read online Best The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of CapitalismAuthor Max Weber – Stg2bio.co

One of the central disputes in Protestantism had long been that between the Calvinists and the Arminians The Calvinist believed that every person had been chosen by God in the beginning to be either saved or damned, and that there was nothing anybody could do to change his decision These elect individuals could not be certain of their salvation, but they might be identified by their tendency to live lives of piety and goodness In contrast, the followers of Arminius thought that each individ One of the central disputes in Protestantism had long been that between the Calvinists and the Arminians The Calvinist believed that every person had been chosen by God in the beginning to be either saved or damned, and that there was nothing anybody could do to change his decision These elect individuals could not be certain of their salvation, but they might be identified by their tendency to live lives of piety and goodness In contrast, the followers of Arminius thought that each individual could hope to gain salvation by repenting his sins and by asking God to bestow his Grace In the United Kingdom, Calvinism was centrally been found in Scots and Ulster Presbyterianism, while Arminianism had ruled among Anglicans and Methodists From the great revivals of the 1850s steadily until the Great War, this great divide began to dissipate A new division was emerging between liberals and conservatives Nevertheless, the old disputes limped on, still quite strenuously among Ulster Presbyterians who fought a bitter if obscure theological battle over church music So when a list of fundamental principles was formulated to unite conservative Christianity, these American fundamentalists tiptoed carefully to avoid stirring up the old dispute They made no mention of individuals turning to or putting trust in God, and no mention of predestination.Weber s most famous study has its focus in the Calvinists Calvin established a new kind of saintliness for merchants and artisans living first of all in Geneva, but later in London, Amsterdam and Edinburgh and then further afield The piety of the Calvinists had strong echoes of an older piety found in the best of the monasteries Like the monks, the life of a dutiful Calvinist was one of hard work and diligence, frugality and seriousness with little frivolity Since everything was pre ordained, this life of obedience and frugality could not be hoped to bring salvation Rather, it was a mere subservience to God s Law which, in Calvin s system, replaced the Rule of the great monastic leaders Calvinism also claimed the right of the Elect to rule over the non Elect in a theocratic political system The monks, in pursuing pious obedience, poverty and chastity had inadvertently made their houses and their orders rich So it was with the pious businessmen They too lived frugally and worked hard Without really intending to, the Calvinists made themselves and their households rich This was the so called Protestant ethic identified by Weber as giving birth to capitalism.After the Great War, Calvinism slipped finally from view, overtaken, diluted and absorbed by the Arminian doctrine that now became Protestant conservative or evangelical orthodoxy Protestants conservatives were now universally enjoined to turn to God, to confess their sins and put their trust in a God who would reciprocate by offering salvation The few people who still called themselves Calvinists merely emphasised the last part of this process, the positive activity of God There were still other movements within Protestantism, the enlightened theology of the Quakers or the Unitarians, for example, and the High Church found in Anglicanism, both of which, however, wereimportant as belonging to the liberal camp But it was now a different theological world We don t popularly associate capitalism with the religious idea of asceticism today, thinking of itin terms of conspicuous consumption and vulgar materialism if anything In this classic essay by Max Weber however, he lays out how the foundations of modern capitalism were actually laid in Protestant ideas of self restraint, worldly action, and a disdain for accumulating wealth for its own sake or engaging in slothfulness Its not a surprise to me that all our modern ideas, including in t We don t popularly associate capitalism with the religious idea of asceticism today, thinking of itin terms of conspicuous consumption and vulgar materialism if anything In this classic essay by Max Weber however, he lays out how the foundations of modern capitalism were actually laid in Protestant ideas of self restraint, worldly action, and a disdain for accumulating wealth for its own sake or engaging in slothfulness Its not a surprise to me that all our modern ideas, including in the West, have religious origins, as the contemporary philosopher John Gray has spent a lifetime pointing out Nonetheless I appreciated the detail that Weber added about how specifically Christian ideas and practices helped lay the foundations for capitalism in its productive stage Today these Christian ideas have largely withered away and been forgotten, leaving us trapped in the iron cage of rational organization that they helped create but without the vital spiritual component As the values of self restraint that made capitalism disappear, the idea of such a system as constructive or desirable disappear with it The lingering Protestant exhortation to praise work in itself may also become a hindrance to dealing with a world in which automation does many of the tasks that humans once did Luckily the medieval Christians considered contemplation a type of labor as well, something that perhaps people will now be motivated to rediscover the merits of.To get the most out of this book it would help to be very familiar with Christianity and the nature of its different sects I have a passing familiarity but not as much as I might ve liked to fully appreciate why Calvinism and Pietism may have had different impacts on the later development of capitalist society Protestantism is ballin.Amazing how much this book is about the hustler spirit dude who d buy in bulk, talk to his customers and push volume, figure out how to innovate to make a better product Break with tradition And apparently protestant women are very best at innovating, so says Weber.Weber basically writes to Marx at a couple points, referring to materialist theories, basically saying that Southern US plantations had all the time and talk of capitalists but the northern homesteaders g Protestantism is ballin.Amazing how much this book is about the hustler spirit dude who d buy in bulk, talk to his customers and push volume, figure out how to innovate to make a better product Break with tradition And apparently protestant women are very best at innovating, so says Weber.Weber basically writes to Marx at a couple points, referring to materialist theories, basically saying that Southern US plantations had all the time and talk of capitalists but the northern homesteaders got rich English in 1300 a bunch of scoundrels England after the seeing Lutherianism during the Thirty Years War ballin.This was an extremely embarrassing book to read while unemployed For years we have been assaulted by politicians and religious leaders preaching the Christian work ethic, yet I find little justification, if any, for the concept anywhere in the New Testament I happened to be discussing this with my dad a while ago, who also happens to be one of the smartest people I know, and he recommended Weber s book First published in 1905, it provoked considerable controversy Weber s thought was grounded in a belief that history is of critical portance to the social For years we have been assaulted by politicians and religious leaders preaching the Christian work ethic, yet I find little justification, if any, for the concept anywhere in the New Testament I happened to be discussing this with my dad a while ago, who also happens to be one of the smartest people I know, and he recommended Weber s book First published in 1905, it provoked considerable controversy Weber s thought was grounded in a belief that history is of critical portance to the social sciences and that material factors had enormous influence upon the course of history I didn t know any of this, I m stealing it from the introduction Weber was very critical of Marxism, but shared with Marx a concern for the evolution of industrialism capitalism In the first few chapters, Weber defines what he means by capitalism It s not just the pursuit of wealth that has been common to numerous cultures, but is an activity associated with the rational organization of formally free labor his italics Capitalism requires an organized labor force and a ready source of investment capital Some of these factors were not present in Hindu and Confucian societies Hinduism, in particular its tradition of caste, prevented the ready organization of the labor force Also, its emphasis on asceticism focused toward the otherworldly and afterlife, and tended to accentuate the non material Trade was highly developed in China as in India, but Confucianism permitted amaterial focus The Calvinist ethic combined Judaism s ethical prophecy that encouraged emulation of the prophet with the eastern traditions to form a philosophy of reformation, i.e achieve salvation through reforming the world by means of economic activity The development of the Western city was also important because they provided the foundation for political autonomy and the creation of a bourgeois society Eastern civilizations were hampered by strong kinship relationships that crossed the agrarian urban boundaries which tied the citiesfirmly to an agrarian tradition The problem that Weber articulates is that the Puritan wanted to work in a calling, for his salvation That work ethic was harnessed by capitalism because we have to work, the sale of our labor being the only means to material satisfaction The Protestant ethic a moral code stressing hard work, rigorous self discipline, and the organization of one s life in the service of God was made famous by sociologist and political economist Max Weber In this brilliant study his best known and most controversial , he opposes the Marxist concept of dialectical materialism and its view that change takes place through the struggle of opposites Instead, he relates the rise of a capitalist economy to the Puritan determination to work out anxiety over salvation or damnation by performing good deeds an effort that ultimately discouraged belief in predestination and encouraged capitalism Weber s classic study has long been required reading in college and advanced high school social studies classrooms if we now combine the strictures against consumption with this unchaining of the striving for wealth, a certain external result now becomes visible, the formation of capital through asceticism s compulsive saving 117 A canonical work in Social Theory, which quotes Goethe and Benjamin Franklin as much as it does academic sources, Weber s dry analysis of culture aims to explain why Protestantism seems to be so popular amongst successful capitalists For Weber the answer is that Protestantism en if we now combine the strictures against consumption with this unchaining of the striving for wealth, a certain external result now becomes visible, the formation of capital through asceticism s compulsive saving 117 A canonical work in Social Theory, which quotes Goethe and Benjamin Franklin as much as it does academic sources, Weber s dry analysis of culture aims to explain why Protestantism seems to be so popular amongst successful capitalists For Weber the answer is that Protestantism engenders a certain spirit, a capitalist spirit which has an elective affinity with modern capitalism capitalism based on the accumulation and constant expansion of capital Whilst dull, repetitive and dated, this work is key for its influence on subsequent sociologists Robert Michels, Georg Luk cs, the Frankfurt School etc as well as due to its place as a response to the Marxist theory of the role of culture in class society although his name isn t mentioned Chapter 1 Weber examines the occupational statistics noting how Catholics appear to be less successful capitalists than their Protestant compatriots Weber blames this on the death of economic traditionalism and resistance to traditional religious authority 4 Chapter 2 Weber explains the Spirit of Capitalism , which is the simple notion that people live for business rather than the reverse 31 This for Weber is the rationalised, religious way of organising life, and key to the development of Capitalism Chapter 3 Luther s concept of the Calling is studied by Weber Weber explains that the reformation birthed the Lutheran conception that one lives for a purpose, and must work studiously at this purpose, labouring for God ascetically, worshipping the this worldy aspect of their endeavours Since Calvinists hold that a sign of their entry to heaven is rooted in their success on Earth, they plunge all of their energy into accumulating capital and expanding their own empires, whilst shunning ostentation and earthly pleasure that would usually distract the wealthy classes.Chapter 4 This chapter sees Weber explicating the four major historical carriers of ascetic Protestantism , which are Western European Calvinists, Pietists, Methodists, and the sects birthed from Baptists Mennonites, Quakers etc 53.Chapter 5 The final and most important chapter, which I recommend you read if you re too impatient to sit through this dry text, simply concludes with Weber s final point summarising how the formation of capital arose through asceticism s compulsive saving 117 In this masterpiece of the social sciences, Max Weber puts forth a multifactorial analysis for the relationship between the origins of capitalism and transformations in the religious, social, and economic attitudes of Protestants regarding the concept of profession or vocation Beruf Weber argues that the spirit of capitalism is rooted in the belief that worldly work is a virtue in and of itself, epitomized by the dictum of Benjamin Franklin that time is money He traces the transformation In this masterpiece of the social sciences, Max Weber puts forth a multifactorial analysis for the relationship between the origins of capitalism and transformations in the religious, social, and economic attitudes of Protestants regarding the concept of profession or vocation Beruf Weber argues that the spirit of capitalism is rooted in the belief that worldly work is a virtue in and of itself, epitomized by the dictum of Benjamin Franklin that time is money He traces the transformation of the concept of vocation through the revolutionary use of relevant German language in the Luther translation of the Bible and through its various peregrinations through numerous Protestant sects, down to the early 20th century, at which point, he argues, the concept of the intrinsic value of work persists, though its original motivating spiritual impulse has long since faded Elements of Weber s theory struck me as fascinating, brilliantly conceived, and powerfully argued I was very impressed by his insistence on employing multiple techniques in analyzing economics, theology, philosophy, history, and sociology in tandem to unpack complex historical questions it s a refreshing exception to the all too common disciplinary binders we find among specialists, or worse the tendency in German thought toward unified overarching theories or systems I m not in a position to analyze his arguments on their empirical merits, but to a large degree that is beside the point As the authors put it in their excellent introduction, The Protestant Ethic has perennially survived in American sociology, and in other national traditions, too, not because of its ostensible veracity but because of its utility its protean aptitude to act as a catalyst of hypotheses or vehicle of multiple projects that have little to do with the impulse that originally animated it I began with Talcott Parson s translation, but found it rather unreadable Despite his importance as an original thinker in his own right, he is a mediocre translator, and I would enthusiastically recommend the Peter Baehr and Gordon Wells Penguin Classics edition instead It is farreadable It didn t exactly impress me nor did it convince me I found Weber s notion of an innocent and idealistic capitalism where profit is not the objective and the entrepreneurs should work for the uninterrupted trading of goods and capital, totally utopian It does not apply to our time and age, where capitalists have shown their true colours and their one and only concern profit, whatever the cost.So, The Protestant Ethic probably teaches us what good ideas can turn into It is difficult to get It didn t exactly impress me nor did it convince me I found Weber s notion of an innocent and idealistic capitalism where profit is not the objective and the entrepreneurs should work for the uninterrupted trading of goods and capital, totally utopian It does not apply to our time and age, where capitalists have shown their true colours and their one and only concern profit, whatever the cost.So, The Protestant Ethic probably teaches us what good ideas can turn into It is difficult to get through, not your average fun read I found interesting the last couple of chapters where the various branches of Protestantism are explained, because we don t do any courses on comparative religion at school most people in my country can t tell a Protestant from a Catholic.P.S I am very, very glad I wasn t born in a Quaker or Puritan community In The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Max Weber explores the relationship between certain religious characteristics of Protestantism and the spirit, or ethos , of capitalism He argues certain sects of Protestantism, primarily Calvinism, played a central role in capitalism s eventual cultural dominance Weber begins with the observation that Protestants overwhelmingly comprise the business elite and skilled labor force in comparison to Catholics According to Weber, this i In The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Max Weber explores the relationship between certain religious characteristics of Protestantism and the spirit, or ethos , of capitalism He argues certain sects of Protestantism, primarily Calvinism, played a central role in capitalism s eventual cultural dominance Weber begins with the observation that Protestants overwhelmingly comprise the business elite and skilled labor force in comparison to Catholics According to Weber, this is true across all nationalities However, Weber accredits this trend to the religious characteristics of Protestantism and its worldview For the rest of his book, he seeks to defend the causality between these two phenomenon.In order to understand Weber s thesis, it is necessary to grasp what he means by the spirit of capitalism Weber does not examine capitalism through concrete data about economic markets or trends Rather, he defines the spirit of capitalism as a complex of configurations in historical reality which we group together conceptually from the point of view of their cultural significance to form a whole According to Weber, this conception is not a singular definition but is instead an illustration of a kind of an ethos He focuses on capitalism as a cultural phenomenon, one that emphasizes the pursuit of profit as a virtuous end The ethic of this spirit is the making of money coupled with strict avoidance of all uninhibited enjoyment Weber argues that it was not accepted by society quite easily Rather, the capitalist spirit had to overcome the influence of traditionalism in society Traditionalism emphasized that people should work only insofar as it allowed them to live simply and traditionally It did not encourage the growth of productivity or wealth Although capitalism can also sometimes espouse traditionalist behavior, the development of the capitalist spirit is part of a total development of rationalism and must be derived from the fundamental attitudes towards the problem of life Weber asserts that the rationalist foundation underlying the capitalist spirit is derived from the Protestant idea of a calling Weber s understanding of the calling relates to the German word Beruf which, like the English word, means a duty or obligation that is derived from religion or God Weber explains that the idea of a calling was central to Luther s movement Luther s calling asserts that each individual has a call to abide by a worldly station or activity Fulfilling worldly obligations was central to being obedient to God s will However, Weber contends that the link between Protestant asceticism and the spirit of capitalism cannot be fully located in Luther s views Instead, he turns to Calvinism and Puritanism Calvinism s doctrine primarily adopts predestination as its foundational theology Calvinists believe that God ordains an elect group of people to be saved while everyone else is destined for hell We can never ascertain who is part of God s elect Instead, since all individuals saved or not exist for the sake of God s justice, they must end up assuming that they are saved and nonetheless try to carry out God s will.The Calvinist doctrine, according to Weber, created devastating effects on individuals psychological well being by causing unprecedented inner loneliness Calvinists are known, in fact, for rejecting sensual and tempting elements of culture Regardless, Weber praises Calvinism for its formulations of a logically consist and rationalized form of self control and ethics Weber s emphasis on Calvinism s rationalism colors his discussion of other sects In particular, compares the relationship between emotional and ascetic practices in Pietism, Methodism, and Baptists He argues that the Puritan idea of a calling is present within these sects emphasis on systematic obedience to God s will Weber is farcritical of these branches of Protestantism, but he argues that all of Protestantism s variations emphasize the necessity of completing practical work in order to fulfill one s religious duties.In the final chapter, Weber returns to his main thesis regarding the relationship between Protestantism and the development of capitalism Weber argues that Christian asceticism gave way to the idea of a calling, which in turn provided the basis of a rational conduct of life Asceticism pushed people away from monastic cells and inner worldliness and towards working life The capitalist tendency towards uniformity and the standardization of production would have never been possible without the spiritual idea that the ego and its desires should be fully rejected Thus, the pervasiveness of Puritanism was the vehicle for rational economic development The spirit of capitalism itself does not religious values, but the spread of certain spiritual ideas lead to its pervasiveness I appreciate Weber s work for its attempt to explain how powerful social and cultural institutions have arisen directly out of religious ideas Weber s work was certainly foundational for modern sociological thought and methodology However, as a student of religions, I found Weber s arguments rather frustrating Weber repeatedly notes that his accounts of various phenomenon are incomplete, but many of his discussions around cultural and religious ideas are entirely off base It is quite hard to prove that any form of religious practice or cultural symbol is logically consistent or rational For example, his assertion that Puritans were not interested in the supernatural clearly overlooks the fact that Puritanical laws were obsessed with witchcraft and forms of paganism Moreover, much recent scholarship has shown that Puritanism was not devoid of emotional religious experience to the extent that Weber asserts Perhaps if Weber paid greater attention to the lived experiences of the religions he glorifies and condemns I would be less skeptical of his descriptions Ultimately, he lacks proper case studies and descriptions of the lived experiences of Calvinists, Catholics, and other sects of Protestantism to back up his observations.Regardless of these flaws, Weber s work is an interesting response to Marxist theory Weber reasons that religion is a motivator for capitalism whereas Marx would argue that economic positions are the sole determinant of evolving human institutions including religion Weber dramatically opposes Marx s reductionist philosophy by affirming the power of religion and its ideas Although many such ideas, such as Luther s calling, transform in meaning and influence over time, Weber contends that these ideas carry enormous power in generating other social, economic, or cultural forces Thus, despite my frustrations with Weber, I have respect for his work and its influence on later philosophies related to cultural hegemony and legitimacy Interesting A short read of history, psychology, and economics and how Christianity shaped our modern economy and psychological behavior It s not War Peace, but it was acceptably intriguing Quote the care for external goods should only lie on the shoulders of the saint like a light cloak, which can be thrown aside at any moment But fate decreed that the cloak should become an iron cage Interesting A short read of history, psychology, and economics and how Christianity shaped our modern economy and psychological behavior It s not War Peace, but it was acceptably intriguing Quote the care for external goods should only lie on the shoulders of the saint like a light cloak, which can be thrown aside at any moment But fate decreed that the cloak should become an iron cage