Max Weber’s The Protestant Ethic And The Spirit Of Capitalism is a 110-year old essay that remains influential today and claims a relationship between the development of science, technology, and industry and the ideology of “ascetic Protestantism,” a label under which he groups Calvinists (American presbyterians), Pietists (Vanished in the US) , Methodists, and Baptists. The English translation is a short 124 pages. It is easy to read, not entirely convincing, and a window into the mind of a social scientist ca. 1900. The obvious flaw in Weber’s argument is the prominent role played in the scientific and industrial revolution by societies like England where ascetic Protestantism had little or no influence.
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“Dear Gemba coach,
Does respect for humanity mean the same as respect for people? I hear that the literal translation of the Japanese phrase “respect for people” is really respect for “humanness” – whatever that means?
I honestly don’t know, but it’s a very interesting point. I don’t know a word of Japanese,…”
“…but Jon Miller, who does, makes a similar point here: he says the original Toyota phrase really means ‘holding precious what it is to be human.'”
My comments: Yes, Jon Miller grew up in Japan, speaks Japanese like a native, and has done a great job translating Taiichi Ohno’s Workplace Management. With only four years of immersion in Japan, I am not at his level, but I know the language well enough to read the manufacturing literature and tell the difference between respect for people and respect for humanity in the TPS sense. Here are a few posts on this subject: