Protestant countries have higher employment rates…

Right, this is certain to throw the cat in amongst the pigeons. Before you read it, can I just remind people of the site’s commenting rules. Dr Feldmann, a lecturer in Bath University’s Department of Economics and International Development explains why he thinks his research shows a gap between employment rates in Protestant and Catholic countries.

…the impact of religion may be indirect, for example, in helping shape the national culture of a given society.” He continued: “In its early days, Protestantism promoted the virtue of hard and diligent work amongst its adherents, who judged one another by conformity to this standard. Originally, an intense devotion to one’s work was meant to assure oneself that one was predestined for salvation. Although the belief in predestination did not last more than a generation or two after the Reformation, the effect on work ethics continued. “This was particularly conducive to the rise of modern capitalism. It stimulated entrepreneurial spirits and helped to assimilate workers into the factory system. Most protestants today are likely to work not in order to attain certainty of salvation but because their parents taught them the virtue of work. The Protestant virtue of hard and diligent work has become part of a national culture of the relevant countries.”

Of course this is just one possible conditioning factor. Traditional extended family structures, including higher marriage rates and low cohabitation rates also persist in Catholic southern Europe, whilst the largely Protestant Nordic countries have migrated far from traditional family norms.


  • páid

    Of course, this is all sensible stuff.
    Protestantism also encouraged a healthy distrust of hierarchical structures, a questioning disposition, and a distaste for tradition – all positives when economic progress was in hand.

    Of course, Protestantism isn’t the end of history and the lessons and culture of Protestantism are applied wholesale in Catholic countries. The Bavarians are no priest-ridden slouches, for example.

    My own take on the Celtic Tiger is that one of the reasons for it’s appearance was the widespread adoption of Protestant values in the Republic in the last twenty years coupled with the old Irish Catholic ‘let’s talk and do a deal’ way of life which had previously not moved from the cattle mart.

    Paddy was never short of ‘soft skills’.

  • Nevin

    Mick, it’s colder up north so perhaps that’s an incentive to work – or to drink.

    I suppose the concept of personal salvation encouraged greater responsibility as did the ‘republican’ church structures.

  • Mark Bailey

    Apart from the (sort-of) empirical support, is this idea any different from “The Protestant ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism” by Max Weber published in 1920.

  • kensei

    Now it may just be me, and there doesn’t seem to be a link to the methodology, but doesn’t the fact that say, South America and South East Asia are not as prosperous tend to skew this somewhat?

    Never mind other factors like climate.

  • The Dubliner

    The only concept that Christianity can fairly claim credit for creating is inter-Christian sectarianism. People work because nature is organised to promote that dynamic, and not because some religion happened upon promoting the ‘work ethic’ tens of thousands years too late. Folks work harder because new systems of production offer greater rewards for extra effort (I think this is called ‘overtime’ or ‘double jobbing’) or simply demands hard work (with an entrepreneur quickly discovering that 9 to 5 is a distant memory). Ergo, work is a function of evolutionary dynamics, political, social and business systems, etc, and has as much to do with religious imperatives and exhortations as preaching peace or other commandants when Christian societies are among the world’s greatest warmongers. For example, the Catholic religion is against sex outside of marriage. It is also against the use of condoms. Those who argue that the church’s position promotes STDs make their argument on similarly flawed logic. Firstly, it assumes folks listen to the church. And secondly, assuming that folks listen to the church, they would not be having sex outside of marriage in accordance with the church’s other instruction, and, ergo, would not be promoting STDs.

  • The Dubliner

    Just to make the two points above less obscure:

    If you intend to argue that your particular brand of voodoo has promoted something that is deemed to be good in society, then you need to show that the promotion is consistent with all other ‘good things’ that your voodoo promotes in terms of its effect on society, e.g. if your voodoo promotes charity, then is your society more charitable than other societies where your voodoo isn’t applicable? If it promotes peace, is your society more peaceful? If it isn’t, then why do you pick only one element from the multiplicity of elements that you proffer and proffer that as being a special case? Why is it only ‘work ethic’ that your voodoo encouraged your parishioners to practice to the claimed exceptional degree and not the other elements of said particular brand of voodoo?

    Claims made either for or against a particular religion often disguise a sectarian agenda. That is why you will often hear people accuse the Catholic Church’s policy on condoms as being responsible for promoting AIDS and other diseases. The logic underlining this claim exposes its sectarianism. The argument is proffered as “Catholics don’t use condoms because they do what the church tells them. Then they get AIDS and die an awful death. Isn’t the Catholic church awful?” This, of course, misses the conflicting statement from the Catholic Church which is “Don’t have sex outside of marriage.” So, if, as is claimed, Catholics did as their church tells them, then they would not have sex outside of marriage and would not be exposed to fatal sexual diseases. The argument is sectarian because it is self-contradictory, exposing the actual agenda behind it. This comes back to the work ethic: people simply don’t do something because a church either tells them to do it or not to do it. Just as the sales of condoms in Ireland, a Catholic country, outstrips (no pun intended) England, a non-Catholic country, on a per-capita basis, so too is Ireland more productive than its non-Catholic neighbour on a per-capita basis. The facts don’t support the self-serving claims.

  • peadar o donnell

    On the Celtic Tiger – surely the causation runs the other way as well – that capitalism makes protestants (‘secular monks’)of us all, eg. commuting from Athy at 5am because you’re a slave to your mortgage.

  • Turgon

    This is a rather biazzare idea that Protestantism makes one work hard. Of course I am sure everyone has heard all the usual comments and we can all think of the stereotypes we were brought up with.

    The original article includes the following quote “Originally, an intense devotion to one’s work was meant to assure oneself that one was predestined for salvation”

    Well firstly not all protestants believe in predestination, secondly I would have thought that the calvanist concept of Perseverance of the Saints (essentially once saved always saved) would, if misunderstood, encourage laziness.

    Indeed any religion suggesting that “works” of any kind increase the possibility of salvation would surely encourage hard work; whereas one which offered salvation without works would be less likely to.

    If one looks at China and especially Japan I see no lack of work ethic: quite the reverse. There are also not many protestants. Without getting anti semitic Jews seem quite into work as well and they are not exactly protestants (well except when Isreali flags are flown in Prod areas).

    I think kensei’s comment on the climate may be closer to the mark.

    Still it is good to see that there are really odd people in Bath university with suitably biazzare views.

  • The Dubliner @ 06:00 PM:

    Just as the sales of condoms in Ireland, a Catholic country, outstrips (no pun intended) England, a non-Catholic country, on a per-capita basis, so too is Ireland more productive than its non-Catholic neighbour on a per-capita basis.

    1. Condom sales in the RoI: Could this disparity in any way be related to the reluctance and downright refusal of practising-RC medics to prescribe and pharmacies to dispense other means of contraception?

    2. Those figures for GNP are dodgy in all kinds of ways. See:

    (a) Irish output per capita (GDP) is now among the highest in the OECD while income per capita (GNP), a better measure of living standards, is close to the OECD average … GDP (national output) is significantly greater than GNP (national income) due to the repatriation of profits and royalty payments by multinational firms based here. Generally, the GNP figure is the more appropriate metric for Ireland
    and (perhaps not immediately relevant, but of significance):
    Ireland consumes the same energy on a per capita basis as the EU 15 average. However, Ireland’s share of energy coming from renewable sources is one-third that of the EU 15 average, reflecting our high dependence on fossil fuels. Ireland ranks poorly in per capita carbon dioxide emissions and our rank is weakening further. Finally, the data suggest that Irish companies do not prioritise sustainable development as much as those in other countries do. [Source: National Competitiveness Council annual report for 2006;

    (b) Irish labour productivity levels have risen substantially such that GNP per worker is now roughly equal to the EU average… Productivity growth, however, weakened since 2001, in line with the economic slowdown experienced in most developed economies… If and when the domestic economy recovers from the current slowdown, it is unlikely, for a number of reasons, that labour productivity growth can recover to the very high rates of the late 1990s… [Source:

    (c) As for intellectual product I refer to the OECD figures, as published by the US National Science Foundation:
    Per capita output of Science&Engineering articles, by selected country/economy: 2000–03 United Kingdom 796.48; Ireland 435.18.

    (d) Ireland is another country where GDP has to be read with care. Ireland’s position has risen up the GDP per head rankings since 1999, and is now in the top five countries in the OECD. This remarkable transformation has been put down to a mix of factors, of which inward investment in high value-added businesses is one. But does GDP per head accurately reflects Ireland’s actual wealth, since all that inward investment (and foreign labour) generates profits and other revenues, some of which inevitably flows back to the countries of origin?

    Another measure, Gross National Income, accounts for these flows in and out of the country. For many countries, the flows tend to balance out, leaving little difference between GDP and GNI. But not so for Ireland, as outflows of profits and income, largely from global business giants located there, often exceed income flows back into the country. This means that in a GNI ranking, rather than being in the top five, Ireland drops to 17th. In other words, while Ireland produces a lot of income per inhabitant, GNI shows that less of it stays in the country than GDP might suggest. [Source: OECD Observer].

    We need to be comparing like-with-like here. The RoI is where high-tech is the name of the game (6% of the GDP is accounted for by one firm, Dell), has a favourable age distribution, receives large swathes of subsidy from the EU to balance the Budget, but still has 4.7% inflation, and chooses to tax industry preferentially over individuals. It damned-well ought to show well. However, as the Economist briefing says: The property market is vulnerable to rising interest rates. Rates are expected to reach 4.25%, but could go higher. This would increase the chances of a sharp correction considerably. And as inflation will be higher than the euro area average, a continued gradual loss of competitiveness is expected.


    Catholics are lazy.

    Come on Mick…

  • joeCanuck

    As someone intimated, it’s a climate issue.
    In a land where it is cloudy and miserable, is a person more inclined to work hard and earn enough to take holidays in the sun compared with a person in the sunny climes who does just enough to get by and spends more of their time lying around in the sun.
    I admire the former and envy the latter.

  • topdeckomnibus

    Pre Thatcher I double shifted at the coal mine Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays. I attended college Tuesdays and Wednesday evening classes. I worked Saturadys as shut down electrician at a bakery and Sundays double time at the pit. Friday and Saturday nights I worked on a local club door.

    Mid Thatcher we were homeless living on a campsite.

    Post Thatcher we bought, for example, a foreclosure at 30 grand. Sold at 110 grand. And no double shift or sweat in sight.

    The great social reformers are, Maggie Thatcher, Jack the Ripper, Arthur Daley and Del Trotter.

    Give the west country uni time to catch up.

  • Ruth

    ‘The Dubliner’ is right to an extent. Christians are guilty of fighting between themselves. However, you can not employ people who do not apply or want to work. There may be social differences that people have studied but unemployment is the way it is because generally they do not want to work

  • Sean

    This is a rather biazzare idea that Protestantism makes one work hard. Of course I am sure everyone has heard all the usual comments and we can all think of the stereotypes we were brought up with.

    Turgon I think it works the other way, NOT being a protestant makes you a lazy git! Not my theor mind but the theory seemingly put across in this article.

    Personally I think it all comes down to how you were raised, if you were raised to believe hard work and know how would get you ahead in life then you work hard and strive for better. If you were raised to believe that you will not get ahead regardless of how hard you work because you are a certain religion race or creed, then you have no incentive to work hard to get ahead because you wont be getting ahead.

    As for the Climate, the northern hemisphere has always produced more bountiful harvests then our southern neighbours it was the increased leisure time that these harvests created that allowed the northern countries to become more agressive in exporation and exploitation and infact what has lead to the world wide dominance of the european/north american culture and lifestyle.the southern climes may provide more pleasant winters but strictly speaking they do not provide better living conditions and in the pre industrial revolution they generally relied on a much more labour intensive systems to just keep ahead of the daily requirements. Which is one of the reasons slavery held on longer in the southern US and why it still holds in parts of Africa, Its cheaper to own the beasts of burden then it is to rent them.

    Famines, while not unheard of in the north, are less likely to happen in the temperate zones than they are to happen in the tropical zones.

    Its my belief s societies ability to produce excess rations and provide them with long term storage is the reason europe and north america has provided so much of the scientific break throughs in the modern era (even if more than a few of those inventions were stolen from other cultures and we only found a better way to exploit them re:gun powder and algebra)

  • Ulster McNulty

    “The Protestant virtue of hard and diligent work has become part of a national culture of the relevant countries….”

    Then again, maybe not – there was an interesting programme on Channel 4 tonight which compared immigrant groups in the UK to each other and to indigenous brits, the upshot being catholic Poles work much harder than catholic Portuguese and protestant Brits.

    But the most obviously silly claim by this academic is “..countries dominated by other religions, such as Catholicism, Islam and Buddhism are likely to have developed a national culture that does not put a high value on hard and diligent work” – considering that China is currently the workshop of the world should this in it’s proper perspective.

  • Oiliféar

    Pitty they didn’t have unemployment records before the reformation – then we could say that Protestantism caused an observable change in work ethic in those countries. But let’s see if we can dig into this.

    So, the thesis says that if you take protestant countries (USA, Britain and the Nordics) and compare them against everyone else on the planet, you’ll see that protestants have a lower unemployment rate, and thus a better work ethic. Okay. Then let’s examine this.

    Where preytell are the Protestant countries of Europe? They’re all in Northern Europe, right. Now this is a cultural grouping within Europe, and we are interested in culture. So we should start first with the wider group before jumping straight into Protestants.

    Now the average unemployment in Northern Europe is 4.37% compared against the the whole of Europe, which is 9.1%, so we definately can tell that Northern European have a better work ethic (or at least lower unemployment). But let’s dig in.

    If the thesis is true then the better work ethic of Northern Europeans is caused by Protestantism, not being from Northern Europe. So, let’s compare the Catholic countries of Northern Europe against the Protestant countires of Northern Europe. (This puts us a bit in of a pickle, because you there are only two Catholic countries in Northern Europe – but none the less …)

    Denmark: 3.3%
    Finland: 7.0%
    United Kingdom: 5.4%
    Sweden: 5.6%
    Norway: 3.5%
    Latvia: 6.1%
    Iceland: 1.3%
    Estonia: 4.2%

    Protestant average: 4.56%

    Lithuania: 2.9%
    Republic of Ireland: 4.3%

    Catholic average: 3.6%

    … ewww – ouch! Looks like to be Catholic in Northern Europe is to have a better work ethic!

    So let’s revise the thesis. It is not Protestaism that has a better work ethic, but Northern Europeanism. In fact, within the Northern Europeans, the evidience is that Catholics have a better work ethic that Protestants.

  • DC

    The ILO is reporting that Ireland is second to the USA in terms of labour productivity per person.

    It’s a significant gap all the same.

    But as you notice when the amount of hours worked is factored in, Norway takes the lead, followed by USA then France.

    One more for the Scandinavian model!

    Ultimately, the Irish are working long hours, supporting the notion that Ireland appears to have much of this Protestant work ethic even though it is still fair to call it a homogenous Catholic country.

  • Sean

    Ultimately, the Irish are working long hours, supporting the notion that Ireland appears to have much of this Protestant work ethic even though it is still fair to call it a homogenous Catholic country.

    Posted by DC on Oct 01, 2007 @ 11:30 PM

    That presuposes that only protestants have a work ethic and that the catholics had to adopt it from them because it was not indigenous! Ist that racism or sectarianism?

  • joeCanuck

    It’s the climate stupid.

  • DC


    It was a paradoxical juxtaposition framed in a way to challenge this ‘notion’ of Protestant work ethic.

    But if you read the link it is about productivity, which is being driven up in Ireland by American foreign nationals and their know-how to utilise capacity and get value-added.

    It is about American business providing the opportunities in Ireland thus in turn upskilling Ireland’s workforce.

  • DC

    “It’s the climate stupid”

    Care to expand on that or what?

  • sammaguire

    Dr Feldmann has now apparently commenced a study into why a predominantly Protestant country has only won the soccer World Cup once (on home soil of course). He is speculating that this all down to the influence of the Roman Catholic Church. From Pele to Maradonna to Platini to Rooney to Keane, Catholicism time and time again delivers a better and more skilful product. And blessing themselves before coming on the pitch freaks the Prods out! And the miraculous medals come in handy too!!

  • Sean


    Bravo excelent piss into the wind

  • joeCanuck


    See comment 11.

  • Sam Hanna


    How can you only include ROI and Lithuania in your list of Catholic countries? Have you forgotten about France, Spain , Belgium and old Papa’s Home place in Italy?

    The reality is that this trend has been in place for centuries that those countries that have a majority of people from countries not enslaved by the superstition of Islam or Catholicism have a good work ethic and scientific progression.

    Yes, people work hard in India but they have not progressed because their thinking is predicated on Eastern logic for centuries which is not based on Biblical Linear Logic of absolutes which has brought about the Scientific Revolution.

    China is a good case in point as it now is starting to grow as the number of Bible Christians as increased from less than a million in 1976 to almost 100 million.

    We all remember the Dark Ages of superstition in Europe when people were taught that the pope and the Church were infallible. This ignorance made us one of the most shameful continents of darkness for a 1,000 years. Thank God for Martin Luther.

    The ROI have at last thrown off the shackles of the wee priests and their cohorts have stopped bombing all the factories in the North – what a breath of fresh air that is having!

  • The Dubliner

    “We need to be comparing like-with-like here.” – Malcolm Redfellow

    Isn’t that changing the goal posts? Why do the statistics that prove Ireland’s success need to be questioned, but no such need is perceived when those same statistics are used to show that other countries are successful? Different standards of proof or a hidden agenda?

    It’s true that there are 1,200 foreign companies that employ 130,000 people in Ireland but it’s also true that there are a total of 2,250,000 in the labour market and that foreign companies account for only 5% of that figure, indicating that 95% of the ‘work ethic’ is a Catholic work ethic. It’s also true that Irish companies employ considerably in excess of 130,000 people in foreign countries. For example, Irish companies employ 80,000 people in America. You mentioned Dell as an example of an American company that created employment in Ireland. Well, Dell is owned by a catholic Irish American, Michael Dell, so that rather negates talk of a protestant work ethic being responsible for those jobs.

    None of this, however, addresses why only sermons pertaining to the work ethic were acted upon by Protestants more so than sermons pertaining to other Christian values. Why did Protestants only hear that message, but didn’t, for example, hear the message to give more to charity such that it can now be claimed that protestant countries are marginally more charitable?

  • The Dubliner

    One other point, Malcolm Redfellow. There is a mistaken assumption that the Irish property market is overvalued. It isn’t. Even a sharp correction of, say, 20% would have only a slight impact on the Irish economy, which is still growing at twice the European average. Okay, we’ve been spoiled with very high growth rates for a number of years such that we now see growth of 4% a year as akin to a recession when other European countries would kill for growth above 2%. The thing to keep in mind about this is that Ireland’s balance sheet is extremely healthy. As Pat O’Sullivan, Senior Economist with Bank of Ireland said “Assets currently outweigh liabilities by a multiple of six, with gross assets of €964 billion vs. household liabilities of €161 billion.” So, it would take a total collapse in the price of property to have a bankrupting effect. And that won’t happen, not least because property isn’t overpriced to begin with.

    Other key points from the recent report: “The report outlines that personal disposal income in Ireland has doubled over the past ten years, and this figure is forecast to double again over the next ten years.

    The annual level of personal savings stood at €10 billion at the end of 2006 and this is forecast to increase to €13.5 billion by 2010 and to €24 billion by 2015. The latter figure equates to 14% of disposable income, which contrasts sharply with the recent averages of 1% in the US and 5% in the UK. We have to look to Germany to find a similar attitude to savings, where it approaches 10%.

    The report estimates that the number of millionaires in Ireland has increased from 30,000 to 33,000 in the 12 months, an increase of 10%. Bank of Ireland Private Banking’s definition of a millionaire is the sum of total assets excluding principal private residence. Of those, it estimates that there are approximately 330 individuals with a net worth in excess of €30 million, a further 3,000 with a net worth of between €5 million and €30 million, with the remaining having a net worth of between €1 million -€5 million.”

    You should note that the figure of 33,000 millionaires in Ireland excludes the primary family asset from the calculation, i.e. the house. If the house was included in the calculation, we’d have an astromical number of millionaires in Ireland.

  • The Dubliner

    Well, if we’re going with the ‘religion is good for you’ theme, I’d like to point out that Jews account for 37% of all American Nobel Prize winners despite accounting for only 1.4% of the American population and account for 22% of all worldwide Nobel Prize despite accounting for only 0.25% of the world’s population. Ergo, we’re clearly smarter than either Protestants or Catholics. Indeed, you’ll also find that Jews punch way above our weight in American business, making the claim that America is an example of a country with a ‘Protestant’ work ethic highly suspect. So, in sectarian terms, be glad that you work hard but remember that your grandchildren will probably end up working for us. 😉

  • joeCanuck

    Bad example The Dubliner.
    Everyone knows that the Jewish people did not achieve their economic strength through hard work but did so via some evil conspiracy that made everyone else less capable. That and eating Christian babies and thereby absorbing their innate capabilities.

  • Fraggle

    Speaking of jews, I was under the impression that Michael Dell was one.

  • circles

    I would jst like to thank Dr Feldmann fr bringing this up and giving us the opportunity to discuss another important religious impact on our daily life.
    Those of you familiar with The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster will no doubt be aware of the dramatic climatic cosequences we are currently experiencing as a direct result of our persecution of his divine beings, the pirates. One need only consult the incontravertible evidence to see that the anti-piratic rhetoric and actions of narrow-minded sectarians has caused this global catastrophe. (

    Now what was that about statistically significant correlations implying a causal relationship?

  • Ulster’s my homeland

    Good old Protestant work ethic, you can’t beat it!

  • Posted by The Dubliner @ 03:41 AM & 4.12 AM:

    A couple of starter thoughts:

    1. The Sluggerettes, like rust, never sleep.

    2. As I have repeatedly said elsewhere, I wish I could be as certain of anything as these people are of everything.

    No, The Dubliner @ 03:41 AM & 4.12 AM:, I did not disrespect the flag and spit on the deck. I merely suggested that the “evidence” presented so far was open to different interpretations.

    As for the original issue, there are long-distant but good historical reasons why Protestant countries had an earlier economic and industrial lift-off than others. The Medicis invented double-entry book-keeping, which was significant for the rise of Italian enterprise and culture in the 13th century (one up to Catholicism). Then Calvin approved lending-at-interest, or rather his follower, Salmasius, suggested a set of rules for lending (An equaliser from the Prods). The Catholic Church took until the 19th century to turn a blind eye to “usury” (and, I believe, has never yet given a final doctrinal OK to the theory).

    That’s created some kind of mercantile infra-structure. Now one is looking for other reasons. Frequently such studies start from observing why England went from an almost-exclusively agricultural economy in the mid-16th century to a largely-industrial one (and the first in the world) by the 19th-century. The reasons change, pending on which historian, with which prejudices and ideology, one chooses. None seem to be satisfied with a simple matter of chance and circumstance. Fortunately, it is a game that anyone can play by giving some logical pattern to events. For examples:

    1. The new Protestant grammar schools of Edward VI had to be invented to replace the lost-and-gone monasteries. Coincidentally,
    the Antwerp stock-market collapsed in 1553, devastating the English wool-trade. This forced a change in trading practices, and a more aggressive economy. So barely-literate Stratford butchers (John Shakespeare) and Canterbury shoemakers (John Marlowe) felt it a good idea to have educated sons to keep the books. In those two cases, of course, Dad got precious little help from either young William or Christopher: they should have spent their money educated the daughters, who at least would have stayed at home.
    2. (and much simpler) The proximity of iron-ore and coal in Shropshire, at a time when local timber supplies had been depleted.

    However, that does not explain the work habits of different populations. I suggest that a lot may depend on which end of the whip one was. The “navvies” who built England’s canals and the “tarriers” who built the American railways were, to a large extent, Irish Catholics. Their productivity was stupendous, but the credit seems to go to the WASP bosses.

  • Sean


    ARGGGGGGGGGGHHHH I have been thinking of giving up my non-protestant, non-catholic work ethic and doing my biut for global warming by taking up piracy and helping to cool the planet

    Why work 70 hours a week at a desk when I could be swinging through the rigging with a dagger clenched firmly between my teeth and searching for booty.

    Especially the booty contained in wee string bikinis stretched out on a warm tropical beach

    May his noodly appendage spread his benevolance in your life


  • circles

    AHARRRRR Sean-Lad,
    Well splice me thon main-brace and shiver-me-timbers cos none of them lnd-lubbers will outdo our pirate work ethic and we’ll bring back them white christmases for all those not yet tickled by his noodly appendage.


  • andy

    Interesting point on the Jewish economic success story (I suppose more accurately the ashkenazi success story). I have heard various reasons for this – one of the more convincing dated it to the requirement for Jewish adults to read in the diaspora – ensuring a much higher-than-average literacy rate.

  • Oiliféar

    Sam Hanna: “How can you only include ROI and Lithuania in your list of Catholic countries? Have you forgotten about France, Spain , Belgium and old Papa’s Home place in Italy?”

    Because France, Spain, Belgium and Italy are not in Northern Europe. If you re-read the pos, this is explained pretty clearly.

    I was demonstrating that the difference is between Northern Europe and everywhere else, not between Protestant and Catholic countries. Within Northern Europe (Protestant countries occur nowhere else), Catholic countries have a lower unemployment than Protestant ones.

  • C hound

    But Max Weber did not come up with the theory that academics said he did.
    Academics did.

  • Fraggle

    What’s the unemployment rate in Poland?

  • Greenflag

    ‘Interesting point on the Jewish economic success story (I suppose more accurately the ashkenazi success story). I have heard various reasons for this – one of the more convincing dated it to the requirement for Jewish adults to read in the diaspora – ensuring a much higher-than-average literacy rate. ‘

    The Ashkenazi Jews (central and eastern european ancestry probably have the highest average IQ of any group of people on the planet . As a people they had to survive centuries of exclusion and discrimination from their ‘Christian ‘ neighbours in Poland , Russia or Germany etc etc. They could not own land , join the military and were forbidden to engage in a whole line of occupations . Forced to live in overcrowded shetls (Ghettos) in the time before modern medecine their people succumbed in great numbers to plagues and urban diseases brought about through lack and ignorance of sanitation . Thus those Ashkenazim who survived were the strongest at least in terms of resistance to many pathogens . Ashkenazim also suffered from periodic pogroms when the local King or Tsar needed rescuing from having to repay the monies loaned by jewish bankers so that the former could indulge in territorial expansion etc etc.

    As Ashkenazim were forced into occupations such as retail /banking /money lending etc etc they quickly became adept at using their financial acumen as a tool for cultural and religious survival . The daughters of prosperous jewish bankers and businessmen were married off to the most ‘educated’ of the people i.e the rabbis . Rabbis traditionnally had larger families and were supported by the whole community . Thus there was cultural bias to promoting ‘academic ‘ intelligence and business acumen skills in this community .

    Contrast that with the rest of medieval and pre reformation Europe where the ‘academically’ gifted /educated went into the ‘priesthood’ and were removed from the ‘gene’ pool through ‘celibacy’.

    Scientists with an Ashkenazim background have proportionately won more Nobel Prizes in the sciences than any other population group on the planet. Israels success as a State is not just due to the huge financial backing it gets from the USA but is also due to the huge influence exerted in it’s economy by the Ashkenazim who make up 40% or so of it’s population.

    Proof positive perhaps that ‘discrimation’ while seemingly injurious to people may at least in some cases be a positive boon for later generations ?

    RC’s in NI take note . You’ve nothing to lose but your priests !


  • andy

    Interesting stuff Greenflag. Some good observations (esp. re: Israel – indeed their support by the US came about through good statecraft rather than unconditionally – ie through the application of intelligence).

  • Greenflag

    NI must be the world’s capital for the application of non -intelligence 🙂

    In the never ending debate between nature versus nurture the Ashkenazim provide an interesting example of how ‘nature’ overcame ‘nurture’ or was it the other way around? Every human being on the planet inherits both ‘nature’ and also ‘nurture’. Major environmental /political/economic change has an impact on our individual natures eventually. There were no electrical engineers on the banks of the Rhine in 100 AD . And a medical or engineering degree in Ireland in the 19th century gave the recipient a 60% chance having to emigrate as the population and economy was too small to absorb them .

    In NI today a similar trend has been noted given the too high reliance on public sector (low productivity) employment .

    Presumably people in NI can longer term look forward to an even greater application of non intelligence by their elected representatives 🙁

  • Greenflag

    ‘What’s the unemployment rate in Poland? ‘

    A lot higher than the unemployment rate for the Polish minority in Dublin. And it has nothing to do with religion . Under communism the people pretended to work and the government pretended to pay them .When the day came that Communist Poland’s ‘Zloty’ was found to have less purchasing power than soft ply toilet tissue the game was over .

    Any modern day Zimbabwean refugee will tell you what it’s like to have to pay for a roll of toilet tissue with a wad of notes bigger than said toilet roll !

  • Greenflag

    ‘RC’s in NI take note . You’ve nothing to lose but your priests !’

    The antithesis of the above would then be

    ‘Prods in NI take note ! Keep discriminating against Fenians and RC’s for two very good reasons .

    1) It’s good for them i.e the RC’s. Toughens them up no end .
    2) When the Prods lose out you’ll only have yourselves to blame and not the Taigs !

    Isn’t history a riot 🙂

  • Greenflag

    ‘Protestantism also encouraged a healthy distrust of hierarchical structures, a questioning disposition, and a distaste for tradition ‘

    So where does this leave Queenie as Head of State and Head of Church in the UK ? Is the ongoing Princess Diana saga another symptom of distaste for tradition or is it just a distasteful tradition ?

    Methinks Marty Feldman would have done a better job on this subject than Dr Feldman 🙂

    The poorest ‘whites ‘ in the USA are found in those parts of the country i.e Kentucky/West Virginia /where the Scotch Irish /Protestants and their descendants predominate . Is their relative poverty due to their protestantism ? their ethnic group ? or their environment or what ?

    Answers on a postcard please to

    Professor Marty Feldman
    Faculty of Neo Creationism
    University of Hard Knocks
    Bush Baptist Campus
    North Carlolina
    God’s Kuntry

  • Sam Hanna

    Jews apply the same moral standards and work ethic that Protestants do from the Bible (albeit only the OT). That is why the richer Western countries use the expression “Judeao-Christian Tradition” – that is far removed from the Bible -burning Catholic superstition faith of the Dark Ages.

  • sammaguire

    Anyone care to explain why those states in the U.S. with higher proportions of Catholics tend to be richer (New York etc) while those with higher proportions of Protestants tend to be the poorest states (Alabama etc) in the Union? So much for the good Professor’s theory! Of course this will no doubt be explained by the fact that black Protestants are of course inherently less productive than their white coreligionists!

  • páid


    you cite the existence of the Royal Family today, gelded by Cromwell centuries ago, as evidence of Protestant regard for hierarchy?

    Their existence is all to do with being an historic bulwark against Catholic Europe, their powers (despite what Al-Fayed thinks) are minimal.

  • The Dubliner

    “Speaking of jews, I was under the impression that Michael Dell was one.” – Fraggle

    So he is. I don’t know where I got the info that he is catholic – probably an assumption because his surname name is Irish (O’Dell – with many early Irish emigrants to America dropping the ‘O’ from their surnames). He also claimed to be Irish-American in an interview in the SBP a few years ago.

    “Fortunately, it is a game that anyone can play by giving some logical pattern to events.” – Malcolm Redfellow

    I think that’s right. I think claims of superiority based on religion and genetics are two games that are best left unplayed: if someone is deemed superior on that basis, then someone else is deemed inferior. History shows where those kind of games lead.

    “What’s the unemployment rate in Poland?” – Fraggle

    As dire as you’d expect it to be in a country that only discovered the free market after generations of communist occupation.

  • Fraggle

    ““What’s the unemployment rate in Poland?” – Fraggle

    As dire as you’d expect it to be in a country that only discovered the free market after generations of communist occupation.”

    Nothing at all like Lithuania then?

  • kensei

    “As dire as you’d expect it to be in a country that only discovered the free market after generations of communist occupation.”

    Nothing at all like Lithuania then? ”

    Lithunia. Population 3.5 million.
    Poland. Population 38 million.

    Reckon that is really a fair comparison?

  • Fraggle

    In an argument about apples and oranges, why can’t i compare grapes and melons?

  • john

    could it not be that other factors may be responsible. For example, could the wind falls of the northsea oil and gas not have some impact on the economic preformance of some northern european countries. Pure luck like have a wealth of mineral resources can hardly be blamed on the reformation, unless like feldmann you have some supremacist agenda to prove

  • Greenflag

    ‘Their existence is all to do with being an historic bulwark against Catholic Europe, ‘

    The British/English Royal family/families were in existence long before the Reformation . English monarchs traditionnally were preocupied with defending England against any and all enemies including the Scots , Welsh and Irish not to mention Vikings , Normans etc . The Anglo Saxon aristocracy was virtually exterminated to a man by the Normans in 1066 and had it not been for the Black Death -England would probably be a French speaking country today . The conquests of Wales , Ireland and Scotland were consolidated by the late 17th century which then enabled England as ‘Brittania ‘ to pursue imperial aggrandisement around the world without having to look over their shoulders at the recalcitrant Scots and Irish . For the most part they roped Scots /Irish and Welsh into their overseas development corporation which continued to bring prosperity to the home countries until the middle of the 20th century.

    As for the Monarchs powers being ‘minimal’ ? They have at least enough power to squeeze tens of millions of pounds out of the British taxpayer for their upkeep and maintenance .

    The Brits are of course entitled to squander their hard earned sterling on this dysfunctional royal shower . If I was a Brit I’d want to see this dynasty of Greek Fritzies shipped back to Saxe Coburg & Gotha on the next ferry out of Harwich 🙂

  • sammaguire

    I know this thread is dead but however:

    Only ten states in the US have Catholic majorities. Eight of these states are amongst the richest 20 states including 3 of the richest 4 (Conn.,New Jersey and Mass. : ref. 2003 average salary figures).

    Does this mean there is some type of Catholic work ethic at play? Not really more than likely it’s about geography and where certain immigrant groups settled.

    Similarly differences in wealth in Europe are more to do with geography and history than any perceived Protestant work ethic.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    “A new study shows that Protestant countries have higher employment rates than non-Protestant countries. And this is because of the Protestant work ethic, which makes subjects work hard…”

    Once and for all we can put to bed the SF/IRA/SDLP’s claims that discrimination is the major reason why the Protestant Community have a higher percentage of it’s population in work than their Roman Catholic counterparts. I’ve been saying this for years and I’ve been vindicated in doing so…we are more likely to be harder workers. Nothing more. Nothing less.

    It is in our (Protestant) psyche that we must work hard to better ourselves and our situation. Unfortunately, in the Roman Catholic community there have been generations who have believed they are “owed something” and if they aren’t given it then they must have been discriminated against because of their religion…generations of victimhood in other words.