5 Weber - MAX WEBER The Pmtestam Ethic. and. the Spirit of...

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Unformatted text preview: MAX WEBER The Pmtestam Ethic. and. the Spirit of Capitalism TRANSLATED BY TALCOTT PARSONS INTRODUCTION BY ANTHONY GIDDENS Fellow of King’s College, Cambridge CHARLES SCRIBNER’S SONS NEW YORK ! i'i 1. .<' r {i ii ‘ fw- g undert l 22726 Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitafism important pointw—no longer lived outside the world in monastic communities, butwithin the world and its institutions. This ratigigalization o conductwithin a “comma, i. { c the, Wilsfifllléfififi "shim sfrsascetic 7 View fis’flyi T, w iaPrstestsstism. Christian asceticism, at first fleeing from the world into solitude, had already ruled the world which it had renounced from the monastery and through the Church. But it had, on the whole, left the naturally spontaneous character of daily life in the world unu- -touched. Now it strode into the marketplace of life, WWW, .( momma was walla-{mm 'mrwnwmaJ a life fashion it the orld. With“ what ,_ w, mme “wwamwwmcmuwn Mu slammed the door l world, but neither of nor f result, we shallwtry to maize clear the following discussion. 154» CHAPTER V ASCETICISM AND THE SPIRIT OF CAPITALISM iN order to understand the connection between the fundamental religious ideas of ascetic Protestantism and its maxims for everyday economic conduct, it is necessary to examine with especial care such writings as have evidently been derived from ministerial prac~ tice. For in a time in which the beyond meant every»: thing, when the social position of the Christian depended upon his admission to the communion, the clergyman, through his ministry, Church discipline, and preaching, exercised an influence (as a glance at collections of corzsz'lzn, cams conscieiztz’ce, etc., shows) which we modern men are entirely unable to picture. in such a time the religious forces which express themselves through such channels are the decisive influences in the formation of national character. For the purposes of this chapter, though by no means for all purposes, we can treat ascetic Protestant- ism as a single whole. But since that side of English Puritanism which was derived from Calvinism gives the most consistent religious basis for the idea of the calling, we shall, following our previous method, place one of its representatives at the centre of the m discussion. Richardéfiaxterfitands out above many ~._s,...m,« other writers on Puritan ethics, both because of his eminently practical and realistic attitude, and, at the same time, because of the universal recognition accorded to this works, which have gone through many M is? {fin-ij ~ c {A The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capiiaiism new editions and translations. He was a Presbyterian and an apologist of the Westminster Synod, but at the same time, like so many of the best spirits of his time, gradually grew away from the dogmas of pure Calvin- ism. At heart he Opposed Cromwell’s usurpation as he would any revolution. He was unfavourable to the sects and the fanatical enthusiasm of the saints, but was very broad-minded about external peculiarities and objective towards his opponents. He sought his field of labour most especially in the practical prom0~ tion of the moral life through the Church. In the pursuit of this end, as one of the most successful ministers known to history, he placed his services at the disposal of the Parliamentary Government, of Cromwell, and of the Restoration,1 until he retired from office under the last, before St. Bartholomew’s daye HiS’/Q駧,éiaa,a9zteciarrft is the most complete compendium of Puritan ethics, and is continually adjusted to the practical experiences of his own minis- terial activity. In comparison we shall make use of Spener’s Theologische 'Bedenken, as representative of German Pietism, Barclay’s Apology for the Quakers, and some other representativcs of ascetic ethics,2 which, however, in the interest of space, will be limited as far as possible.3 i V j Now, in glancing at Baxter’s Saints’ Everlasting Rest, g or his Christian Directory, or similar works of others,‘1 1 one is struck at first glance by the emphasis placed, in the discussion of wealth5 and its acquisition, on the ebionitic elements of the New Testament}; Wealth as such is a great danger; its temptations never end, and its pursuit7 is not only senseless a pomparejd with _ lht Asceticitm and the Spirit of Capitalism the dominating importance of the Kingdom of God, but it is morally suspect. Here asceticism seems to have torned much more sharply against the acquisition of earthly goods than it did in Calvin, who saw no hinm drance to the effectiveness of the clergy in their wealth, but rather a thoroughly desirable enhancement of their prestige. Hence he permitted them to employ their means profitably. Examples of the condemnation of the pursuit of money and goods may be gathered without end from Puritan writings, and may be contrasted with the late medimval ethical literature, which was much more open-minded on this point. Moreover, these doubts were meant with perfect seriousness; only it is necessary to examine them somewhat more closely in order to understand their true ethical significance and implications. Themreal njgral ohieadmins”.stowrelaaationainwthesecurity,aof P9§§§§§i§lh§Lil§a£lllQflllfillllmsofawealthawithi,_the.,CtOIlSC” QEERicfiiflfiinthfi flesh, {them/tallest}. actionframithepursuit of a righteous life. In fact, it is only because possession involves this danger of relaxation that it is objectionable at all. For the saints’ everlasting rest is in the next world; on earth man must, to be certain of his state of grace, “do the works of him who sent him, as long as it is yet day”. Not leisure and enjoyment, but only activity serves to increase the glory of God, according to the definite manifestations of His will.9 Waste of time is thus the first and in principle the deadliest of sins. The span of human life is infinitely short and precious to make sure of one’s own election. Loss of time through sociability, idle talk,10 luxury,u I57 The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism even more sleep than is necessary for health,12 six to at most eight hours, is worthy of absolute moral conw dermiation.13 It does not yet hold, with Franklin, that time is money, but the proposition is true in a certain spiritual sense. it is infinitely valuable because every hour lost is lost to labour for the glory of God.” Thus inactive contemplation is also valueless, or even directly reprehensible if it is at the expense of one’s daily work.” For it is less pleasing to God than the active performance of His will in a calling.16 Besides, Sunday is provided for that, and, according to Baxter, it is always those who are not diligent in their callings who have no time for God when the occasion demands it.17 " Accordingly, Baxter’s priasipalnnrk is_,.dorninatsd by the continually”.repeated. often pimps! passionate Prasgfiifisblllerdrisqntisusils bodily. 9; mental lahgurlil , It is due to a combination of two different motives.19 1 Labour summonsesascetic tsshniqns in ’ the Western Church, in sharp contrast not only to the Orient but to almost all monastic rules the world over.21 It is in particular the specific defence against all those tempta- tions which Puritanism united under the name of the unclean life, whose role for it was by no means small. The sexual asceticism of Puritanism differs only in degree, not in fundamental principle, from that of monasticism; and on account of the Puritan conception of marriage, its practical influence is more far-reaching than that of the latter. For sexual intercourse is per- mitted, even within marriage, only as the means willed by God for the increase of His glory according to the commandment, “Be fruitful and multiply.” 22 Along r58 Asceticz‘sm and the Spirit of Capitalism. with a moderate vegetable diet and cold baths, the same prescription is given for all sexual temptations as is used against religious doubts and a sense of moral unworthiness: “‘Work hard in your calling.” 23 But the most important thing was that even beyond that labour came to be considered in itself 24 the end of life, ordained as such by God. St. Paul’s “He who will not work shall not eat” holds unconditionally for every~ 0116-25 Unwilliasasss Iaehnfigracei“ Here the difference from the medizeval viewwpoint becomes quite evidentffhomas Aguinahialso gave an?" interpretation of that statement of St. Paul. Bhutmfor hisfiilabsnaisnalmssrssary nzzatyrali l’élliQflé’. _..f0.r. the of individual rdag,chllllllllRl/txalYllQflsllllS a ,_ _ asestolarcenymeaning Moreover, it holds only for the race, not for every individual. It does not apply to anyone who can live without labour on his possessions, and of course contemplation, as a spiritual form of action in the Kingdom of God, takes precedence over the command- ment in its literal sense. Moreover, for the popular theology of the time, the highest form of monastic productivity lay in the increase of the Thesaurus ecclesz'ce through prayer and chant. Now only do these exceptions to the duty to labour naturally no longer hold for Baxter, but he holds most emphatically that wealth does not exempt anyone from the unconditional command.2,,8 gyenvthewealthy shall not eat without working, for even though they do not ne‘éa"’t6‘1n§éfir“ta‘éufiport their own needs, there is God’s commandment which they, like the poor, must 159 The Protestant Ethic and the lgpirit of Capitalism 7 about 139:- transaewitheut exception See’sPravi” ~ dencehas prepared a calling, which he should profess and in And this calling is-not"; as it was for themLutheran,_3°ua fate to which hewmust submit and which: he must make the bestoflbut, God’s .. commandment t0 the individual._to..no.tkforth¢ shrine i: This'seerninglysubtledifference had far-reaching psychological consequences, and became connected with a further development of the providential interpretation of the economic order which had begun in scholasticism. The phenomenon of the division of labour and occupations in society had, among others, been inter- preted by Thomas Aquinas, to whom we may most conveniently refer, as a direct consequence of the divine scheme of things. But the places assigned to each man in this cosmos follow ex causis naturalibus and are fortuitous (contingent in the Scholastic termin- ology). The differentiation of men into the classes and occupations established through historical development became for Luther, as we have seen, a direct result of the divine will. The perseverance of the individual in the place and within the limits which God had assigned to him was a religious dun/.31 This was the more certainly the consequence since the relations of Luther— anism to the world were in general uncertain from the beginning and remained so. Ethical principles for the reform of the world could not be found in Luther’s realm of ideas; in fact it never quite freed itself from Pauline indifference. Hence the world had to be accepted as it was, and this alone could be made a religious duty. But in the Puritan View, the providential character of the play of private economic interests takes on a to: i} Ascetz‘cz‘sm and the Spirit of Capitalism somewhat different emphasis” True to the Puritan tendency to pragmatic interpretations, therptovidential PU{139%emigfilhssiting?,,QflalRWSlSl0 be known, by its fruits. On this point Baxter expresses himself in terms which more than once directly recall Adam Smith’s well-known apotheosis of the division of labour.32 The specialization of occupations leads, since it makes the development of skill possible, to a quantitative and qualitative improvement in production, and thus serves the common good, which is identical with the good of the greatest possible number. So far, the motivation is purely utilitarian, and is closely related to the customary view-point of much of the secular literature of the time.” But the characteristic Puritan element appears when Baxter sets at the head of his discussion the statement that “outside of a well~marked calling the accomplish-e ments of a man are only casual and irregular, and he spends more time in idleness than at: work”, and when he concludes it as follows: “and he [the specialized worker] " A will carrngnt constant cor , . “flmmm..-” w vavrr thétéiore, entertainedHeaths latest, for .m- m‘mw1w,¢~.v “everyone” . Irregular work,which the ordinary labourer is w m-W’ ofien forced to accept, is often unavoidable,but always an unwelcome state of transition. man without a calling ‘ thus leeks-tlis.n:ststnatieraetlitéilisal Cliiiiifétér Whith is, demanded by. Worldly asseticism, The Quaker ethic also holds that a man’s life in his calling is an exercise in ascetic virtue, a proof of his state of grace through his conscientiousness, which is ‘ expressed in. the care 35 and method with which he g pursues his calling. What God demands is not labour 16; tomes.,nslfltsnwss,liaonsnsitcsrtime " The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism in itself, but rational labour in a calling. In the Puritan concept of the calling the emphasis is always placed on this methodical character of worldly asceticism, not, as with Luther, on the acceptance of the lot which God has irretricvably assigned to man,33 Hence the question whether anyone may combine several callings is answered in the affirmative, if it is useful for the common good or one’s own,” and not injurious to anyone, and if it does not lead to un- faithfulness in one of the callings. Even a change of calling is by no means regarded as objectionable, if it is not thoughtless and is made for the purpose of pursuing a calling more pleasing to God,38 which means, on general principles, one more useful. It is true that the usefulness of a calling, and thus its favour in the sight of God, is measured primarily in moral terms, and thus in terms of the importance of the goods produced in it for the community. But a further, and, above all, in practice the m0st important, criterion is found in private profitableness.39 For if that God, whose hand the Puritan sees in all the occurrences of life, shows one of His elect a chance of profit, he must do it with a purpose. Hence the faithful Christian must follow the call by taking advantage of the opportunityf10 “If God show you a way in which you may lawfully get more than in another way (without wrong to your soul or to any other), if you refuse this, and choose the less gainful way, you cross one of the ends of your calling, and you refuse to be God’s steward, and to accept His gifts and use them for Him when He requircth it: you may labour to be rich for God, though not for the flesh and sin.”41 162 Ascetz’cfsm and the Spirit (5” Hopizfalism temptation. foolishness,eniwment of he, and its acquisition is bad only when it is with the purpose of later living merrily and without care. But as a performanceof dutyin a calling it isnotonly morally permissible, but actually enjoined.‘12 The parable of the servant who was rejected because he did not increase the talent which was entrusted to him seemed to say so directly}3 To wish to be poor was, it was often argued, the same as wishing to be unhealthy M;, it is objectionable as a glorification of works and derogatory to the glory of God. Especially begging, on the part of one able to work, is not only the sin of slothfulness, but a violation of the duty of brotherly love accoryling to the Apostle’s own word.45 . "7”" " “ " The emphasrs on the ascetic nnpgrtance of afifised t Wmmwmast v awn—ammwwn was , canineserovidedtan ethicalinstigation,.QLtllelmodenll Sp ‘ ligpwdw " In a similar way the providhntial“ interpretation of profit-making justified the activities of the business mart}:6 The superior inn dulgence of the seigneur and the parvenu ostentation of the nouoeau rz'cize are equally detestable to asceticism. But, on the other hand, it has the highest ethical appreciation of the sober, middlewclass, selfmmade mourn.47 “God hlesseth His trade” is a stock remark about those good men“ who had successfully followed the divine hints. The whole power of the God of the Old Testament, who rewards His people for their obedience in this lifefi9 necessarily exercised a similar influence on the Puritan who, following Baxter’s advice, compared his own state of grace with that of the heroes of the Biblef‘a and in the process interpreted :63 Wealthisthanked fillll(Eel.l§£,93fi}fllll so fares it is s ~- The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism the statements of the Scriptures as the articles of a book of statutes. 0f C011r39,£119._w9£§l%afithchlé,Tfifieffient 3191‘? not entirely,withoutarnbiguity. We have seen that Luthér first used the concept of the calling in the secular sense in translating a passage from Jesus Sirach. But the book of Jesus Sirach belongs, with the whole atmo- sphere expressed in it, to those parts of the broadened Old Testament with a distinctly traditionalistic ten- dency, in spite of Hellenistic influences. It is charac~ teristic that down to the present day this book seems to enjoy a Special favour among Lutheran German peasants,51 just as the Lutheran influence in large sections of German Pietism has been expressed by a preference for Jesus Sirach.52 The Puritans repudiated the Apocrypha as not inspired, consistently with their sharp distinction between things divine and things of the flesh?3 But among the canonical books that of Job had all the more influence. On the one hand it contained a grand conception of the absolute sovereign majesty of God, beyond all human comprehension, which was closely related to that of Calvinism. With that, on the other hand, it combined the certainty which, though inci« ' dental for Calvin, came to be of great importance for Puritanism,that God would bless His own in this life—— in the book of Job only—wand also in the material sense.54 The Oriental quietism, which appears in several of the finest verses of the Psalms and in- the Proverbs, was interpreted away, just as Baxter did with the traditionalistic tinge of the passage in the Ist Epistle to the Corinthians, so important for the idea of the calling. 1:64 Asceticism and the Spirit of Capitalism But all the morewemphasis wasplacedmon those parts of Qldflfsstamsatwhichtpraisafgrmal legality as a sig “Moll/Condu pleasingflto God. They held the theory“marthennsaichas had only lost its validity through Christ in so far as it contained ceremonial or purely historical precepts applying only to the Jewish people, but that otherwise it had always been valid as an expression of the natural law, and must hence be retained.55 This made it possible, on the one hand, to eliminate elements which could not be reconciled with modern life. But still, through its numerous related features, Old Testament morality was able to give a powerful impetus to that spirit of selfnrightcous and sober legality which was so characteristic of the worldly asceticism of this form of Protestantism.56 Thus when authors, as was the case with several contemporaries as well as later writers, characterize the basic ethical tendency of Puritanism, especially in England, as English Hebraism57 they are, correctly understOod, not wrong. It is necessary, however, not to think of Palestinian Judaism at the time of the writing of the Scriptures, but of Judaism as it became under the influence of many centuries of formalistic, legalistic, and Talmudic education. Even then one must be very careful in drawing parallels. The general tendency of the older Judaism toward a naive accept~ ance of life as such was far removed from the special characteristics of Puritanism. It was, however, just as farm-and this ought not to be overlooked—whom, the economic ethics of medimval and modern Judaism, in the traits which determined the positions of both in the development of the capitalistic ethos. The Jews ‘ 165 The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism stood on the side of the politically and speculativer oriented adventurous capitalism; their ethos was, in a word, that of parialhcapitalism. But Puritanism carried the ethos of the rational organization of capital and labour. It: took over from the Jewish ethic only what was adapted to this purpose. To analyse the eilects on the character of peoples of the penetration of life with Old Testament norms—~21 tempting task which, however, has not yet satisfactorily been done even for Judaism 58» euld be impossible within the limits of this sketch. In addition to the relationships already pointed out, it is important for the general inner attitude of the Puritans, above all, that the belief that they were God’s chosen people saw in them. a great renaissance.59 Even the kindly Baxter thanked God that he was born in England, and thus in the true Church, and nowhere else. This thankfulness for one’s own perfection by the. grace of God penetrated the attitude toward life 59 of the Puritan middle class, and played its part in developing that formalistic, hard, correct character which was peculiar to the men of that heroic age of capitalism. Letflumswttgyv tryiito,.,._.clarilyathe points inwhichthe Pu_ritaaidea,.._ .itheiwccalvliag21ndthe placed urea conduct“sassPawdéirsctly to, influeh‘w thedeveloprnentof ach caliSIlC. Wéypf iiié’L‘Aéhé‘iiéié seen, this 33CillEilESllilamsd“with, callliteriforceiagsicsb ’ 0116 thing: i the Laminatan ssh enjoymento£ life. and all” , it hadctgwofler. This is perhaps most characteristically 0”; brought out in the struggle over the Book of Sports 61 which James I and Charles I made into law expressly as a means of counteracting Puritanism, and which 166 Asceticz'sm and the Spirit of Capitalism the latter ordered to be read from all the pulpits. "lithe fanatical opposition of the Puritans to the ordinances of the King, permitting certain popular amusements on. Sunday outside of Church hours by law? was not. only explained by the disturbance of the Sabbath rest, but also by resentment against the intentional diversion from the ordered life of the saint, which it caused. And, on his side, the King’s threats of severe punish~ ment for every attack on the legality of those sports were motivated by his purpose of breaking the anti« authoritarian ascetic tendency of Puritanism, which was so dangerous to the State. The feudal and monarchical forces protected the pleasure seekers against the rising middle—class morality and the antiwauthoritarian ascetic conventiclcs, just as to~day capitalistic society tends to protect those willing to work against the class morality of the proletariat: and the antiwauthoritarian trade union As against this the Puritans upheld their decisive characteristic, the principle of ascetic conduct. For otherwise the Puritan aversion to sport, even for the Quakers, was by no means simply one of principle. Spo1::erssasssatedii,.t, it §§11Y€§l a,rstiaaalparposei that" physical efficiency. But as, a meansmfor the spontaneous _ expression of undisciplined impulsesymit‘was under, suspicion; and in so far as it became purely a means of enjoyment, or awakened pride, raw instincts or the irrational gambling instinct, it was of course strictly condemned. impala}ng enjoy-s :ngentmgf life, which leads away both from work in a calling and from religion, was as“ such "the enemy of rational“asceticisni, whether in the form/oilseigneurial 167 The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism sports, or the enjoyment of the dance-hall or the public: house of the common man.62 Its attitude was thus suspicious and often hostile to the aspects of culture without any immediate religious value. It is not, however, true that the ideals of Puritan— ism implied a solemn, narrow-minded contempt of culture. Quite the contrary is the case at least for science, with the exception of the hatred of Selmlastiw cism. Moreover, the great men of the Puritan movement were thoroughly steeped in the culture of the Renais~ sauce. The sermons of the Presbyterian divines abound with classical allusions,63 and even the Radicals, although they objected to it, were not ashamed to display that kind of learning in theological polemics. Perhaps no country was ever so full of graduates as New England in the first generation of its existence. The satire of their opponents, such as, for instance, Butler’s Hudz'bms, also attacks primarily the pedantry and highly trained dialectics of the Puritans. This is partially due to the religious valuation of knowledge which followed from their attitude to the Catholic fides implicita. But the situation is quite different when one looks at non~scientific literature,64 and especially the fine arts. Here asceticism descended like a frost on the life of “Merrie old England.” And not only worldly merri— ment felt its effect. The Puritan’s ferocious hatred of everything which smacked of superstition, of all survivals of magical or sacramental salvation, applied to the Christmas festivities and the May Pole 65 and all spontaneous religious art. That there was room in Holland for a great, often uncouthly realistic art66 proves only how far from completely the authoritarian 168 Ascetz’cz’sm and the Spirit of Capitalism moral discipline of that country was able to counteract the influence of the court and the regents (a class of rentiers), and also the joy in life of the parvenu b0ur« geoisie, after the short supremacy of the Calvinistic t‘heocracy had been transformed into a moderate national Church, and with it Calvinism had perceptiny lost in its power of ascetic influence.“ Tremendous.assassinateotherlluritans” and with the strict exclusion of the erotic and of nudity from the realm of toleration, a radical view of either literature or art could not exist. The conceptions of idle talk, of superfluities,69 and of vain ostentation, all designations of an irrational attitude without objective purpose, thus not ascetic, and especially not serving the glory of God, but of man, were always at hand to serve in deciding in favour of sober utility as against any artistic tendencies. This was especially true in the case of decoration of the person, for instance clothing.70 Thatasserts!tsadsasytsyvard Bniformio’ 9f life, which ' ,slysisis titscapita‘lisltic interest in the tO-"dsy. , , standard flatmn ofhproductionfi} had its ideal founda» tionéin as.swimmer a1 idolatry of the flesh?"2 course we must not forgetwtmhatmEuritanism inn ‘ (:ludendwawworlgvof contradictions, and that the instinc— l‘vtive sense of eternal greatness in art was certainly stronger among its leaders than in the atmosphere of the Cavaliers.73 Moreover, a unique genius like Rembrandt, however little his conduct may have been acceptable to God in the eyes of the Puritans, was very strongly influenced in the character of his work by his religious environment.74 But that does not alter the picture as a whole. In so far as the development of 169 The Protestant Ethic emf. the Spirit of Capitalism the Puritan tradition could, and in part did, lead to a powerful spiritualization of personality, it was a decided benefit to literature. But for the most part that benefit only accrued to later generations. Although we cannot here enter upon a discussion of the influence of Puritanism in all these directions, we should call attention to the fact that the toleration of pleasure in cultural goods, which contributed to purely aesthetic or athletic enjoyment, certainly always ran up against one characteristic limitation: they must not cost anything. Man, is _only trustee of the goodsowhich have come to through God’s grace. He must, like the servant in; thepamble sheen "account Oftevery penny entrusted to him,75 and it is at“, least hazardops to it loiimaiipurp’ose {Which does, not serve the glory of God but, onlypone’s own enjoyment.7G What. person, who keeps his eyes open, has not met representatives of this viewpoint even in the present 3‘77 The idea of a man’s duty to his possessions, to which he subordinates himself as an obedient steward, or even as an acquisitive machine, hears with chilling weight on his life. The greater the possessions the heavier, if the ascetic attitude toward life stands the test, the feeling of responsibility for them, for holding them undiminished for the glory of God and increasing them by restless effort. The origin of this type of life also extends in certain roots, like so many aspects of the spirit of capitalism, back into the Middle Ages.78 But it was in the ethic of ascetic Protestantism that it first found a consistent ethical foundation. its significance for the development of capitalism is obvious.79 Thl§_,_3r9£l§llr -..ll¥0t<zstaat asceticism, as "We. may We the irrational use Ofwwéiillhi Asceticz'sm and the Spirit of Capitalism lisgaaitalataaa,to this P0i3}t_l.,ssts.d_powerfully against thespsaaaazu mi 31 tofp0§seetlsas; it séstricted seasilmellmb enemas ofhiiéfiiieé- Oil the 9915? lead, it had the .Eétighalsal fleet.,al,hfsslristheacauisition of seeds, ethics It broke the bonds of the impulse of acquisition in that it not only legalized it, but (in the sense discussed) looked upon it as directly willed by God. The campaign against the temptations of the flesh, and the depend ence on external things, was, as besides the Puritans . . . . . . l sinssleesaasafirst, reveal assesses, but against: the great Quaker apologist Barclay expressly sayshynotfi ' Bot this titratidhaliiisewas exemplified in the outward forms of luxury which their code condemned as idolatry of the flesh,80 however natural they had appeared to the feudal mind. On the other hand, they approved the. rational and utilitarian uses of wealth which were willed by God for the needs of the individualand the comw Inunity. They did not Wish to impose mortification81 on the man of wealth, but the use of his means for necessary and practical things. The idea of comfort characteristically limits the extent of ethically permism sible expenditures. It is naturally no accident that the development of a manner of living consistent with that idea may be observed earliest and most clearly among the most consistent representatives of this whole attitude toward life. Qyfierflagainst the. glitter and ostentationmofwfeudalH[nagnificencefliuihich, resting on an unsound economic basispprefers a sordid elegance to they clean and Solid cdfiifbfi ‘ ofiths middle-class home as ,idwl‘gz 171; 3 t 1, 5w The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism On the side of the production of private wealth, asceticism condemned both dishonesty and impulsive avarice. What was condemned as covetousness, Mam- monism, etc., was the pursuit of riches for their own sake. For wealth in itself was a temptation. But here asceticism was the power “which ever seeks the good but ever creates evil” 83; what was evil in its sense was possession and its temptations. For, in conformity with the Old Testament and in analogy to the ethical valuation of good works, asceticism looked upon the pursuit of wealth as an end in itself as highly reprea hensible: but-tletattainmsnt,of, it as atlabaur in a sallinsvas a.sisssfifloristblessing. And even ,,,,«~~, more importafifthe.galls19:3sorelsasssistrestless, b5- ‘centimetres,,itsystsmatignyotlg.in i, rowarlgllr calling, as theirishsst me ~tossesfists$31141 iitsresest was: .9le ¥ 9f,_,.jr¢biah i lgenuine'faith, have “beenulthe mpst ppwfierfulwcon- fsesame:Energ’fogthe e pansiop toward ,lifsnhiéiij'hgréyeauéa the spiritiofcapitalisrii.“ When “the limitationiof consfirhfitian“ is" combined fiwith this release of acquisitive activity, the inevitable }- ’ it «up mums-Mum” ‘ through.asastisimmpalsioautoiisayet85 ghe i're‘sitraints which were. pp e consumptflionérwealth to increas ElBSTEQiiing £56318” w {WWWHW i r “influence was is not, unfortunately, susceptible of exact statistical demonstration. In New England the connection is so evident that it did not escape the eye of so discerning a historian as Doyle.86 But also in Holland, which was really only dominated by strict 172 practical result is obvious: agguggulation pfmc‘apital‘ predilection "agilitvnas“catering” this or Asceticism and the Spirit of Capitalism L‘alvinisrn for seven years, the greater simplicity of life in the more seriously religious circles, in combina~ tion with great wealth, led to an excessive propensity _o «v to accumulation.” - i _ That, furthermore, the tendency which has existed everywhere and at all times, being quite strong in Germany to-day, for middle-class fortunes to be absorbed into the nobility, was necessarily checked by the Puritan antipathy to the feudal way of life, is evident. English Mercantilist writers of the seventeenth century attributed the superiority of Dutch capital to English to the circumstance that newly acquired wealth there did not regularly seek investment in land. Also, since it is not simply a question of the purchase of land, it did not there seek to transfer itself to feudal habits of life, and thereby to remove itself from the possibility of capitalistic investment.88 The high esteem for agriculture as a peculiarly important branch of activity, also especially consistent with piety, which the Puritansshared, applied (for instance in Baxter) not to the landlord, but to the yeoman and farmer, in the eighteenth century not to the squire, but the rational cultivator,89 Through the whole of English society in the time since the seventeenth century goes the conflict between the squirearchy, the representatives of “metric old England”, and the Puritan circles of widely varying social influence.90 Both elements, that of an unspoiled naive joy of life, and of a strictly regulated, reserved self-control, and conventional ethical conduct are even to—day combined to form the English national charac— ter.91 Similarly, the early history of the North American Colonies is dominated by the sharp contrast of the I73 “Elite Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism adventurers, who wanted to set up plantations with the labour of indentured servants, and live asfeudal lords, and the specifically middle-class outlook ofthePuritans.92 AS far as ten‘déiiihfiaishall circumstances—tend this is: $53» mfiélimQteimPQEtant,thanthe__mers..encouragsm§nt.,.ol capital _accumulatisneitlistened, management. of a. rational. beiurswis meme life; was? the 9103‘? importantgand abovewallithe onlywconsistent‘i‘nfluenée in the deyelopment that life. It t d at the cradle of _ ‘ ""To“'lihl"s,ure;””these;”Pnr'itanical ideals tended to give way under excessive pressure from the temptations of wealth, as the Puritans themselves knew very well. With great regularity we find the most genuine adher- cuts of Puritanisrn among the classes which were rising from a lowly status,93 the small bourgeois and farmers, While the limit possidenies, even among Quakers, are often found tending to repudiate the old ideals.94 It was the same fate which again and again befell the predecessor of this worldly asceticisrn, the monastic asceticism of the Middle Ages. In the latter case, when rational economic activity had worked out its full effects by strict regulation of conduct and limitation of con»- sumption, the wealth accumulated either succumbed directly to the nobility,as in the time before the Reforma- tion, or monastic discipline threatened to break down, and one of the numerous reformations became necessary. In fact the whole history of monasticism is in a certain sense the history of a continual struggle with the problem of the secularizing influence of wealth. The same is true on a grand scale of the worldly 174 Ascetz'cz'sm and the Spirit of Capitalism asceticism of Puritanism. The great revivahof Method» ism, which preceded the expansion of English industry toward the end of the eighteenth century, may well be compared with such a monastic reform. We may hence quote here a passage95 from john. Wesley himself which might well serve as a motto for cremai‘g which has been said above. For it shows that the leaders of these ascetic movements understood the seemingly paradoxical rela= tionships which we have here analysed perfectly well, and. in the same sense that we have given themfi’6 He wrote: “I fear, wherever riches have increased, the essence of religion has decreased in the same proportion. Therefore I do not see how it is possible, in the nature of things, for any revival of true religion to continue long. I10}: religion must“necessarilywp‘roduce both infineirx.,,sn§l,.insatitnaadfiiiése cannotshuflyPrddiuce rich§§.:l39tfi$ ashes increase; so, Will Hide, anger? and lOVC‘. ftheworld in all itsrbranches. How then is it possible that Methodism, that is, a religion of the heart, though it flourishes now as a green bay tree, should continue in this state? For the Methodists in every place grow diligent and frugal; consequently they increase in goods. Hence they proportionately increase in pride, in anger, in the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, and the pride of life. s9, althoughmthgfgrm h of religion remains, thesniritissn,ifi1xf~’ani§hiesaway» . Is there no way to prevent this—«this continual decay 0f pure religion? We ought not to prevent people from I, being diligent and frugal; we must (ax/tori all Christians to gain all they can, and to save all they can; that is, in efi‘ect, to grow rich.” 97 175 The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism There follows the advice that those who gain all they can and save all they can should also give all they can, so that they will grow in grace and lay up a treasure in heaven. It is clear that Wesley here expresses, even in detail, just What we have been trying to point out.98 As Wesley here says, the full economic effect of those great religious movements, whose significance for economic development lay above all in their ascetic educative influence, generally came only after the peakf of the purely religious enthusiasm was past. Then the l; intensitrof the searsltsfsrsthe Einsde of God._,c9mr m‘éhé’éa' gradually tofpaséioret into, saber. economic virtue {the aliensmosaics, Oil? $10wlyisivinswsy toutilitarian worldliness. Then, as‘iDowden puts it, as in Robinson Crusoe, the isolated economic man who carries on missionary activities on the side 99 takes the place of the lonely spiritual search for the Kingdom of Heaven of Bunyan’s pilgrim, hurrying through the marketplace of Vanity. — When later the principle “to make the most of both worlds” became dominant in the end, as Dowden- has remarked, a good conscience simply became one of the means of enjoying a comfortable bourgeois life, as is well expressed in the German proverb about the soft pillow. What the great religious epoch of the seven1 teenth century bequeathed to its utilitarian successor was, however, above all an amazingly good, we may even say a pharisaically good, conscience in the acqui- sition of money, so long as it took place legally. Every trace of the deplacere nix patent has disappeared.100 ‘ A specifically,bourgeoisficonomic ethic had grgvyp upXWith'thei consciousness of, standing“ini‘the’il‘ullness 170. alscetz'ci’sm and the Spirit of Capitalism of God’s grace and being visibly blessed by Him, the bongsohmhssinsssnaaias,loss sens. remained within} the, formal correctness, as longiésfiiishibral V cosine: he pens wealth notmobjectionable, could follow his pecuniary interests as he would __V,\l?i,$,,' fulfilling a ‘vwwflmew.‘v»5wuc\vfi ,w duty, In doing so. ’Ehengrvsriofrreliaipus assstisismx prorided him in addition with Sober; Constlsnlimnalld unseat 'ous workers in. Ttlu.ng.,__.t9, their .101 Finally, it gave ihirri‘“theihdmlorting assurance that the unequal distribution of the goods of this world was a special dispensation of Divine Providence, which in these differences, as in particular grace, pursued secret ends unknown to men.102 Calvin himself had made the much~quoted statement that only when the people, i.e. the mass of labourers and craftsmen, were poor did they remain obedient to God.103 In the Netherlands (Pieter de la Court and others), that had been secularized to the effect that the mass of men only labour when necessity forces them to do so. This formulation of a leading idea of capitalistic economy later entered into the current theories of the productivity of low wages. Here also, with the dying out of the religious root, the utilitarian interpretation'crept in unnoticed, in the line of development which we have again and again observed. Mediaeval ethics not only tolerated begging but actually glorified it in the mendicant orders. Even secular beggars, since they gave the person of means opportunity for good works through giving aims, were sometimespéonsidered an estate and treated as such. Even the Anglican social ethic of the Stuarts was very I’77 The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism Ascetz’cism and the Spirit of Capitalism i "v . o . . 1 cl hall 1n the capitalistic sense of the word. 'Ihe Vtreatmentlf‘ close to this attitude. It remained for Puritan Ascetic— ism to take ,part in the severe English Poor Relief Legislation which fundamentally changed the situation. And it could do that, because the Protestant sects and the strict Puritan communities actually did not know any begging in their own midst.104 On the other hand, seen from the side of the workers, the Zinzcndorf branch of Pietism, for instance, glorified the loyal worker who did not seek acquisition, but lived according to the apostolic model, and was thus en— dowed with the c/zarisma105 of the disciples?”6 Similar ideas had originally been prevalent among the Baptists in an even more radical form. Now naturally the whole ascetic literature of almost all denominations is saturated with the idea that faithful labour, even at low wages, on the part of those whom life offers no other opportunities, is highly pleasing to God. In this respect Protestant Asceticism added in itself nothing new. But it not only deepened this idea most powerfully, it also created the force which was a alone decisive for its effectiveness: theflpqs‘ypapolpgfil ans iv. ofiitcthrepsh theseassptisesites. lei Cities _ s the between incthe analysis mé‘fééis attaining certaintymot”graced?7 \And on the other hand it legaliaed tliemeXploitation of this specific f ,willingness to work, in that also interpreted the Eemployer’s business activity as It is obvious how powerfully the'exclUSivesearCh for the Kingdom of God only through the fulfilment of duty in the calling, and the strict asceticism which Church disci— pline naturally imposed, especially on the propertyless classes, was bound to affect the‘productivity,ofmlabour I78 l N of labour as a_c,;_allingwbecame asflcharagmteristic Qfiwtljie m0detasignifiesl,,thscgaaespanewsstands-smart} It was a perception 0 this situation, new at his time, which caused so able an observer as Sir William Petty to attribute the economic power of Holland in. the seventeenth century to the fact that the very numerous dissenters in that country (Calvinists and Baptists) “are for the most part thinking, sober men, and such as believe that Labour and In» dustry is their duty towards God”.1°9 Calvinism opposed organic social organization in the fiscal—monopolistic form which it assumed in Anglicam ism under the Stuarts, especially in the conceptions of Laud, this alliance of Church and State with the monopolists on the basis of a Christian~social ethical foundation. Its leaders Were universally among the most passionate opponents of this type of politically privileged commercial, putting~out, and colonial capitalism. Over against it they placed the individual~ istic motives of rational legal acquisition by virtue of one’s own ability and initiative. And, while the politic~ ally privileged monopoly industries in England all disappeared in short order, this attitude played a large and decisive part in the development of the industries which grew up in spite of and against the authority of the Stated“ The Puritans (Prynne, Parker) repudi— ated all connection with the large-scale capitalistic courtiers and projectors as an ethically suspicious class. On the other hand, they took pride in their own superior middleaclass business morality, which formed the true reason for the persecutions to which they were 179 modern. Guitars: ratieaa1,, sondust.ion.,..th?[l?§ei§ :25 Q, idea of the calling,“was.“lgw ' ' ' ~ au‘ssiiifi"f“iifaé'Tf‘ééfight _ , A“ of .Qhristiea-assetiaietm One has only to reread the The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism subjected on the part of those circles. Defoe proposed to win the battle against dissent by boycotting bank credit and withdrawing deposits. The difference of the two types of capitalistic attitude went to a very large extent hand in hand with religious differences. The opponents of the Nonconformists, even in the eight- eenth century, again and again ridiculed them for personifying the spirit of shopkeepers, and for having ruined the ideals of old England. Here also lay the difference of the Puritan economic ethic from the Jewish; and contemporaries (Prynne) knew well that the former and not the latter was the bourgeois capital- istic ethic.m One of the fundamental elements of the spirit _of modeiaiéiiialismEda'Waéifiiiiflifiliaiihiét dwells 1 w at t s is?) passage from Franklin, quoted at the beginning of this essay, in order to see that the essential elements of the attitude which was there called the spirit of capitalism are the same asflwhat we have just shown to be the content of the Puritan “worldly :‘1“scetit:is'nn,112 only ‘ without the religious basis, which by Franklin’s time had died away. The idea that modern labour has an ascetic character is of course not new. Limitation to specialized work, with a renunciation of the Faustian universality of man which it involves, is a condition of any valuable work in the modern world; hence deeds and renunciation inevitably condition each other to- day. This fundamentally ascetic trait of middle—class 180 Ascetz'cz‘sm and the Spirit of Capitalism life, if it attempts to be a way of life at all, and not simply the absence of any, was what Goethe wanted to teach, at the height of his wisdom, in the liVander— jahren, and in the end which he gave to the life of his Faust.113 For him the realization meant a renunciation, a departure from an age of full and beautiful humanity, which can no more be repeated in the course of our cultural development than can the flower of the Athenian culture of antiquity. The PM,clawedmmwworhdnMaltalliug3,...Weuetfi forcedwtowdg so. For when asceticism was carried out of monastic cells into everyday life, and began to dominate worldly morality, it did its part in building the tremenw dous cosmos of the modernneconomicmorder. Thisgrder r isagubound t0 thateclmicaland.sweetieconditions-aa -;, r “mm“was“wamamwnmmw _ W a Aw»,..s.mm.~.~i of mmachine “production whichmtolday determine the lives, yo 7 A into. this weekeaismi not Gilly 3512939,directly..,.,,s;9ntcemed_ with economic aéqiiiéitiohf‘kiith" irresistible force. Perhaps it willsoidetermine“theniiiintil"theolas‘t ton of fossilized coal is burnt. In Baxter’s View the care for external goods should only lie on the shoulders of the “saint like a light cloak, which can be tl’ll‘OWfl aside at any moment”.114 become - ~ WSIIICE ascetiiiisin undertook to remodel the world and to work out its ideals in the world, material goods have gained an increasing and finally an inexorable power overthe lives of men as at no previous period in his- tory. To—daymthewspfiirit of religious asceticismmwhether finally, who knows Pwhas escape" from the . ge. gut mm. awwiwm...mowmmw , .W, , ,Wflw-qfl .v,,._,,wmcm. ., veerious Slhce itwl‘gele..uon_iiindihanical 1 8 r 2 i f? i ‘1’ t i ll The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism Ma...” Mm b13311 0i,itsclaushias“latitude Enlishtsexeent, Seems foundations, needs its support vnflomlpwgger. The rosy also to be irretrievably fading, and the idea of duty in of dead fillngUé‘szcglleS. Where the fulfilmentmof the calling cannot directly be related to the highest spiritual and cultural values, or when, on the other hand, it need not be felt simply as economic compulsion, the individual generally abandons the attempt to justify it at all. In the field of its highest development, in the United States, the,potent:._9.fi,:eealth,istrippedigfiits stair-i. “ relishes 1 tPHE§1y_.--I¥1UQs1aH@“Passigflhwlfllll} Often ciath w“ actualiyi citthe,distasteofireesrt915 No one knows who will live in this cage in the future, or whether at the end of this tremendous development entirely new prophets will arise, or there will be a great rebirth of old ideas and ideals, or, if neither, mechanized petrification, embellished with a sort of convulsive self~importance. For of the last stage of this cultural development, it might well be truly said: {“Specialists without “spirit, sensualistswithout heart?i x. Ethis inullityilfiilglfifét ill??? it [his ,_attaia¢d ta levoLnf 2; civilization never before achieved.” ‘ value and of faith, with which this purely historical discussion need not be burdened. The next task would i be rather to shgyrthesignificance of ascetiewrationalism, WhiEh ,.l1§~°2,‘.9,e1rilasts$914915}?ii.ecthec£9reg9_iog sketch, form'theflcontent offlpractical social ethi thusivfor likeness of organization andjhsctuact,i9reof,...§,9£ial groups {tenthsresemble,,Ihen its ‘ . ' g But this brings us to the world of Judgments of Asceticism and the Spirit of Capitalism rel‘ations towhplnanistic rationalism,116 its ideals of life andwcultfluwr‘afllminfluence; Turther to the development of Phi19$,thieélwandcscientifismeinnitisiSmTNEEWEEéHhiCal development and to spiritual ideals would have to be analysed. Then its historical development from the mediaeval beginnings of worldly asceticism to its dissolution into pure utilitarianism would have to be traced out through all the areas of ascetic religion. Only then, could the quantitativestalkers!” isissificeme. Of c ,Mw, mwvms-rmmwm ascetieljrotestantism in its relation to the other plastic 6 p Here we have only attempted to trace the fact and the direction of its influence to their motives in one, though a very important point. But it would also /”—k.zlwv’\w.xxam«~~‘ furtheribe necessamto instigate Erotsétant .«m.w'fla..mmmm~ -- some W in turn ' ,sisrslqnnent ,. audits chap ct result Conditions, especially economic!” The modern man is in general, evenWWitli‘TTie best will, unable to give religious ideas a significance for culture and national character which they deserve. But it is, of course, not lnywairn towsub—E Stil‘llficfflific9116‘s}??? M3? tic EQWUY one- Ct Br _,t19n_,,9f culture and Sidéfdiispiritsa , __ _. ‘ smallness;ltdiihitncastigimifiitg ofilihiistery- Eac does not serve as the preparation, but as the conclusion iutensillistens?l 1371521“ ‘ 9' claim )3 4 g“; ...
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5 Weber - MAX WEBER The Pmtestam Ethic. and. the Spirit of...

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