther. In the course of the next several pages this researcher will
examine the ethic that has had such a great impact on the United State\'s economy
and on the economies of other nations. It has been suggested by such writers as

Weber and Smith that the Protestant work ethic first developed around the word
"calling." Basically, this term has a religious connotation which is a
task set by God. However, gradually this term was expanded to the point where it
covered many of man\'s activities. During the Protestant Reformation, the term
"calling" started to take on a new meaning. Fulfilling one\'s duty in
worldly affairs became a task of extreme importance. gradually, fulfilling one\'s
duty was not only important but it became the moral obligation of every
individual (the highest form of moral activity). Before the Reformation, the

Catholic Church did not believe that everyday world activities had a religious
significance. As a result of Luther these world activities were quite important
in adhering to God\'s wishes. Rather than devote one\'s life to worshipping God
through prayer, and instead of sacrificing all worldly goods to follow Christ,
the Protestants believed that the task of every person is to fulfill (to the
best of his/her ability) their tasks on earth. This unique conception of the
word "calling" was developed by Luther during his first active decade
as a reformer. At first he believed, like many other theologians, that everyday
world activities were activities of the flesh. Although these activities were
willed by God, they were nonetheless morally neutral. However, gradually Luther
began to protest against the life of the monks. He criticized them as leading a
life "devoid of value as a means of justification before God, but he also
looks upon its renunciation of the duties of this world as a product of
selfishness, withdrawing from temporal obligations." This was in direct
contrast to the everyday labors of man. These worldly activities were outward
expressions of man\'s love for others and for God. Thus, according to Luther, the
only way to live up to the expectations God has for us is to fulfill our worldly
duties. A very important point that Luther makes in reference to callings is
that each calling has the same worth in the eyes of God. The effect of the

Reformation that was initiated by Luther was that worldly labor was given
religious sanction. This stands opposed to the Catholic tradition which did not
give such worldly matters any moral emphasis. Luther stated that people may
attain salvation in any walk of life. it did not matter what a person did during
their lifetime as long as they worked as hard as possible. In hard work and
dedication to one\'s calling, salvation could be achieved. Before Luther
professed these beliefs, people placed little emphasis on the daily tasks they
had to complete. Jobs had little meaning except that they placed bread on the
table to eat. However, with Luther\'s concept of the "calling" people
now had a moral reasons to work as hard as they could. The jobs of people were
given religious sanction and this lead to workers striving to attain more in
their jobs. Thus, there can be no doubt that Luther changed the attitudes of
people toward their roles in society. People placed a new emphasis on their work
roles. In the following pages the effect that this had on the economy will be
examined. The Foundation of Capitalistic Thought As a result of Luther placing
such emphasis on a person\'s calling, people began to take pride in their work.

Instead of placing all of one\'s emphasis on religious matters, people began to
think of earning a living in the best way possible in order to serve God. Luther
instilled in these people the concept that time is money. If a person spends his
time at meaningful work he