For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Trade and Usury"

by Luther, Martin (1955)


THE HOLY GOSPEL condemns and points out all sorts of works of darkness, as Saint Paul calls them, Romans, 13, 12; for it is a bright light that shines for all the world, and teaches how evil are the works of the world, and shows the right works which one should do towards …

Key Passage

In deciding how much profit you ought to take on your business and your labor, there is no better way to reckon it than by estimating the amount of time and labor you have put on it and comparing it with that of a day laborer, who works at another occupation, and seeing how much he earns in a day. On that basis reckon how many days you have spent in getting your wares and bringing them to your place of business, how great the labor has been and how much risk you have run, for great labor and much time ought to have so much the greater returns. That is the most accurate, the best and the most definite advice that can be given in this matter; if anyone mislikes it, let him better it. My ground is, as I have said, in the Gospel, “A laborer is worthy of his hire,” and Paul also says, “He that feedeth the flock shall eat of the milk; who goeth to war at his own cost and expense?” If you have a better ground than that, you are welcome to it. (p.12)


Luther, Protestantism, Usury, Trade, Political Economy, Economic History, Theology, Natural Law, Reformation, Theology


Luther, Protestantism, Religious Views on Work

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