The Economic Performance of Great Religions
Ultimately, institutions and cultural preferences are opportunity cost patterns in terms of allinclusive mega-goods wealth and power while cultural preferences are preference rankings of collectivities for the same mega-goods. It is this trans-cultural perspective on institutions and cultures which makes possible that the consistency of a religion with economic performance to be looked at by taking into account religious rules and values that directly characterize mega-good power and only indirectly mega-good wealth. Consequently, besides criteria that have a direct bearing on the easiness to get wealth – the preference for absolute wealth, the type of asceticism, encouragement of saving and productive investment, the level of prohibition for interest - more numerous and better depicted criteria related to power can be employed such as: priests and churches as salvation mediators, encouragement of obedience, the nature of divinity, the type of social justice which is encouraged, man’s power over woman, the kind of ecclesiastical organization. All of the five religions which are analyzed - Protestantism, Catholicism, Orthodoxism, Islamism, Confucianism and Buddhism - show almost the same rankings of consistency with economic performance for all direct and indirect criteria which are employed.
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