The society believes that time is a valuable resource and should be used wisely

This cultural belief is related to the previous one. If history moves forward and circumstances become better or worse, then people naturally sense a responsibility to use their time in a positive way, hoping to make their circumstances better. This is consistent with the teaching of the New Testament: “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:15-16).

By contrast, unproductive societies that remain in poverty often view time not as something valuable but as something to be endured, or as something to be used for seeking immediate pleasure and comfort.

Landes says that Protestant Northern Europe placed a much higher value on the use of time than other parts of the world. The use of clocks and watches “was far more advanced in Britain and Holland then in Catholic countries.”[1] This led these countries to be more productive.

The high value given to time and to saving time was most evident in Britain:

The British were in the eighteenth century the world’s leading producers and consumers of time keepers, in the country as in the city. . . .

The coaching services reflected this temporal sensibility: schedules to the minute, widely advertised; closely calculated arrival times and transfers; drivers checked by sealed clocks; speed over comfort; lots of dead horses.[2]

  • [1] Ibid., 178.
  • [2] Ibid., 224.
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