The Ethic that produced a Ben Franklin or a John D. Rockefeller has imbued relatively few persons in Ceylon. There is no doubt that Ceylonese are as ambitious as other peoples, but their historic value systems have been quite different from that of Western society. Their status-achievement-work value matrix has been nurtured by institutions of government, education, marriage, social class, and caste—particularly by education in modern times. The major characteristics of this set of values are: (1) Employment in government service is of higher status than equivalent work in private enterprise; (2) Neither work itself nor idleness has much moral flavor, i.e., productive employment is not a value in and of itself; (3) Except for agriculture, manual employments of any type are denigrated, as are, to a lesser extent, entrepreneurial activities; (4) Thrift and savings are typically viewed as serving the purposes of consumption rather than of investment; (5) Wealth in land is more highly esteemed and secure than is any alternative form of investment. Although elements of this value set are shared by Sinhalese and Tamils, the present analysis has more explicit reference to the Sinhalese.

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