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Weber: Protestant Ethic

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Department
Political Science
Course Code
POL101Y1
Professor
T A

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POL101 Jan. 24 , 2011 Weber: Protestant Ethic Why are some areas rich, while others are poor? Why did the West get rich? They stole it: imperialism Problem: why didn’t they steal it from us first? What are the origins of technological superiority? Weather: warming up of Europe after 15 century? Problem: why didn’t warm areas get rich first? Weber What was it about northwest part of Europe that made it unique? Protestantism & capitalism (Protestantism ideology of capitalists because it was less restrictive; Marxism) Weber was not the first to do this: in fact most social theorists were responding to Karl Marx Protestant Ethic Published as two long articles in 1904 & 1905 Opens it with a statistical fact: “business leaders.. Not merely a contemporary fact but a historical fact: tracing the association back, it can be shown that some of the early centers of capitalist development were Protestant But this interpretation does not stand up to scrutiny Reformation not an escape from controls of the church It involved a much higher degree of regulation of behaviour than that which was demanded by Catholicism Protestantism adopts a stringent attitude towards relaxation & enjoyment – especially renounced in Calvinism Therefore: must look to specific character of Protestant beliefs if we are to account for connection between Protestantism & economic rationality Weber not the first to see the correlation between capitalism & Protestantism, but usual interpretation was Marxist Weber’s originality is in arguing that usually people caught up with economic activity are indifferent or hostile to religion (their actions are directed to material world; religion is directed to immaterial world) But Protestantism did not relax control of church over day to day activities but intensified it & demanded MORE rigorous discipline than Catholicism www.notesolution.com Injected a religious factor into all spheres of life of the believer Anomaly demands other forms of capitalism as “economic traditionalism” the attitudes toward labour are symptomatic of this: “a man does not ‘by nature’ wish to earn more and more money, but simply to live as he lives & as he is accustomed to live, & to earn.. Traditionalism is by no means incompatible with greed for wealth: “absolute & conscious ruthlessness in acquisition has often.. so “adventurers capitalism” pirates, booty through military conquest Quite different from modern capitalism, however, which is founded not on the amoral pursuit of gain Weber identifies the principal features of the “spirit” of modern capitalism: Concept of the calling (Beruf) only came into being at the time of the reformation. It is not found, nor does any synonym exist in Catholicism or antiquity. It serves to bring the mundane affairs of everyday life within an all-embracing religious influence. The calling of the individual is to fulfill his duty to god through the moral conduct of his day-to-day life. Impels the emphasis of Protestantism. Away from the catholic ideal of monastic isolation, with rejection of temporal, into worldly pursuits Lutheranism, however, cannot be regarded as the mains source of capitalis
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