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Read about the values. Associated with capitalism before you start getting ready for the seminar on Economy.

1.Find key phrases for the paragraphs in “Spirit of Capitalism” section, give your own interpretation of Benjamin Ferdinand’s words, who preached about the spirit of capitalism. Think how the ideas, expressed in the abstract from the book, are connected to American character. Learn from the Internet what “utilitarianism” is.

2.What is “an invisible hand” theory about? Whose is this theory?

3.What are the characteristic features of postindustrial economy?

4.Give short history of American economy.

5.What are the principle forces that run the economic system of America?

6.What is the role of the American Government in its economy?

7.What is an entrepreneur? Why is this figure so important to Americans? How is this person represented in American culture?

8.Describe the basic categories of business. What are their advantages and disadvantages?

9.What is exceptionalism?

10. What is entitlement? What do you feel you are entitled to as a citizen of your country?

11.What does the phrase “playing the odds” mean?




Values Associated with Capitalism


Honest hard work

Self-reliance and individual initiative

Materialism, the legitimacy of pursuing material possessions

The pursuit of profit as a legitimate and worthy activity

The sanctity of private property

Private ownership (rather than public ownership) of the means of production

Free markets rather than government decree as a means of determining prices and guiding economic activity

Individual political freedom






"Remember that time is money. He that can earn ten shillings a day by his labour, 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 credit is money. If a man lets his money lie in my hands after it is due, he gives me the interest, or so much as I can make of it during the time. This amounts to a considerable sum where a man has good large credit, and makes good use of it."

"Remember that money is of the prolific, generating nature. Money can beget money, and its offspring can beget more, and so on. Five shillings turned is six, turned again it 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. He that kills a breeding-sow destroys all her offspring to the thousandth generation. He that murders a crown, destroys all that it might have produced, even scores of pounds."

"Remember this saying, 'The good paymaster is lord of another man's purse.' He that is known to pay punctually and exactly to the time he promises, may at any time, and on any occasion, raise all the money his friends can spare. This is sometimes of great use. After industry and frugality, nothing contributes more to the raising of a young man in the world than punctuality and justice in all his dealings; therefore never keep borrowed money an hour beyond the time you promised, lest a disappointment shut up your friend's purse forever."

"The most trifling actions that affect a man's credit are to be regarded. The sound of your hammer at five in the morning, or eight at night, heard by a creditor, makes him easy six months longer; but if he sees you at a billiard-table, or hears your voice at a tavern, when you should be at work, he sends for his money the next day; demands it, before he can receive it, in a lump."

These words arc credited to Benjamin Ferdinand, who preached about the spirit of capitalism. Max Weber, in his tract. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, remarks that Ferdinand's comments arc marked with utilitarianism. Honest)' is useful, as it assures credit; so are punctuality, industry, and frugality. These qualities that are normally considered as moral virtues separate from any suggestion of utility. The logical conclusion one can make, though is that the appearance of honest) serves exactly the same purpose of genuine honesty, and, even further, a surplus of this virtue would appear to be an unproductive waste This is relevant to the predominant impression of Americans from the point of view of other nationalities. Often, people from other cultures see Americans as less than genuine and even sometimes hypocritical in both personal or business relations.


Date: 2015-01-02; view: 525

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