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The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism: and Other Writings (Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics) [Paperback]

By Max Weber, Peter R. Baehr (Editor) & Gordon C. Wells (Editor)
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Item Specifications...

Pages   392
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 5.5" Height: 7.75"
Weight:   0.7 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 1, 2003
Publisher   Penguin Classics
Age  18
ISBN  0140439218  
EAN  9780140439212  

Availability  43 units.
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Item Description...
In the PROTESTANT ETHIC AND THE "SPIRIT" OF CAPITALISM, Max Weber opposes the Marxist concept of dialectical materialism and relates the rise of capitalist economy to the Calvinist belief in the moral value of hard work and the fulfillment of one's worldly duties. Based on the original German 1905 edition, this volume included, along with Weber's treatise, an illuminating introduction, a wealth of explanatory notes, and exemplary responses and remarks- both from Weber and his critic- that were sparked by its publication.

Publishers Description
In The Protestant Ethic, Max Weber opposes the Marxist concept of dialectical materialism and relates the rise of the capitalist economy to the Calvinist belief in the moral value of hard work and the fulfillment of one's worldly duties. Based on the original 1905 edition, this volume includes, along with Weber's treatise, an illuminating introduction, a wealth of explanatory notes, and exemplary responses and remarks-both from Weber and his critics-sparked by publication of The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.
This is the first English translation of the 1905 German text and the first volume to include Weber's unexpurgated responses to his critics, which reveal important developments in and clarifications of Weber's argument.

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More About Max Weber, Peter R. Baehr & Gordon C. Wells

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Max Weber (1864-1920), German sociologist, one of the founders of modern sociology. He emphasised cultural and political factors as key influences on economic development and individual behaviour. Weber argued for a scientific and value-free approach to research, yet highlighted the importance of meaning and consciousness in understanding social action. His ideas continue to stimulate thought on social stratification, power, organisations, law, and religion. Peter Baehr teaches in the department of politics and sociology at Lingnan University in Hong Kong.

Max Weber was born in 1864 and died in 1920.

Max Weber has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Economy Editions
  2. Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics
  3. Routledge Classics (Paperback)

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Alright  Oct 23, 2007
It was a bit disconcerting to get a book whose cover art was different from the cover art on this site, but the book arrived speedily and in good shape.
the fear of being not preferred later on ...  Oct 9, 2005
Max Weber (1864-1920) had noticed that Protestants appeared excessively under the numbers of people who economically were successful. The Catholicism seemed to make it easier (due to an integrated sin pardon mechanics) to enjoy life in between times. The Mediterranean countries have saved this as a differentiable lifestyle till nowadays, but particular the Nordic, by the majority Protestant countries put the human beings into a hermetic box of duty fulfillment and responsibility. The suicide installment is also higher in these areas: Unfortunately, Luther's theological revolution was not namely a liberation, no reduction of control but its millionfold multiplication: In the end everyone became the merciless inspector of himself. The reformation has increased the pressure extremely. Now mixed religious aims and working actions were bound each other with the visibility of financial success. Other religions, the Buddhism, the Islam etc., seem strikingly less in conformity with the capitalism in this regard. On the contrary: Being obstinate or disinterested seem to be transported rather. The Calvinistic capitalism on the other hand produces (besides all superficial correctness) a subtle social coldness, a fight of everybody against everybody, which promotes the assumption, that there is not enough space in the paradisiacal sky for everyone at all. Therefore the fear of being not preferred later on by the dear God starts a hitting and fighting between the human beings vehemently. Being religious in this manner has not contributed to humanness, but, instead, made some steps backward globally, regarding the great individual sovereignty, which the renaissance man already had achieved. Face of the fact, that (at the moment) a second theocracy seems to spread himself apparently in the USA -- at least in the opinion of the ones who sit at the decisive Washington coordinating points -- in the face of such developments among the conservative Christians of the USA, which surpass many a nastiness of the frowned Machiavellism or the elite oriented Darwinism, yes even the racism -- in view of such developments it seems recommended to examine the rational analyses of Max Weber again ...
Max Weber, Getting to Know Him  Jul 19, 2005
This classic is more referred to than read by economists in Anglo-Saxon countries where Weber is considered mainly a sociologist. When I went to Graduate School (Wisconsin) it was not even mentioned. A pity, because it is a milestone in the search for explanations of historical events, in this case the extraordinary spread of capitalism in Protestant countries. One
may not buy Weber's thesis in part or in toto, but it is so carefully argued that dissent has to be very nuanced and scholarly to be persuasive. (An example of such creative dissent is Tawney's "Religion and the Rise of Capitalism").

This Edition contains a fairly good translation; its main weakness is the arrangement of notes (Editor's and Weber's) at the end of each chapter. Hard to find because tops of pages don't contain chapter titles. And the notes are an important part of the whole.

The book also contains several of Weber's rebuttals to some citicisms that he received. Since these critiques are not reprinted here, the rebuttals are not fully self-explanatory. Moreover, this section is not inspiring for another reason: the tone of academic petulance diminishes the image of a great scholar.
The Protestant Calling of Capitalistic Virtues  Jun 2, 2005
It's interesting to read this book and see where it fits in today's Right Wing Christian Conservative mind-set, especially since they have been taking over the legislative, judicial and executive levels of government. And here is a damn good analysis on the formation of Protestant ethics born from and yet opposing it's mother, Catholicism. From her isolated monastic aim to the pursuit of a virtuous life pertaining to worldly advancement in capitalistic enterprise. The book is relatively reader friendly, but with a hundred pages of footnotes.

I can see this is where Erich Fromm obtained much of his information in his Escape From Freedom, yet this is much more detailed. How the Reformation meant not the elimination of the Church's control over everyday life, but rather the substitution of a new form of control for the previous one. How the Catholics, quieter less inquisitive impulse, had a stronger propensity to remain in their crafts while the Protestants attracted to action, to the factories in order to fill the upper ranks of skilled labor and administrative positions. The restful lesiureness of society was lost to the spirit of capitalism of "time is money" and efficiency, the utilization of personal powers and material possessions or capital, the moral attributes as quoted by Benjamin Franklin of "honesty the best policy" , the acquisition of money in diligence" Seest thou a man diligent in his business. He shall stand before kings - Proverbs XXii,29. Like the conservatives: unregulate all business in free trade, but instill morals in them.

It was here that Weber brings out that Luther reinterpreted the "calling" of Christ from the life of a monk and solitude to the aim of daily life both in family, domestic and in business; all activity was now considered as sacred. And now the amount of virtuous actions in business and money making was considered as part of this calling. What developed was the rejection of monastic asceticism to a new worldly asceticism. In this, Calvin's doctrine of predestination played a large role. True one is either elected or damned at birth, but the visible signs were worldly asceticism in virtues of daily life and the outward manifestations of capital, money, successful entrepreneurship. Calvin rejected all Catholic mystical and magical realms of imaginative and religious experiential awareness and rejection to all emotional appeal of religious experience to that of the utilitarian practicality of everyday efficient living in virtuous, the Puritan distrust of men, and ethical capitalistic society.

There's an excellent comparison of Lutheranism, Calvinism, the Pietism, Methodism and the Baptists sects, and their differences relating to capitalistic society. How the Puritans obsession with salvation from their anxious fear of death differs greatly from the Machiavelli proud love of this life. How conduct and poverty were signs to them of damnation and not of the elect. Man was systematized into a mechanical code of conduct as even the name Methodists implies "methods," to prove one's faith in worldly activity, as in book keeping, paying debts, scoring credit with God as in business transactions. The whole moral code of ethics can be described in monetary transactions as the price for sin, the paying of debts, the ransom payment and so forth, a systematic rational ordering of he moral life as a whole. Pietism allowed more emotion which was foreign to Calvinism, but not without methodical treatment and formulations, assuming grace is offered to all men, perhaps only at a certain moment in life, so here was the restorations of sacraments and confessionals from sin, grace being applied.

The Methodists saw all work not for salvation but for the glory of God, thus the clear sign of living a virtuous life, performing good works and pies actions with the Wesley anti-Calvinistic doctrine of grace. Here the doctrine of predestination was given up for the doctrine of ascetic conduct and grace.

And so as the unequal distribution of goods were seen as Divine Providence, then so was their productivity at low wages, as God's grace and damnation has secret ends unknown to men. Begging which was not only allowed but by Monks considered honorable, was now contemptible and the poor were so by God and thus the legalized exploitation and elected grace of the employer to his calling by God. There were differences though, as for and against big businesses and so forth.

While the Puritan wanted to work in a calling; we are forced to do so. "In the field of its highest development, in the United States, the pursuit of wealth, stripped of its religious and ethical meaning, tends to become associated with purely mundane passions, which often actually give it the character of sport." ... "The next task would be to show the significance of ascetic rationalism." p. 182
still a classic  Mar 13, 2005
Weber's "Protestant Ethic" has here been published along with the author's responses to various reviews; and this is a good idea as it may be helpful in dispelling the misconceptions that arose from the "Weber thesis" and are still rampant. Weber primarily had to deal with interpretations of his work that took him to say that modern capitalism had its cause in the attitudes and working habits of certain minority groups, to wit the "Protestants" or "Puritans" of the early modern era. So it was Weber's primary aim in his "counter-reviews" to point out that he had made no such claim at all; in fact, he assumed that modern capitalism had its origin in various social, political und scientific developments of the West completely independent of Protestantism. In particular, he tried to refute two common prejudices: that modern capitalism arose from greed and avarice, or alternatively, from industriousness. The Chinese, as far as we can tell, throughout history had been as industrious and hard-working as any people in the West, but failed to develop modern capitalism.
What Weber's thesis was all about was a change of outlook of certain groups of people at the beginning of the modern era. He noted, that-largely as a result of religious beliefs and attitudes-some people rejected the age-old and still prevalent ideal of the "universal man" of sound erudition and refined taste, the "gentleman" ideal of the Renaissance, in favor of a completely different life goal, that of the "professional man". This reduction of all human interests to success in one's vocation, has-far from being the "cause" of modern capitalism-simply proved to be the optimal adaptation to the ecological niche created by it.
While the upside of this development, in Weber's reckoning of things, was the emergence of the modern "rationalistic" outlook in all areas of life and thought, the downside was a thorough "disenchantment" of the world. Despite it enormous success in transforming the world and making it truly "humane", the human side of the ledger was not so upbeat. The more successful modern capitalism was, the more it produced a breed of individuals different from anything the world has seen before: "experts without wisdom, hedonists without a heart", as Weber contemptuously remarked, was the final outcome of the "Protestant ethic". (It is now upon us to prove him wrong on that charge.)

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