For the first time in 70 years, a new translation of Max Weber's classic The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism --one of the seminal works in sociology-- published in September 2001. Translator Stephen Kalberg is an internationally acclaimed Weberian scholar, and in this new translation he offers a precise and nuanced rendering that captures both Weber's style and the unusual subtlety of his descriptions and causal arguments. Weber's original italicization, highlighting major themes, has been restored, and Kalberg has standardized Weber's terminology to better facilitate understanding of the various twists and turns in his complex lines of reasoning. Weber's compelling work remains influential for these reasons: it explores the continuing debate regarding the origins and legacy of modem capitalism in the West; it helps the reader understand today's global economic development; and it plumbs the deep cultural forces that affect contemporary work life and the workplace in the United States and Europe. This new edition/translation also includes a glossary; Weber's 1906 essay, "The Protestant Sects and the Spirit of Capitalism"; and Weber's masterful prefatory remarks to his Collected Essays in the Sociology of Religion, in which he defines the uniqueness of Western societies and asks what "ideas and interests" combined to create modem Western rationalism
In this major work, the sociologists Eve Chiapello and Luc Boltanski go to the heart of the changes in contemporary business culture. Via an unprecedented analysis of the latest management texts that have formed the thinking of employers in their organization of business, the authors trace the contours of a new spirit of capitalism. They argue that from the middle of the 1970s onwards, capitalism abandoned the hierarchical Fordist work structure and developed a new network-based form of organization which was founded on employee initiative and autonomy in the workplace – a 'freedom' that came at the cost of material and psychological security. The authors connect this new spirit with the children of the libertarian and romantic currents of the late 1960s (as epitomised by dressed-down. cool capitalists such as Bill Gates and 'Ben and Jerry') arguing that they practice a more successful and subtle form of exploitation. In a work that is already a classic in Europe, Boltanski and Chiapello show how the new spirit triumphed thanks to a remarkable recuperation of the Left's critique of the alienation of everyday life – a recuperation that simultaneously undermined the power of its social critique.
The German sociologist Max Weber is considered to be one of the founding fathers of sociology, and ranks among the most influential writers of the 20th-century. His most famous book, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, is a masterpiece of sociological analysis whose power is based on the construction of a rigorous, and intricately interlinked, piece of argumentation. Weber's object was to examine the relationship between the development of capitalism and the different religious ideologies of Europe. While many other scholars focused on the material and instrumental causes of capitalism's emergence, Weber sought to demonstrate that different religious beliefs in fact played a significant role. In order to do this, he employed his analytical skills to understand the relationship between capitalism and religious ideology, carefully considering how far Protestant and secular capitalist ethics overlapped, and to what extent they mirrored each other. One crucial element of Weber's work was his consideration the degree to which cultural values acted as implicit or hidden reasons reinforcing capitalist ethics and behavior - an investigation that he based on teasing out the 'arguments' that underpin capitalism. Incisive and insightful, Weber's analysis continues to resonate with scholars today.
Any vision of capitalism's future prospects must take into account the powerful cultural influence Catholicism has exercised throughout the world. The Church had for generations been reluctant to come to terms with capitalism, but, as Michael Novak argues in this important book, a hundred-year-long debate within the Church has yielded a richer and more humane vision of capitalism than that described in Max Weber's classic The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. Novak notes that the influential Catholic intellectuals who, early in this century saw through Weber's eyes an economic system marked by ruthless individualism and cold calculation had misread the reality. For, as history has shown, the lived experience of capitalism has depended to a far greater extent than they had realized on a culture characterized by opportunity, cooperative effort, social initiative, creativity, and invention. Drawing on the major works of modern Papal thought, Novak demonstrates how the Catholic tradition has come to reflect this richer interpretation of capitalist culture. In 1891, Pope Leo XIII condemned socialism as a futile system, but also severely criticized existing market systems. In 1991, John Paul II surprised many by conditionally proposing "a business economy, a market economy, or simply free economy" as a model for Eastern Europe and the Third World. Novak notes that as early as 1963, this future Pope had signaled his commitment to liberty. Later, as Archbishop of Krakow, he stressed the "creative subjectivity" of workers, made by God in His image as co-creators. Now, as Pope, he calls for economic institutions worthy of a creative people, and for political and cultural reformsattuned to a new "human ecology" of family and work. Novak offers an original and penetrating conception of social justice, rescuing it as a personal virtue necessary for social activism. Since Pius XI made this idea canonical in 1931, the term has been rejected by the Right as an oxymoron and misused by the Left as a party platform. Novak applies this newly formulated notion of social justice to the urgent worldwide problems of ethnicity, race, and poverty. His fresh rethinking of the Catholic ethic comes just in time to challenge citizens in those two large and historically Catholic regions, Eastern Europe and Latin America, now taking their first steps as market economies, as well as those of us in the West seeking a realistic moral vision.
The Protestant Ethic and the spirit of Capitalism and Other Writings
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.
The Spirit of Capitalism answers a fundamental question of economics, a question neither economists nor economic historians have been able to answer: what are the reasons (rather than just the conditions) for sustained economic growth? Taking her title from Max Weber's famous study on the same subject, Liah Greenfeld focuses on the problem of motivation behind the epochal change in behavior, which from the sixteenth century on has reoriented one economy after another from subsistence to profit, transforming the nature of economic activity. A detailed analysis of the development of economic consciousness in England, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Japan, and the United States allows her to argue that the motivation, or spirit, behind the modern, growth-oriented economy was not the liberation of the rational economic actor, but rather nationalism. Nationalism committed masses of people to an endless race for national prestige and thus brought into being the phenomenon of economic competitiveness. Nowhere has economic activity been further removed from the rational calculation of costs than in the United States, where the economy has come to be perceived as the end-all of political life and the determinant of all social progress. American economic civilization spurs the nation on to ever-greater economic achievement. But it turns Americans into workaholics, unsure of the purpose of their pursuits, and leads American statesmen to exaggerate the weight of economic concerns in foreign policy, often to the detriment of American political influence and the confusion of the rest of the world.
The Protestant Ethnic and the Spirit of Capitalism
Provides a critical commentary on Max Weber's thesis about the relationship between ascetic Protestantism and the rise of modern capitalism and on the debate which the thesis generated. Marshall argues that Weber's thesis is best understood in the context of his intellectual environment.
This book offers a unique and accessible way of conceptualizing the vocations of art, science, and politics in the capitalist world through an examination of some neglected features of the work of the scholar who first traced their origins and consequences in 'the West': Max Weber.