The Protestant work ethic is a Calvinist value emphasizing, for every man, the need to follow the values of work , savings, and discipline. Protestants, beginning with Martin Luther , rethought work as a duty, leading to a common benefit for the individual and for society.
The term was first used by Max Weber , in his work The Protestant Ethics and the Spirit of Capitalism . The Protestant work ethic is often credited with having marked societies where Protestantism was strong, notably the Scandinavian, Germanic, British and American nations. In these societies, it is generally regarded as one of the pillars of national prosperity. See emergence of capitalism according to Max Weber .
With Jean Calvin , the incentive to work is reinforced by the notion of predestination. According to this, God would have chosen those who will be damned and those who will be saved, without the individual being able to do anything about it. This predestination would have been a great source of anguish if it were not decipherable during earthly life by signs such as economic success