Many people think it’s because of profit. Capitalism enables people to maximize their profits, and that’s why it’s motivating.
I think this is wrong. I think the real reason capitalism is motivating is because it is based on freedom. The essence of capitalism is not “make us much money as you can” but rather “do what you choose to do. If it’s in the marketplace, you will have to do it profitably, but as long as you can do what you chose profitably, do whatever most fires you up.”
The profit motive is not bad. But it is not to be our primary motive, and it is not what is ultimately motivating to any human being who is rightly functioning.
If the government doesn’t allow profits, or inordinately seizes them, it is demotivating — not first because people are out for money above all things, but because the genuine fruits of their labors are being withheld from them.
But it does not follow from this that the chief motive in capitalism is or has to be money. Seizing people’s profits is demotivating; but what is ultimately motivating on the positive side is the opportunity to do what interests you, and do it in the best way you possibly can.
And, for the Christian, to do this to the glory of God.