Weber Protestant Ethic Tweeted

The rationalism that dominates western institutions depends on individuals being socio-cognitively disposed toward practical rational conduct.

  1. Rational thinking in western culture permeates law, science, and culture in a manner that sets it apart as a phenomenon to be understood/explained.
  2. Capitalism — the urge to ever increase profit, not just the urge to acquire stuff — is dominant force in western society. "Enterprises" only survive if they seek to constantly increase profit.
  3. Western capitalism marked by rational industrial organization; separation of business from household; rational bookkeeping; rational capitalistic organization of (formally) free labor
  4. This rationalism extends to many fields — science, mystical contemplation, military training, law and administration. Each is rationalized in terms of different ultimate values and ends. Important for people to be disposed toward practical rational conduct.
  5. In this book, we will treat ONLY ONE SIDE OF THE CAUSAL CHAIN, the connection of the spirit of modern economic life with the rational ethics of ascetic Protestantism.

Religious Affiliation and Social Stratification

  1. Craft to Industry: who decides to become entrepreneur and why?
  2. Catholics remain in craft, Protestants more likely to move toward administration, ownership, etc. Is there something in their socio-cultural mindset?
  3. IDEAL TYPES: Catholic control over EDL via tradition, command, belief. Protestant control over everyday life via internalized (self) discipline.
  4. IDEAL TYPES: Protestantism NOT enlightenment-based liberation. A type of fundamentalism.

The spirit of capitalism is a worldview or mindset that sees the opposite of indolence as a duty

  1. First of all it is an IDEAL TYPE — a complex of attitudes, practices, styles of thinking that have cultural significance. It's a heuristic.
      1. Ideal Type: Ben Franklin's "good man of honest credit" — duty toward increasing one's capital — parable of the talents (Matthew 25)
      2. Acquisition as end in itself. Goodness in avoiding extravagance
  2. The interesting question is WHERE DID THIS SITUATION COME FROM? Not from "superstructure" — the idea was there first. Not from nature: once you can subsist, why work more?
  3. Weber then gives a powerful analysis of the various possible explanations for this socio-cultural-cognitive-behavioral norm. Great model for thinking about thinking.
  4. His ultimate answer is that the origin of the irrational element at base of the concrete form of rational thought behind capitalism is the conception of a calling.

Luther’s Concept of "The Calling" (Beruf — vocation) allowed asceticism to "move out of the monastery" and into the world

  1. The idea of a calling — a life-task, a definite field in which to work — is peculiar to Protestants.
  2. They "invent" the idea of obligation to show your worth by fulfilling duty in your position in life
  3. The idea starts in Calvinism as based in tradition as simply "accept your lot and do your duty"
  4. Protestantism had a further new development, which was the valuation of the fulfillment of duty in worldly affairs as the highest form which the moral activity of an individual could assume and this is in CONTRAST to trying to surpass worldly morality by monastic asceticism.

Worldly Asceticism as a cultural mindset evolved as protestant sects differentiated, split, etc.

  1. Idea of the calling and duty evolve with evolution of other ascetic Protestantism: Calvinism, Pietism, Methodism and the Baptist sects.

Asceticism and The Spirit of Capitalism

  1. Morality of activity
  2. The division of labor
  3. The ascetic outlook
  4. Turns into a general cultural outlook, "The Iron Cage"
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