POL101-January 23rd, 2012- Lecture
WEBER: PROTESTANT ETHIC
- rich vs. poor
- why does the West become rich?
o The answer isn’t obvious at first sight
- Why did the West get rich?
o They stole it: imperialism
o Problem: why didn’t they steal It from us first?
o What are the origins of technological superiority
o If imperialism was the answer, the centre of global capitalism would
have involved great Britain or Spain
o the west was poor for a very long time
o Weather: warming of Europe after 15th century?
o Problem: why didn’t warm areas get rich first?
- Max Weber:
o What was it about northwest part of Europe that made it unique
o Protestantism and Capitalism
o Weber wasn’t the first to do this: in fact, most social theorists in fact
most social theorists were responding to Karl Marx
- Protestant Ethic:
o Published as two long articles in 1904 and 1905
o Opens it with a statistical fact : “business…
o Not merely a contemporary fact but an historical fact tracing the
association back, it can be shown that some of the early centers of 16th
century were strongly protestant
o Ready explanation? Break with economic traditionalism produced a
sloughing off of tradition and of religious institutions.
o But this interpretation does not stand up to scrutiny
o Reformation not an escape from controls of the church
o It involved a much higher degree of regulation of behaviour then that
which was demanded by Catholicism
o Protestantism adopts a stringent attitude towards relaxation and
enjoyment – especially renounced in Calvinism.
o Weber’s originality is an arguing that usually people caught up with
econ activity are indifferent or hostile to religion (their actions are
directed to material world Religion is directed to immaterial world)
o But Protestantism did not relax control of church over
o The origins of modern capitalist forms of rationality change
o Thus, injected a religion factor into all spheres of life of the believer.
There is clearly a relationship between Protestantism and modern