Nov 1, 2011

Protestant Ethic and Prosperity: The case of Almolonga, Guatemala.

This is a revised version of my paper: Protestant Ethic and Prosperity: Vegetable Production in Almolonga, Guatemala. 

Weber’s theory of the protestant ethic helps explain economic prosperity in some communities in Latin America. Although some communities have valuable economic resources and also the entrepreneurial skills to transform those resources, the Protestant worldview has helped communities to get closer to their socio-economic potential, given market and institutional constraints. The indigenous community of San Pedro de Almolonga in the Guatemalan highlands has become a very prosperous town through the production and commercialization of vegetables. Prosperity has emerged due to the high fertility of the soil (which is a function of the geographic location of the town), to the entrepreneurial skills of its inhabitants, and to the high market demand for vegetables. This article argues that Protestantism has been an almost perfect complement that has made possible the maximization of Almolonga’s economic potential. Protestantism has provided the informal institutions that direct individual skills towards highly productive entrepreneurship.     

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