Africa: A Protestant Work Ethic, and Not the Flash and Glamour of Prosperity Christianity, Is What Africa Needs

More than any other sect, Prosperity Christianity represents the adage of Karl Marx that ‘religion… is the opium of the people’. Showmanship, opulence, and miracles are crucial characteristics.

I recently reread Max Weber’s book, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. Weber wrote this book as a critic of Karl Marx, who posited the causal relationship between the substructure and the superstructure. The substructure is the means and relations of economic production. The means of economic production include the instruments used to produce goods and services, such as a tractor or a computer. The relations of economic production include owners of the instruments, the companys’ investors, and their relationship to the labour. The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is reducing the role of labour in economic production by replacing it with intelligent and automated machines.

In contrast, the superstructure is everything not directly linked to economic production, such as politics, culture, education, etc. In this regard, the means and relations of economic production influence the culture and the politics that emerge. On the other hand, culture and politics also influence the nature of economic production. In this book, Weber describes how religion, a superstructure, affects the means and relations of…

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