Protestant Ethic And The Spirit Of Capitalism Summary

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In “The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism,” Max Weber sought to explain the spirit of capitalism through Protestantism. Max Weber argues that Protestant ethics, ideas and virtues that arose out of the Reformation contributed to the emergence and evolution of modern capitalism. The “Protestant Ethic” is ascetic, characterized as “the practice of severe self-discipline and abstention from all forms of indulgence”, a rejection of worldly affairs, including the pursuit of wealth and possessions (Oxford Reference, 2006). Out of Protestantism originates the concept of a “calling,” which gives worldly activity and a religious character, and creates a sense of comfort of alleviation for believers (Weber, 1905/2008, p. 84). Weber establishes…show more content…
84). According to Weber and Protestantism, the earning of money is the result and expression of virtue and proficiency in a calling (Weber, 1905/2008, p. 84). This protestant ethic, according to Weber, results in the “social ethic of capitalistic culture, and is a sense the fundamental basis of it” (Weber, 1905/2008, p. 84). As revealed by Weber, the “Spirit of Capitalism” refers to a set of virtues and values, including hard work and progress, that favor the rational pursuit of profit and economic gain (Weber, 1905/2008, p. 84). The modern spirit of capitalism sees profit as an end in itself, and the pursuit of profit as a virtuous act (Weber, 1905/2008, p. 84). According to Weber, in the spirit of capitalism or the “philosophy of avarice”, an individual is obligated to be honest and hardworking, serve his duties and increase his capital (Weber, 1905/2008, p. 83). Once capitalism emerged, the protestant ethic became unnecessary, and the spirit of capitalism became an “iron cage,” locking individuals into place as involuntary cogs in a machine, creating positive economic activity in service to mechanized industry, with no foreseeable gain for the individual (Weber, 1905/2008, p.
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