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The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1904)

by Max Weber

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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3,928262,428 (3.81)19
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.… (more)
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In this sociology classic, Weber calls out Protestantism for making work an end in itself, dubbing it “the spirit of capitalism.” By bringing asceticism from the monasteries and sanctifying work as a way of glorifying God and his rational order to the world, Protestant sects usurped Middle Ages values against extreme profiteering and working beyond necessity. Though done with the aim of salvation, these sects’ austerity and the cult of hardwork ended up enriching them, which in turn made them more idle and enamored with the world of material things. This materialism upended the spirituality that birthed it, leading to 18th century Deism and atheism existing alongside a self-justifying duty to work as much as possible.

Part of the reason for Weber arguing this is to attacking Marx’s assertion that religion is a superstructural echo of the material, economic base, and therefore not something that causes real change in the world. I got a lot out of this book. Recommended for anyone critical of capitalism who is also interested in religion and history.
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1 vote 100sheets | Jun 7, 2021 |
Considered a classic of Western history and sociology, Weber's book essentially argues that one reason Protestant countries succeeded so wildly during the transition to capitalism in the 18th and 19th centuries is the affinity between the "innerworldly asceticism" of Protestantism and the work ethic of entrepreneurial capitalism. Weber gives a really detailed account of the rise of the spirit of capitalism in various Protestant denominations. It's wild. ( )
  jalbacutler | Oct 6, 2020 |
Giddens, Anthony (Introduction)
  LOM-Lausanne | Apr 29, 2020 |
左岸新出一個版本,由于曉等人翻譯,比較之後,還是覺得新橋版讀起來比較順。
  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) ( )
  sashame | Dec 9, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
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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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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.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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