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The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism: and Other Writings (Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics) Paperback – April 30, 2002
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About the Author
Max Weber (1864-1920), German sociologist, one of the founders of modern sociology. He emphasised cultural and political factors as key influences on economic development and individual behaviour. Weber argued for a scientific and value-free approach to research, yet highlighted the importance of meaning and consciousness in understanding social action. His ideas continue to stimulate thought on social stratification, power, organisations, law, and religion. Peter Baehr teaches in the department of politics and sociology at Lingnan University in Hong Kong.
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This doesn't detract from the greatness of this text, and specifically the introduction and the included debates about The Protestant Ethic are a tremendous value. I just wish eBook quality was better.
It is amazing how this culture is evident in our lives today, even among those who are no longer Christians. Look at Buffet, he does not live ostentatiously, he creates and accumulates capital, he is still working at his advanced age, he works constantly, and he has given away his profits to charity. This is an almost perfect example of the protestant ethic. Look at Ted Turner's work and charity. Poor old Ted does not understand the forces of the culture that motivate him, but he is being carried along by the current that has been handed down to us by our forefathers. The same can be said for the Gates and their foundation, working to provide charity to the people of the earth. The same can be said for the Mellons, Carnieges, and others of thier ilk. Work hard, it is a calling, it is important to create wealth, it is good to create wealth, and then provide charity with that wealth. That is the ethic, and Weber tells us how it happened, and why it happened exclusively in America.
Weber himself was not taking sides religiously, just observing what he considered the facts of the case of the religious roots of America's booming capitalism, written when the US was emerging as a serious world power. Though by no means a deep dive into theology, Weber digs into an explanation of Protestant doctrine to make his point. Each reader will draw his own conclusions, but one cannot dispute the thoroughness and documentation of Weber's analysis.
Not an easy read, but worth it if you want to better appreciate what made this country great.
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Max Weber's main thesis is that Protestant religious ideas (its ethic) exert a certain influence on the spirit of capitalism.Read more