Marx Weber Capitalism Essay

Capitalism, however, did not need ascetic Protestantism to survive.

Increased mechanization and the rise of capital-intensive labor allowed capitalism to shed its religious snares and its ideological support.

Viewed in the context of sociology as a whole, such a concept hardly seems to stand out.

Weber took pains to avoid being accused of constructing such a flimsy argument by emphasizing that his essay develops a much more nebulous theory of what Goethe called , or “elective affinity.” He borrowed from Goethe’s chemistry-born theory of human interaction and behavior to cultivate his own sociological theories regarding human motivation and its effect on history.Hegel and Marx, though they differed strongly on the point of liberal society being the ultimate end for Universal History, agreed that humanity’s long road winds forever forward.In Hegel’s dialectic, history climbs to higher ideas as thought systems in conflict iron out their contradictions.By selling as blessed the concepts of work and wealth as blessed, “ascetic Protestantism” – most specifically Calvinism, Pietism, Methodism, and Baptism – produces an environment amenable to the development of capitalism.According to Weber, this process occurs via the Calvinist concept of predestination, in which heaven is reserved for an elect and predetermined few (), and the rest of humanity is doomed to damnation.Puritans may have been the only ones that felt obliged to perform -style labor with such intensity centuries ago, but the work-imperative, the calling of productivity has now fallen on the heads of everyone in capitalist society.At last, Western capitalism has reached the point at which “man exists for the sake of business, instead of the reverse.”[4] A large volume of criticism leveled at Weber’s targeted his supposed causal relationship between the Protestant Reformation and the rise of capitalism.They do this because such behavior provides a visible sign of one’s grace; confidently and constantly fulfilling one’s vocational duty to God marks you as one of the chosen.Though such a positive view of labor seems intuitive today, it is only because we have forgotten about the major mechanism responsible for the connection between work and godliness.Weber thus reduces explanations of historical trends to the micro level and argues for the significance of ideas in driving humans and humans in driving change.Weber’s second departure from Hegel, Marx, and more contemporary modernization theorists lies in his pessimism.

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