Nationalism & Conflict The Protestant Ethic *Useful for Essay 2

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University of Toronto St. George
Political Science
Jeffrey Kopstein

POLSCI [Jan. 24 2010] (Continuation of Last Lecture) The Future of the Nation-State • If nationalism is a function of modern society, once modern society is “completed” shouldn’t the age of the nation-state pass? • Industrial capital society & nationalism go hand in hand • Challenges to the Nation-State o A) Regional integration  North America: NAFTA  NAFTA is not an overcoming of the nation-state o B) European Union o C) Local revival nationalism (Quebec) Nationalism & Conflict • Weber: Protestant Ethic • Why did the West get Rich? o They stole it: Imperialism  Problem: Why didn’t they steal it form us first? • Why didn’t the Aztec Empire come form Spain & steal from us?  What are the origins of technological superiority? o Weather: warming up of Europe after the 15 Centaury?  Problem: Why didn’t warm areas get rich first? • What was it about northwest Europe that made it unique? o It was Protestant & Capitalist o Weber wasn’t the first to notice this: in fact most social theorists were responding to Carl Marx • Protestant Ethic o Published about 100 years ago o Opens with a statistical fact, “business leaders and owner of capital… are overwhelmingly protestant” o Not merely a contemporary fact but a historical fact • Religion is related to economic status o But this interpretation is up to scrutiny because reformation is not an escape from controls of the church. It involves a much higher degree of regulation of behavior than that which was demanded by Catholicism. o Protestantism adopts a stringent attitude towards relaxation and enjoyment, especially renounced in Calvinism o Protestantism cannot be the result of capitalism because it happened before • Weber originally argues that when people are caught up in economics they usually are indifferent or hostile to religion but Protestantism didn’t relax the church on day-to-day activities, it intensified it & demanded MORE rigorous discipline than Catholicism. • Weber Analyzes impact o He distinguishes other forms of capitalism as “economic traditionalism” o Why do people work more than they need to live?  Because if you give them more money they buy more stuff.  Traditionalism is by no means incompatible with greed for wealth  Selfishness is found in all societies o Modern Capitalism is founded on the idea that you have to work for a duty o Weber identifies the principal features of the “spirit” of modern capitalism: o For the protestant the calling of an individual is to fulfill his duty to god through the moral conduct of his day-to-day life o This impels Protestantism away from the ideal of Catholic monastic isolation  Lutheranism however cannot be regarded as the main source of capitalist spirit o Later protestants sects that make up what Weber calls “aesthetic protestants” o Analysis on Ca
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