Max Weber's View On Protestantism

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Short Paper: Question 5
Max Weber and Modern Asia

Bryan Yenata
1001647
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
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55.) This means that in later time, when the beliefs of Protestantism is forgotten, those beliefs still leave some important parts, such as the Protestant work ethic, and the concept of ideal type.

To relate Weber with the modern era, we should first see the growth of Protestant number throughout the year. According to PEW Research, “Christianity has grown enormously in sub-Saharan Africa and the Asia-Pacific region, where there were relatively few Christians at the beginning of the 20th century”, “in the Asia-Pacific region it rose from 3% to 7%” (Global Christianity, 2011, para. 5.)

To test Weber’s argument, one way is to see the household consumption expenditure per capita of Asian countries. For example, Singapore’s household consumption expenditure in 1900 is around US$ 7000, while in 2010 it is around US$ 11600. Another example is China, where it’s household consumption expenditure in 1900 is around US$ 260, and in 2010 it is around US$ 1000. Another one is Indonesia, where in 1900 it is around US$ 460, and it is around US$ 950 in
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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.
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