The Protestant Ethic and The Spirit of Capitalism
In his book, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Max Weber sheds light on the Protestant reformation and how he believes religion and rational thought became a critical factor in the shaping of modern society and capitalism. Weber argues that capitalism developed historically as a result of a religious movement, the Protestant reformation, and more specifically Calvinism. This reformation helped shape the rationality of people’s work ethic and helped produce capitalism. It also helped to create the system of bureaucracy that administrates capitalism, as we know it today. This is very much unlike the work of Karl Marx, who believed it was the organization of relations within the mode of production and the division of labor created for a desire for profit within the economy that dictated the base structure behind society. Weber’s idea of Cultural History and a capitalistic society based on rational thought challenges Marx’s idea of Historical Materialism.
For Max Weber capitalism was about restraint and being rational, unlike Marx who did not focus in on that aspect of the system. Weber’s view of modern society is a cultural history; he is tracing rationality as a characteristic of the west. For Marx a desire for profit and worldly material creates Capitalism, where as for Weber capitalism is an economic enterprise formed due to a rationally administration brought on by religious affiliations.
Weber believed businesses grew because of precise calculations and conscious measuring. The increasing rationalization of life made modern capitalism possible. Weber believes this rational way of doing ones job was spurred by the protestant reformation and the idea developed by Martin Luther of having a “calling”. Luther’s Calling is the idea that “ the individual should remain once and for all in the station and calling which God had placed him, and should restrain his worldly activity within the...