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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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may not buy Weber's thesis in part or in toto, but it is so carefully argued that dissent has to be very nuanced and scholarly to be persuasive. (An example of such creative dissent is Tawney's "Religion and the Rise of Capitalism").
This Edition contains a fairly good translation; its main weakness is the arrangement of notes (Editor's and Weber's) at the end of each chapter. Hard to find because tops of pages don't contain chapter titles. And the notes are an important part of the whole.
The book also contains several of Weber's rebuttals to some citicisms that he received. Since these critiques are not reprinted here, the rebuttals are not fully self-explanatory. Moreover, this section is not inspiring for another reason: the tone of academic petulance diminishes the image of a great scholar.
What Weber's thesis was all about was a change of outlook of certain groups of people at the beginning of the modern era. He noted, that-largely as a result of religious beliefs and attitudes-some people rejected the age-old and still prevalent ideal of the "universal man" of sound erudition and refined taste, the "gentleman" ideal of the Renaissance, in favor of a completely different life goal, that of the "professional man". This reduction of all human interests to success in one's vocation, has-far from being the "cause" of modern capitalism-simply proved to be the optimal adaptation to the ecological niche created by it.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book inspired me to be the become a bureaucrat in the future. Very well written.Published 20 days ago by jessie miller
One of the most respected political scientists of our time. this man, who is known for his works about democracy and ts importance to modern society, should be in the ranks of the... Read morePublished 9 months ago by richard williams
This review is based on the German text.
Max Weber's main thesis is that Protestant religious ideas (its ethic) exert a certain influence on the spirit of capitalism. Read more