Harvard Prof. Sees Ben Franklin’s “Way to Wealth” as Source for America’s Brand of Capitalism
Harvard Business School Asst. Professor Sophus A, Reinert and his colleagues have dug into history to explore the American brand of capitalism and its global impact.
Benjamin Franklin turns up at the source in a time when America was inhabited by that stern breed of Puritan Protestants who came to the New World for religious freedom. They were hard working and industrious, and Franklin captured their spirit in his Poor Richard’s Almanac. An essay entitled The Way to Wealth first appeared as a sermon by Father Abraham in Poor Richard’s Almanac in 1758.
This fascinating historical architectural finding appears in the Aug. 31, 2015, Harvard Business School Working Knowledge in an article by Julia Hanna. Clearly these thoughts have inspired many an entrepreneur.
According to Reinert, “I’m interested in how ideas reflect but also change economic realities – and how ideas can translate into policies.” He adds that he is intrigued by the lasting power of Franklin’s treatise on industry and frugality and its influence on capitalism, as we know it today.
Going back to the original The Way to Wealth treatise, we find the following gems:
“We are taxed twice as much by our idleness, three times as much by our pride, and four times as much by our folly.”
“God helps them that help themselves.”
“Sloth , like rust, consumes faster than pabor wears; where the used key is always bright.”
“The sleeping fox catches no poultry.”
“What we call time enough is always little enough.”
“He that riseth late must trot all day and shall scarce overtake his business at night”
“Drive they business, let not that drive three; and early tyo bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”
“Industry pays debts, while despair increases them.”
“Diligence is the mother of good luck. And God gives all things to industry.”
“Plough deep while sluggards sleep, and you shall have corn to sell and to keep.”
“Never leave to tomorrow what you can do today.”
“A small leak will sink a great ship.”
“If you would know the value of money, go out and borrow some; for he that goes borrowing goes a sorrowing.”
“The second vice is lying, the first is running in debt.”
“Creditors have better memories than debtors.”