Weber_April4

Weber_April4 - 1 SOCIOLOGY 313 Development of Sociological...

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Unformatted text preview: 1 SOCIOLOGY 313 Development of Sociological Theory Max Weber Key Points ¡ What are the characteristics of the “protestant ethic” as defined by Weber, and how did it contribute to the emergence of capitalism? ¡ How does Weber understand “rationalization”? 2 Protestant Ethic as the Cause/Origin of Capitalism ¡ Weber asks why capitalism begins in certain places at a certain time ¢ In northwestern Europe (Germany, the Low Countries, England) and in American colonies established by the English and Dutch ¢ In late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries ¡ What distinguishes “capitalism” from earlier forms of economic activity? Two Requisites of Capitalism ¡ Continuing investments ¢ No longer just a single investment followed by enjoyment of profits ¢ Profits are continually reinvested in the enterprise ¡ Methodical comparison of income and expenditure ¢ By entrepreneurs deciding how to invest ¢ By workers comparing wages to effort ¢ The result is “rational bookkeeping” Effort and asceticism ¡ Suppose some people acquire attitudes causing them to combine effort in their work with asceticism in consumption ¢ “Asceticism” means self-denial ¡ These attitudes have consequences both for investment and for rational bookkeeping ¡ Where these attitudes exist, capitalism becomes more likely 3 Consequences for Investment ¡ People who work hard and spend little have more savings than people who work little and spend freely ¡ People who have saved more have more capital to invest Consequences of Rational Bookkeeping ¡ Both effort and asceticism require a person to pay constant attention to his or her activities: ¢ Am I wasting time, or concentrating on my work? ¢ Should I respond to momentary distractions such as desire to consume? ¡ Persons paying constant attention keep better records Weber’s inference ¡ If capitalism is distinguished from earlier forms of economic activity by the twin traits of continuous investment and rational bookkeeping, capitalism will flourish where attitudes encourage combination of effort with asceticism ¡ More investments will be coupled with better- record keeping 4 Religion as the source of capitalistic attitudes ¡ How do people acquire attitudes combining effort with asceticism? ¡ Weber says the sources of these attitudes in Europe were religious ¡ Protestantism replaced Catholicism in northwestern Europe beginning in the 16 th century ¡ Protestants also appeared in southern and eastern Europe, but they were suppressed by monarchs acting on behalf of the Catholic Church Catholicism vs. Protestantism ¡ Three differences distinguished Catholicism in the...
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This note was uploaded on 02/05/2012 for the course 920 313 taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '08 term at Rutgers.

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Weber_April4 - 1 SOCIOLOGY 313 Development of Sociological...

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