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The Protestant Ethic and the "Spirit" of Capitalism by Max Weber
Book overview and Thoughts - Beyond Thought
No doubt, you’ve heard about the concept of the “calling.” That concept that tells us that we should pursue our thing and commit to it, and that implies the moral value of hard work.
Max Weber provides, what I would like to call, one of the best sociology researched topics ever written. Weber goes deep into explaining the probable reasons of the “Spirit” of Capitalism; starting from Calvinism and the doctrine of predestination, the idea that God knows from the beginning who is saved and who is condemned, all the way to the creation of Protestantism that came as a result of the Reformation by the priest Martin Luther, who said that people have a duty to fulfill the obligations imposed upon them. This moral justification is one of the most important contributions of the Reformation.
Calvinists believed that God worked through them and the only way to obtain salvation was through pursuing their work, which was a sign that they have been chosen by God. After explaining the concept of the “calling” coming from Calvinism; Weber explains how this idea influenced the development of the capitalistic way of life, starting with the Asceticism Protestantism, that opposed the spontaneous enjoyment of life and set the ethical foundation that stated that we should only be spending money on things that serve God's glory.
I’ve always believed that religion influences everything, absolutely everything we have on our culture to the point that some things can be invisible to our consciousness, and the only way to get to know them is when we read history and understand where everything comes from.
Weber tells us that this is just his theory and that he could be wrong. However, the evidence he provides is astonishing and hard to pass by. Weber tries to understand how certain characteristics of modern culture can be traced back to the Reformation.
Protestant values are no longer necessary per se, and their ethics took on a life of its own. We are now trapped into the spirit of capitalism because it is now our way of life, and how we understand the world, to the point that we see no way out of it.
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