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Capitalist Ethos of Benjamin Franklin

An Entrepreneur is by nature expansionist. May be, she starts from a very tiny space, her sight touches the sky. She works for it to make the path more visible, clearer. Throughout the journey of expansion she maintains some ethos. She avoids ostentation and unnecessary expenditure as well as conscious enjoyment of power and is embarrassed by the outward signs of social recognition which she receives. “He gets nothing out of his wealth for himself except the irrational sense of having done his job well”.

These entrepreneurial values develop through stages of economic history of human being. As entrepreneurship is a concept that mostly a contribution of capitalistic way of life, understanding this idea requires clarification of the spirit of capitalism.

“A man does not by nature wish to earn more and more money but simply to live as he is accustomed to live and to earn as much as his necessary for that purpose. Wherever, modern capitalism has begun its work of increasing its intensity, it has encountered the immensely stubborn resistance of this leading trait of pre-capitalistic labor.”

“We will define a capitalistic economic action as one which rests on the expectation of profit by the utilization of opportunities for exchange that is on (formally) peaceful changes of profit.”

In developing capitalistic mode of life, ethos of Benjamin Franklin contributed well. His commentary on value of time in terms of money, credit, generating nature of money, frugality etc was really significant for the way of life.


"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 three pence, 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.”

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 month 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 lamp.”

In Bangladesh, We have embraced capitalist way of life already. We emphasize on entrepreneurship to increase GDP growth as it is the utmost expression of capitalist mode of life. Practicing these values in terms of our culture is critical to success for the entrepreneurs.

Note :  All Quotations are taken from The Book "The Protestant Ethic and The Spirit of Capitalism" by Max Weber.

Mr. Julfikar Islam is currently studying Marketing (4th year) at University of Dhaka. He is truly an organizational being. He has been working with a number of knowledge-based organizations for last 3 years within the University. His area of specialization is Supply Chain Management. He also has an effective knowledge about Branding, Current Market trends. He has been blogging for last 1 year about these issues in a number of national blog and community website.

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