The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism
Publication Date: December 19, 2014
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Max Weber's celebrated thesis, which explores the relationship between Protestant work ethic and the emergence of capitalist enterprise, is presented here inclusive of his lengthy notes.
In coining the phrase 'Protestant work ethic', Weber demonstrates a series of parallels between certain Protestant denominations and the modern business. The veneration of hard work, discipline, and carefulness with money birthed a culture that led over generations to the establishment of capitalism; with enough workers sharing in these beliefs, entrepreneurs were able to create large businesses that could consistently deliver a profit.
Using examples such as Martin Luther and Calvinist doctrines, Weber demonstrates how ideas of the virtues of diligence were placed parallel with God and morality. By working hard, every man was contributing to a better world and society, in the name of the Lord. However, Weber asserts that over time the religious connotations behind capitalist enterprise largely disappeared; the famous writings of Benjamin Franklin are cited as example, whereby notions of diligence were expressed eloquently but no longer cited God and holy virtue.
Though controversial, Weber's work remains much-consulted by sociologists. The notion that Protestantism contributed to or accelerated the development of capitalism is popular in the modern day.
The groundbreaking work, "The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism", by Herr Max Weber, the "Father of Sociology" explores the cultural, political, and the main crux of the argument, spiritual causes for the rise and dominance of western capitalism. Weber explores different religions and their effects on the human psyche to try and piece together capitalism and its correlation to Protestantism. Originally a scientific article, this book is an expansion on Weber's work and is translated as faithfully as possible from Weber's German. This book explores terminology, historicity, social and religious interactions, and a myriad of other issues to more accurately pinpoint capitalisms dominance and its origin. A well-written piece of literature that deserves multiple re-reads as it is dense with knowledge and is a fascinating take on the idea that spiritual beliefs can lead to temporal actions. I give 5/5 stars although be warned it is quite the hefty reading. Appropriate for adults 20+.