For many years university students have studied the role of the Protestant work ethic in the formation of American capitalism. During the Presidential campaign won by Donald Trump we saw behavior by him and many of his supporters that obviously go beyond the preaching of the Bible that inspired the ethic.

Protestant work ethic

The Encyclopedia Britannica defines the work ethic as “the value attached to hard work, thrift, and efficiency in one’s worldly calling” and according to this theory people who work hard and diligently will be ultimately rewarded for their endeavours. Looking at the Trump’s entrepreneurial career and his selection of candidates for important economic positions it seems that the ethic has gone way beyond its original intentions.

#Donald Trump’s decision not to release his tax returns during the presidential campaign leaves many doubts about the true level of success of his business career and also his current level of debt, both personally and commercially. Furthermore these doubts are only raised by his declarations of bankruptcy in the past in periods of difficulty.The only measure of success with which we can currently judge him is the ratings success of his television programme “The Apprentice” but this is not an indicator of his true worth.

These factors already show that in today’s market some aspects of the work ethic have already taken directions that could not have been foreseen when it was first framed. In addition, there is another aspect of Trump’s rise to power that puts into doubt economic theories that form the basis of today's economic markets.

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Market rules

Modern economies require regulation to ensure proper competition and equitable conditions for the markets. These regulations exist to limit the damages that can be caused by the unscrupulous behaviour by wild cat entrepreneurs and those who believe all competition should be free of limitations. These rules, like the Protestant work ethic, are being overturned in the selection of key Secretaries.

The nomination of people like Wilbur Ross for Commerce, Tom Price for Health, Andrew Pudzer for Labor and Steve Mnuchin for Treasury all point to a Cabinet that will radically dismantle current legislation and the effects of these actions will be felt well into the future.

The Protestant work ethic is naturally based on the Bible, yet the actions of the actions of the politicians not only in their public lives, but also in their private behaviour share little in common with the message contained in the Scriptures. defines the work ethic with words such as duty, thrift, self-discipline and responsibility and as politicians these qualities should extend to their public lives, but their declarations show that they interpret the ethic in purely personal and very limited terms.

Politicians should represent the community as a whole and not only very small, but economically powerful specific interest groups. By concentrating their efforts on these small groups the incoming administration runs the real risk of endangering the quality of life for all whole sectors of the community that cannot afford the protection they would lose with the dismantling of the existing protections.

President for some or for all?

By interpreting the work ethic on purely personal terms and then applying these same rules in #Government for the country as a whole the United States runs the risk of widening the gaps within the community that became evident during the presidential campaign with all the consequences that would ensue. The unrest caused by these changes could well be the cause for violent conflict in the future.

While Donald Trump won the race to the White House he must remember that the President of the United States does not represent only very small special interests but the country as a whole and it will be the citizens who will make the final judgment on his presidency. #Policy