Notes Test 3.docx - Max Weber The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism(1904-5 Die protestantische Ethik und der'Geist des Kapitalismus broader

Notes Test 3.docx - Max Weber The Protestant Ethic and the...

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Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1904-5) Die protestantische Ethik und der 'Geist' des Kapitalismus broader project: to explore the economic relevance of diverse religious traditions i.e., there were “spiritual obstacles” that long served to restrain the emergence of societies and cultures dominated by economic interests and practices [the Protestantism and Modernity connection: Capitalism, Science, Democratization, and the culture of Individualism] Why Did Capitalism Originate in the West? (16th century) India and China and advanced parts of the Islamic world had many of the key elements: large, dense populations; skilled crafts; precious metals & coined and paper money; urban growth; advanced commerce and trading markets; the stirrings of science; literacy; complex and ordered societies With the fall of the Roman Empire, western Europe had become a backwater, passing through the “Dark Ages”: decline of literacy, local natural economies, crafts and technologies decay; urban contraction; militarization of the society Feudalism and the manorial economy (agrarian local self- sufficiency, limited markets, etc.). Weber maintained that there was an “elective affinity” between Protestantism and the development of Modern Capitalism What is Capitalism? A mode of production and distribution based upon 1. The production of commodities (goods and services) geared to the profit motive , rather than to use o need – satisfaction 2. The owners of property hire wage laborers who produce “surplus value” (they receive less in wages than the value of the products they produce – MARX) 3. Machine based production in factories with commodities sold on a mass market using a pricing mechanism that links supply & demand. Goal: profit maximization for the owners = they seek market dominance how to achieve? Lower costs of production, improve quality of products relative to prices accumulated profit reinvested to improve production & distribution – cant stop!!! Weber’s Introduction: the uniqueness of the Modern West carries global significance , now exercising world dominance in economic, military, political, and scientific domains Capitalism – “the most fateful force in our modern life” (p.17) “capitalism is identical with the pursuit of profit, and forever renewed profit”
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Systematic and relentless quest for profits, based on cost-benefit calculations or rational accounting everything is priced = the cash nexus as the ruling force in modern life Chapter I. Religious Affiliation and Social Stratification Notes current Protestant dominance in capitalistic enterprise, technical accomplishments, applied sciences the Protestant countries and regions of Europe – England, Holland, n. Germany – are more prosperous and modern than the Catholic areas, which are lagging Chapter II. The Spirit of Capitalism Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) exemplar of the “spirit” scientist, inventor, statesman, entrepreneur had a strict Calvinist upbringing Offers an “ ethos
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