SOCI 100 Lecture Notes - Lecture 15: Alexis De Tocqueville, Wage Labour, Investment

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4 Jun 2020
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Tocqueville was afraid that freedom would be threatened by the extension of bureaucratic
power
Weber believed that bureaucratic centralization was expanding everywhere
Bureaucracy wants everyone to be equal. Bureaucracies love democracy,
demand democracy.
The european state was only part of it. There is a world-wide development
to advance rationalization, the rational organization that bureaucracy is a
part of
Rationalization is a process that you can’t ignore. It is about what
makes humankind extraordinary
It is an expression of humankind’s ability to organize the world. In
the process it will create a bureaucratic monster
Modern science undermines faith and religion
If science challenges religion then where and how will we
frame the meanings of our lives?
Weber argued that Marx’s concept was a scientific achievement of the first rank
Marx’s achievement was of conceptual greatness
Doesn’t necessarily answer all the questions of new times
Agrees with Marx that you cannot understand modern society unless you
understand the mode of production
Without a materialist foundation, you cannot fully understand society
The problem with materialism is that people become too reliant on it
Necessary to know but not sufficient for us to have everything we need
One thing Marx did not explain: what is the origin of the capitalist mode of
production in the West rather than somewhere else? And why did it emerge? And
why only in parts of the west?
Who are the first guys? Why did they do what they did?
There are factors that led to the creation of capitalism, and once it emerged, it
became a powerhouse
The crucial condition for us, is to see that there were people before capitalism
emerged, that already had a capitalist mentality
Why? It is unnatural. What are the other motivations.
Weber
1864-19--?(died of a flu epidemic)
Born into a wealthy Calvanist family, father was a member of a German political
party, member of the Prussian parliament
19 y.o when Marx died, studied ancient economics and law
Charismatic and compelling in argumentative style however decided to become a
scholar instead
Weber became depressed after his father died in 1898
One of the first to give PhDs to women, to socialists,
Opposed to the use of submarines in WWI bc it would bring the US into the war
and defeat Germany
He was right
Commentator of German politics
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Capitalist Enterprise v. Capitalist System
European powers were trying to catch up with England but no one knew the formula for
capitalist production
Germans created a set of incentives and system to encourage capitalist investment ->
rapid industrialization, caught up with Britain
Led to tremendous social turmoil
People thrown out of farms and forced to move to cities
Anti-capitalist, anti-industrialization revolution in the 1930s
Conflict on the level of popular opinion
The catholic church took a stance against capitalism
Capitalism represents the first of the 7 deadly sins- greed
Capitalism is the embodiment of the human capacity of evil
Capitalism cares about nobody- “just like the Jews”
“Just because there’s no evidence doesn’t mean it’s not true”
Weber says that in some ways the enemies of the capitalism are right that there is a
difference between the attitude of capitalists and the people that came before
Before, The mentality was towards consumption
But capitalists, entrepreneurs’ attitudes are dominant
“Attitude” = “spirit”
A mental attitude and way of thinking
Materialist explanation may not be enough always
Ideal interests- interests that we have as humans that go beyond material interests
The most important one we have as humans is religion
We have to care about where capitalists come from because we can then understand a
force in the world that lead them to power
If you want to understand how capitalism works now, look at Marx
Explains how capitalism is forced, market ways, etc
The problem now with marxists is that they tend to think that only material
conditions tend to explain everything
It’s reductive.
Material conditions cannot explain why some people changed their approach towards
investment and capitalistic production
Marxism cannot explain the gap between two different time periods
How people in pre-capitalist environment are capable of doing things for
economic practices in a capitalist environment
Weber asks who are the first capitalists? What is the cause that drives them to become
hard-driving capitalists?
There’s something in the way we see certain people
We work more and more to get money
It is a cultural drive. Not natural. A drive we developed in our social and culture
lives. A product of our society
For capital to exist, owners of money must find laborers
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