Lecture 14 Reading Summary

Product of a long and arduous process

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Unformatted text preview: ressure of a bitter competitive struggle, respectable fortunes were made, and not lent out at interest, but always reinvested in the business. This was due to the spirit of MODERN capitalism. One is tempted to think that these personal moral qualities have not the slightest relation to any ethical maxims, to say nothing of religious ideas, but that the essential relation between them is negative. That is in fact the only possible motivation, but it at the same time expresses what is, seen from the viewpoint of personal happiness, so irrational about this sort of life, where a man exists for the sake of his business, instead of the reverse. The pre- capitalists would find modern capitalists to be totally irrational because they make life work their sole purpose, without enjoying any of their wealth. The conception of money- making as an end in itself, to which people were bound, as a calling, was contrary to the ethical feelings of whole epochs. According to Weber, it might seem that the development of the spirit of capitalism is best understood as part of the development of rationalism as a whole, and could be deduced from the fundamental position of rationalism on the basic problems of life. In the process Protestantism would only have to be considered in so far as it had formed a stage prior to the development of a purely rationalistic philosophy. - But it evident that such a simple way of putting the question will not work, simply because of the fact that the history of rationalism shows a development which by no means follows parallel lines in the various departments of life. Weber is interested in the origin of the irrational element that lies in this spirit of capitalism, as in every conception of a calling. CHAPTER 5- Asceticism and the Spirit of Capitalism • • • • • • • For Weber, Calvinism is the most consistent religious basis, out of all the Protestant movements, for the idea in question. Baxter (Puritan Ethic): The moral objection is to relaxation in the security of possession, the enjoyment of wealth with the consequence of idleness and the temptations of the flesh, above all of distraction from the pursuit of a righteous life. - Because possession involves this danger of relaxation that...
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