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Asceticism and the Spirit of Capitalism

Asceticism and the Spirit of Capitalism


The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism is the work of Max Weber , the first in the form of a two-part essay in November 1904 and spring 1905 in the Archives of Social Science and Social Policy is published, Volume XX and XXI, and in 1920 in a revised version of was published. It ranks next to Weber's writing economy and society for its internationally important contributions to sociology and is a fundamental work of the sociology of religion . Between the Protestant ethic and the beginning of industrialization and of capitalism in Western Europe there is a close connection to this work. The compatibility ("Elective Affinities") of the ethics and religious belief of the Protestants , especially Calvinists , and the principle of the capitalist accumulation of capital and reinvestment of profits were the perfect backdrop for the industrialization. Max Weber's publication "The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism" counts up to today the most popular, most cited and discussed in the essays Space Chair Weber's work. The first in 1904/05, "Archives of Social Science and Social Policy" essay is published in the core of the importance of Protestantism as a religious root of modern capitalism. An essential and characteristic component of the modern capitalism is for Weber the prevalence of a rational life, which shows itself primarily in the form of professional ethics


At the beginning of the study on the Protestant ethic, Weber examined the relationship between the social position (in the sense of possession and distribution capital of the company) and denominational affiliation. He picks up at that time current empirical data back. A look at the denominational statistics shows a positive correlation between Capital ownership and entrepreneurship on the one hand, and belonging to Protestantism magnetism on the other side (17f.). Historically, this is the question of cause and effect (Protestantism led to a proliferation of entrepreneurship, or vice versa?) Pre-not only easy to answer. Weber takes the example of medieval towns, at first, may be that the religion certainly also a consequence of the ownership of capital. The difficult question is:

"What reason had this very strong predisposition to the economically developed opted areas for a religious revolution? "(19f.)

According to Weber, is often forgotten that the Reformation was not the elimination of church Rule, but its replacement by another was. This new rule was

In addition,

"In a far-reaching extent possible in all spheres of domestic and public union life penetrating, infinitely annoying and serious regulation the whole life. "(20)

All the more surprising and requires explanation for the success of Weber's "Puritan [n]

Tyranny "(20), particularly in the emerging" bourgeois "middle classes. Specifically,

it is the rule of Calvinism in the 16th century. in Geneva and Scotland, between the

16-17. Century in Holland and in the 17th century in New England and occasionally mentioned in England:

"How is it that just at this economically most developed countries, and, as we shall ...
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