Max Weber And Modern Asia Analysis

1322 Words6 Pages
Short Paper: Question 5
Max Weber and Modern Asia

Bryan Yenata
CC 01
Dr. Pang Yang Huei
HASS - 02.003: Theorising Society, the Self, and Culture

Max Weber argues that capitalism exists due to religion, more specifically Protestantism’s branch, Calvinism. This means that Protestantism is extremely important for the development of capitalism. This can be considered as a unique view as the standard view on capitalism is that it exists due to advancement in technology. This paper is going to talk about Max Weber’s argument of connection between protestantism and capitalism, and how protestantism connects with the current condition of modern Asia.

First of all, Weber uses Calvinism to support his argument that Protestantism is
…show more content…
Due to the Calvinists working “for the glory of God” and to proof their virtue, money is considered as the byproduct of their work, and so they are satisfied as long as they work even without gaining rewards such as money. This sort of Protestant ethic is the main cause of the formation of capitalism, since those who follow this ethic can be exploited as workers easily by the industrialists. The industrialists can give the workers just enough money to live and survive, just like what Karl Marx explained in his book. However, Weber argues that this tactic does not work, stating that low wages “are by no means identical with cheap labour” and “fail even from a purely business point of view wherever it is a question of producing goods which require any sort of skilled labour, or the use of expensive machinery which is easily damaged, or in general wherever any great amount of sharp attention or of initiative is required. Here low wages do not pay, and their effect is the opposite of what was intended.” (Weber, 1905/2005, p. 25.)

Moreover, Weber’s argument about religion and capitalism can also be compared with Marx’s, where Marx states that religion is “the opium of the people”. (Marx, p. 54.) Basically, Marx is saying that religion is just used for people to accept capitalism, instead of developing capitalism like Weber argues. Another way to interpret
…show more content…
This creates the Protestant work ethic, while developing capitalism in the process. This Protestant work ethic promotes the avoidance of spontaneous enjoyment, which is by saving money. So, if the number of Protestants increases, the expenses should decrease, and vice versa. Marx and Weber can also be seen to have completely different views of the relationship of capitalism and religion, as Weber is saying that religion is advancing capitalism while Marx says otherwise. Also, Weber’s argument may not be relevant to modern Asia, as the household expenses per capita in the Asian countries seem to increase despite the significant increase of Protestant number in Asia.
Open Document