10
Accelerating Economic Growth

Our analysis has been pursued to its logical conclusion. We have uncovered certain psychological forces apparently making fairly universally for economic development, shown how they alter the activities of individuals in a society, particularly in the entrepreneurial class, and traced their origins to certain beliefs and child-rearing practices in the family. In the course of our study we encountered some great landmarks of historical thinking and came to a better understanding of how most of them represent partial insights into more general phenomena.

Thus the connection seen by Max Weber between the Protestant Reformation and the rise of the entrepreneurial spirit, which provided the jumping off point for this study, can now be understood as a special case, by no means limited to Protestantism, of a general increase in n Achievement produced by an ideological change. The profit motive, so long a basic analytic element among Marxist and western economists alike, turns out on closer examination to be the achievement motive, at least in the sense in which most men have used the term to explain the energetic activities of the bourgeoisie. The desire for gain, in and of itself, has done little to produce economic development. But the desire for achievement has done a great deal, and ironically it was probably this same desire that activated the lower middle-class leaders of the Russian Communist Party as well as the bourgeoisie they criticized so intensely.

The whole view of history shifts once the importance of the achievement motive is recognized. For a century we have been dominated by Social Darwinism, by the implicit or explicit notion that man is a creature of his environment, whether natural or social. Marx thought so in advocating economic determinism, in arguing that a man's psychology is shaped in the last analysis by the conditions under which he must work. Even Freud thought so in teaching that civilization was a reaction of man's primitive urges to the repressive force of social institutions beginning with the family. Practically all social scientists have in the past several generations begun with society and tried to create man in its image. Even Toynbee's theory of history is essentially one of environmental challenges, though he recognizes that states of mind can create internal challenges.

If our study of the role of achievement motivation in society does

-391-

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The Achieving Society
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents xiii
  • 1 - Explaining Economic Growth 1
  • 2 - The Achievement Motive: How it is Measured and Its Possible Economic Effects 36
  • 3 - Achieving Societies in the Modern World 63
  • 4 - Achieving Societies in the Past 107
  • 5 - Other Psychological Factors in Economic Development 159
  • 6 - Entrepreneurial Behavior 205
  • 7 - Characteristics of Entrepreneurs 259
  • 8 - The Spirit of Hermes 301
  • 9 - Sources of N Achievement 336
  • 10 - Accelerating Economic Growth 391
  • References 439
  • Appendices 451
  • Appendix I 453
  • Appendix II 461
  • Appendix III 464
  • Appendix IV 475
  • Appendix V 488
  • Appendix VI 492
  • Appendix VII 494
  • List of Tables 499
  • Index 503
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