The Puritan work ethic is the concept that hard work yields success which ultimately yields wealth. If one has wealth, then another might easily conclude that he who has wealth is a hard working, successful individual. Unfortunately, wealth played too important a status criterion in the society of the Puritans back in the seventeenth century. It stated and led many people to wrongfully conclude that if one has wealth, then one must be a hard worker, and in order for one to go to heaven [it was believed in those times], one must work hard. Because of this belief, anyone who had money was thought to be on his way to heaven! This work ethic was introduced to the New World by the Puritans, and has run rampant ever since.
This can be proved time and time again. Anyone who has ever cheated on a test, anyone who has ever stolen or embezzled money for the purpose of success is carrying out the Puritan work ethic. In addition to the previously mentioned statement, anyone who has ever falsely succeeded and become wealthy has made evident the Puritan work ethic. Anyone who has for their own good committed industrial sabotage or espionage is guilty of this. Rockefeller burned his competitors" oil wells, but he was never looked down upon. The Enron and Worldcom executives were guilty of the Puritan work ethic. Such was true of former president Bill Clinton with the Whitewater Scandal. Even someone as seemingly decent as Martha Stewart was guilty of this. So many wealthy people have evaded their taxes, even though they have more than enough money to pay them. These people are the CEO's of companies, companies upon which America's economy lies. These people are the leaders of the business world, living proof of the American dream, yet they have the audacity to embezzle moneys and evade taxes! People like this make America look bad.
How is this all so? How can such a corrupt concept introduced by a people who died out over 200 years ago still be present in America today? Is this plague of the "American Dream" ever going to be permanently corrected? The answer is no.