Thursday, January 30, 2014

Max Weber on capitalism

Recall that Max Weber was an instrumental source for kennilingus. See this post where I referenced Rifkin's use of Weber's analysis of the rise of capitalism. Then see this SparkNote on Weber's book The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. A few brief excerpts from the summary:

"He argues that the modern spirit of capitalism sees profit as an end in itself, and pursuing profit as virtuous. [...] Calvinists believe in predestination--that God has already determined who is saved and damned. As Calvinism developed, a deep psychological need for clues about whether one was actually saved arose, and Calvinists looked to their success in worldly activity for those clues. Thus, they came to value profit and material success as signs of God's favor. Other religious groups, such as the Pietists, Methodists, and the Baptist sects had similar attitudes to a lesser degree. Weber argues that this new attitude broke down the traditional economic system, paving the way for modern capitalism. However, once capitalism emerged, the Protestant values were no longer necessary, and their ethic took on a life of its own."

Yet you still see this sort of regressive rationalization, that our wealth is a sign of being divinely favored and the poor are that way because they deserve it. In some, perhaps many, cases this attitude is still attached to religious beliefs like the above; many Republicans and corporate Democrats are religious. But even without traditional religion, capitalism has become a religious ideology with the same economic underpinnings. Recall Loy's use of Weber in this post.

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