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Islamic Calvinists

Can Islamic states foster an entrepreneurial ethic? Look no further than Anatolia

By Gerald Knaus   January 2007

Do certain religious attitudes promote economic development? Or is it the other way around: does development lead people to embrace interpretations of their faith that make it compatible with their enrichment? The question is an old dilemma of social theory and the debate will remain inconclusive.

In 2000, the Harvard historian David Landes published an essay on development entitled “Culture makes almost all the difference,” taking Max Weber as his reference point. Landes defends Weber’s thesis of the Protestant work ethic and the spirit of capitalism against its many critics. It is a fact, he argues, that in early-modern northern…

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