Lecture 5 Oct 9 07

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9 Aug 2010
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LECTURE #5 oct. 9, 07
Max weber and the protestant Ethics
Essay questions: do marx and weber fundamentally agree or disagree about the role of ideas in
causing the rise and demise of social orders?
5 pages. Double spaced, 12 font, no long quotations but lots of references to texts. Eg. ¯As weber
notes on early capitalism (p.24), most ppl did not want to work.°
Due oct 23, 07, no bibliography, only use textbooks
- 1864-1920
- seen as a bourgeois marx
- manage to secure himself, a professor
- died relatively young, he was considered as a father of sociology and poli sc
- came from a politically liberal walthy nationalist family
- he was a poligot, spoke and read 8 or 10 languages
- he was also, unlike marx, he was involved in normal kind of politics in germany
- he was deeply unhappy, suffered from psychological problem
- appears that he had a potonic (no sex) relationship with his wife
- dies at 56 yrs of age
- interested in economic ethics of world religions, authority and power, public administration, political
parties, spoke or read 10 languages
Response to Marx
- yes, capitalism is triumphant,
- ¯spirit of capitalism is triumphant. Rational and orderly pursuit of gain. But this is not obvious. There
have always greedy ppl and heroes but that is different from the spirit of capitalism
- greedy ppl always pursue money
Weber and Protestanism
- Catholicism was strongest in europe where weber notices that the part of europe that became rich
first, was protestant
- strange b/e religion, serious religion is usually associated with rejection of worldly affairs and pursuit
of economic gain
- catholicism vs protestant
- but what is protestantism?
- the only thing that matters is your faith, faith alone, there is no priest will help
- priest is the mediator and superior
- Luther¬s protestant reformation in 1517 (¯scripture and faith alone°)
- but is it the case that protestantism was better for capitalism? Conventional wisdom. Yes
- weber says no! difficulty of salvation. Role of individual vs. priest
- catholicism is the easy religion, b/c you can do anything you want, your status of soul
- protestant is a hard religion, b/e god is everywhere, totalitarianism
- what is you could not know the status of your soul? You would desperately try to find out
- idea of calling
- orderly accumulation, sober action, success but not consumption. Just maybe this might, perhaps be
a sign that you are part of the elect and not the damned, wordly aseedicism, deny yourself pleasures,
consumption, monestary, everyone is a monk all for the glory of god
- this changed the behaviour of huge number of ppl
Weber Thesis
- How much all ppl work? As much as necessary to live and no more
- what happens if you raise their wages? They work less!
- how do you get ppl to start acting like little capitalists?
- weber maintained that certain types of protestantism had an ¯elective affinity° with the spirit of
- the use of money for pleasure or luxuries would be sin and certainty of salvation would be the sin of
- changing time orientation: from traditional to modern time. What if every minute were important for
your salvation
- Result: worldly ascetiscism
- from this we get accumulation. Weber tells us about the origins of capitalism
- perhaps even more important, he tells us about the origins of modern rationality, of which capitalism
is just one part
- sober, orderly, reason, cold, calculating world
- rationalism: 1. cost/benefit 2. De-mystification 3. Orderliness, everything is in its place
- entire mind set how the world work, disenchantment, ppl lose pleasing illutions
- irony: the irrational origins of modern rationalism
- the key here is that weber¬s ¯hero° is the modern rational man(woman): capitalists and workers are
both ¯capitalists°
Weber and capitalism: common misconceptions
- argument is historical: the spirit of capitalism captures an entire society at a specific point in history/
europe sets capitalism in motion
- once it does so, it doesn¬t matter what religion you are. We are all ¯protestants° we are all
- weber didn¬t necessarily ¯like° protestantism
- weber didn¬t think capitalism was all that great either, iron cage
- but there¬s no happt ending, no escape
- if marx is a materialist, is weber an idealist?
- material life vs religious life