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Max Weber - Essay Example

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Max Weber on Capitalism and its foundations Name: Institution: Part 1: Max Weber’s views on capitalism are expressed through the “protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism” and his other writings, which cover the relationship between the ethical values of ascetic Protestantism and the rise of capitalism…
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Max Weber
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Download file to see previous pages Max argued that the capitalist saw profit as an end on its own, and that the pursuit of profit was virtuous. In tracing the relationship between Protestantism and capitalism, he pointed out the concept of “calling” whose emphasis was that capitalistic activities were inclined to religious values (Grossman, 2006). Marx pointed out that Calvinism, in particular, was a major influence – noting that they associated salvation to success in business; material success and profit-making were viewed as a sign of God’s favor. He noted that other religious groups like the Methodists, pietists and the Baptists identified with the same idea, but to a lesser degree (Grossman, 2006). The idea that profits and material success was an indicator of God’s favor solidified into the basic structures, on which modern capitalism was developed. However, he noted that after modern capitalism matured, the protestant values behind it were disregarded and business ethics took center stage (Kennedy, 2004). It is important to note that Max insists that Protestantism was not the only factor that led to the development of capitalism, but that it was among the factors leading to its development; he added that the emergence of capitalism influenced religious ideas. Part 2: a). Max Weber’s position about capitalism is greatly motivated by the works of Marx’s theory, which emphasized materialism and economic reductionism; materialism and economic reductionism formed the fundamentals of Weber’s idealism. This shows that Weber’s theories and arguments are largely shaped by the frameworks and the foundations developed by Marx. The inheritance of Marxian thoughts is evident from the emphasis that Weber offers to the part played by the materialist outlook of different groups in the consequential development of capitalism (Grossman, 2006). However, Weber’s ideas and arguments are motivated by his tendency to characterize Marx as a deterministic economist; that could be partly attributed to the facts that Weber did not have access to the early writings of Marx. The divergence could also be attributed to Weber’s preoccupation about Marxian views about Germany and Russia during the start of the 20th century (Kennedy, 2004). The positions projected by Marxist thinkers in exploring Russia and Germany played a major role in propelling Weber to take the route he took, in formulating his theories and adopting his points of view on the origins and the development of capitalism (Grossman, 2006). This shows that the political climates of the last half of the 19th century as well as the first half of the 20th century were major contributors and influence to the theories and the positions adopted by Weber, about the origins of capitalism and the factors leading to its emergence. Irrespective of the major differences in the studies and the theories developed by Weber and Marx, Weber preserved many of the thoughts and the thinking developed by Marx. The fact that Weber preserved many of the theories and the models formulated by Marx shows that Weber was greatly influenced by the teachings of the Marxian school, irrespective of the fact that he was fully congruent with their thinking. This could also show that the thoughts and the theories developed by Marx were used by Weber as the basis of his theories; Weber used Marx’ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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