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How the West Got Rich

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University of Toronto St. George
Political Science
Jeffrey Kopstein

POL101 How the West Got Rich January 24 2011 Weber: Protestant Ethic Guns, Germs, and Steel* Why is it that some areas are rich and some areas are poor? Why did the West Get Rich? They stole it: imperialism Problem: why didnt the Aztecs steal it from the West first? What are the origins of technological superiority? Weather: warming up of Europe after the 15 century? Problem: why didnt warm areas get rich first? Max Weber What was it about northwest part of Europe that made it unique? Protestantism and capitalism Weber wasnt the first to do this: in fact most social theorists were responding to Karl Marx Protestant Ethic Published two long articles in 1904 and 1905 Opens it with a statistical fact: business leaders and owners of capital, as well as the higher grades of skilled labour ,and even more the higher technically and commercially trained personnel of modern enterprises, are overwhelmingly protestant. Not merely a contemporary fact but nan historical fact: tracing the association back, it can be shown that some of the early centers of capitalist development in the early part of the 16 century were strongly protestant Ready explanation? Break with economic traditionalism produced a sloughing off of tradition and of religious institutions Weber wants to know what the relation between religion and economic development is
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