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The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of…

The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism: and Other Writings… (original 1904; edition 2002)

by Max Weber, Peter Baehr, Gordon C. Wells

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3,311162,459 (3.85)19
Title:The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism: and Other Writings (Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics)
Authors:Max Weber
Other authors:Peter Baehr, Gordon C. Wells
Info:Penguin Classics (2002), Paperback, 464 pages
Collections:Someday, Wishlist

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The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism by Max Weber (Author) (1904)



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Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
  maoozilla | Apr 2, 2019 |
An exemplary and easy-to-grasp analysis using Weber's not-so-simple interpretive methodology, but ultimately not as theoretically rigorous as Economy and Society.

(its got the iron cage tho) ( )
  alexanme | Dec 9, 2018 |
This early book was Weber's great mistake. It is an assembly of failures in method, including confusing cause and effect. It is a case study in how not to do social science. Fortunately he recovered from this early failure. ( )
  johnclaydon | Apr 17, 2016 |
Weber's sociological magnum opus on the relationship between Protestantism, specifically Calvinism and Puritanism, and the development of the capitalistic spirit in the West.

He goes through all of his evidence thoroughly; between the text and the notes it is often easy to feel lost in the ocean of detail in terms of the history of the Protestant sects he describes. The evidence is necessary to develop and support his thesis: at least part of the story of the development of captalism as the defining ethos of the West involves the idea of one's job as a calling, the distinction between the pursuit of wealth for greed or vanity and wealth gained based on effective labor as a sign of God's favor and thus surety of election, and the approval and blessing of the latter, essentially "God helps those who help themselves".

One of those books you just have to read. ( )
1 vote deusvitae | Feb 23, 2015 |
For years we have been assaulted by politicians and religious leaders preaching the Christian "work ethic," yet I find little justification, if any, for the concept anywhere in the New Testament. I happened to be discussing this with my dad a while ago, who also happens to be one of the smartest people I know, and he recommended Weber’s book. First published in 1905, it provoked considerable controversy.

Weber's thought was grounded in a belief that history is of critical portance to the social sciences and that material factors had enormous influence upon the course of history — I didn't know any of this, I'm stealing it from the introduction. Weber was very critical of Marxism, but shared with Marx a concern for the evolution of industrialism capitalism. In the first few chapters, Weber defines what he means by capitalism. It's not just the pursuit of wealth that has been common to numerous cultures, but is an activity associated with the rational organization of formally free labor (his italics). Capitalism requires an organized labor force and a ready source of investment capital. Some of these factors were not present in Hindu and Confucian societies. Hinduism, in particular its tradition of caste, prevented the ready organization of the labor force. Also, its emphasis on asceticism focused toward the otherworldly and afterlife, and tended to accentuate the non-material. Trade was highly developed in China as in India, but Confucianism permitted a more material focus. The Calvinist ethic combined Judaism's "ethical prophecy" that encouraged emulation of the prophet with the eastern traditions to form a philosophy of reformation, i.e. achieve salvation through reforming the world by means of economic activity.

The development of the Western city was also important because they provided the foundation for political autonomy and the creation of a bourgeois society. Eastern civilizations were hampered by strong kinship relationships that crossed the agrarian-urban boundaries which tied the cities more firmly to an agrarian tradition. The problem that Weber articulates is that the Puritan wanted to work in a calling, for his salvation. That "work ethic" was harnessed by capitalism because we have to work, the sale of our labor being the only means to material satisfaction.

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3 vote ecw0647 | Sep 30, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (56 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Weber, MaxAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Estruch Gibert, JoanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Giddens, AnthonyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kalberg, StephenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Parsons, TalcottTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tawney, R.H.Forewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 041525406X, Paperback)

Max Weber's best-known and most controversial work, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, first published in 1904, remains to this day a powerful and fascinating read. Weber's highly accessible style is just one of many reasons for his continuing popularity. The book contends that the Protestant ethic made possible and encouraged the development of capitalism in the West. Widely considered as the most informed work ever written on the social effects of advanced capitalism, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism holds its own as one of the most significant books of the twentieth century. The book is one of those rare works of scholarship which no informed citizen can afford to ignore.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:59 -0400)

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The Protestant ethic - a moral code stressing hard work, rigorous self-discipline, and the organization of one's life in the service of God - was made famous by sociologist and political economist Max Weber. In this brilliant study (his best-known and most controversial), he opposes the Marxist concept of dialectical materialism and its view that change takes place through "the struggle of opposites." Instead, he relates the rise of a capitalist economy to the Puritan determination to work out anxiety over salvation or damnation by performing good deeds - an effort that ultimately discouraged belief in predestination and encouraged capitalism. Weber's classic study has long been required reading in college and advanced high school social studies classrooms.… (more)

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