Weber: Protestant Ethic 01/20/2014
He is German.
Why did the West Get Rich?
A. They stole it: imperialism
> Problem: why didn’t they steal it from us first?
* clearly not enough to go over and take stuff.
> What are the origins of technological superiority?
B. Weather: warming up of Europe after 15 Century.
> Problem: why didn’t warm areas get rich first?
* England was with the worst weather, worst food, so why did England get wealthy?
Max Weber What was about northwest part of Europe made it unique?
Protestantism and Capitalism.
> “Capitalism causes Protestantism” According to a Marxist.
Weber wasn’t the first to do this: in fact most social theorists were corresponding to Karl Marx.
> Marx said power is in the people who have the means of production , how do we find that? Culture? And
culture is a part of RELIGION.
> Weber is responding to Marx, everyone is.
Not merely a contemporary fact but 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 produces a sloughing off of tradition of religious
institutions. > Capitalist likes Protestantism because it got rid of economic traditionalism of Catholicism.
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 behavior than that which was demanded by Catholicism.
Protestantism adopts a stringent attitude towards relaxation and enjoyment especially renounced in
▯ what did Webber mean by this?
Difference between Catholicism/ Protestantism beliefs/ethics.
In Catholicism: if you have committed sin, you can go to the priest to tell you the status of your soul.
In Protestants: There is no higher authority that can determine the status of your soul.
Therefore > You have to harness every single moment to make the status of your soul better, and
everything you did in your life was subject to this evaluation.
> AND SO : Protestant was the hard religion. Weber’s originality is in 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)
But Protestantism did not relax control of church: because the person knew now that had to behave all
hours because god is watching.
THUS, injected a religious factor into all spheres of life of the belier. There is clearly a relationship
between Protestantism and capitalism.
Anomaly demands not only an analysis of the content of protestant beliefs and assessment of impact on
followers but also specification of particular characteristics of modern western capitalism as a forms of
Traditionalism is by no means incompatible with greed for wealth. “Absolute and conscious ruthlessness in
There is difference between modern capitalism – and before!
> Modern: The discipline to actually get up and work.
The discipline to get up and go make as much money as possible but don’t have a reason to enjoy it.
Quotes of reflection: