MaxWeber clearly exemplifies the interrelationship between religiousbeliefs and economic performance whereby different religiousactivities influence the wellbeing of the society in various ways.Weber employed different approaches in most of his writingsespecially the prosthetic ethic and spirit of capitalism book wherebyhe illustrates the process of development of western civilizationciting various elements that were different from east and westcultures. According to Weber, Western culture is characterized by ascientific approach through experimentation, observation andorganizing analytical reports. Moreover, Weber suggests thatcharacteristics such as jurisprudence and administration of economicactivities and government help in improving the economy of a nation(Weber and Parsons 46).
Nevertheless,Weber shows a comparison between Protestants and Catholics whereby heargues that Protestants in the modern world end up beingbusinessmen, unlike their Catholic counterparts. As a matter of fact,Weber’s argument was supported by the results of research conductedin the United States of America which elucidated that AmericanProtestants were dominant in the business industry and comprised ofskilled workers (Weber and Parsons 58). However, Catholics laterovercame Protestants occupying most prestigious jobs in business asclearly stipulated in researches that were conducted after the year1960.
Additionally,Weber suggests that Protestant reformation symbolizes reduction inthe righteousness of the middle ages as Protestantism was meant tostrengthen the religious beliefs and not a means towardssecularization. Needless to say, Protestantism was supposed toestablish a combination of piety and business without worldlyenjoyment which was a common slogan among Catholic societies of theRenaissance (Weber and Parsons 64). Capitalism existed throughouthistory hence did not emanate from reformation since there weremerchants in different parts of the world such as China, Rome, Italyand Germany. Therefore, Weber introduces two forms of capitalismnamely traditional and rational capitalism whereby traditionalcapitalists were focused on realizing profits without taking care ofsocial ethic while the latter entailed production of commodities inmasses to target a vast market. Moreover, Weber articulates thattraditional capitalists were more inclined to acquiring a socialposition by accumulating the money to support it. On the other hand,rational capitalist aimed at making huge profits from high and steadysales but with moderate prices. Consequently, Weber argues thatmodern capitalism is not catapulted by the industrial revolution andadvancement in technology but by the availability of mass markets ofgoods produced on daily basis.
Evidencefrom the resources of other authors such as Benjamin Franklinstrengthens Weber’s argument since they outline a new approach todoing business whereby they emphasize on upholding ethics whileconducting business. Next, Weber illustrates various levels ofdevelopment of Protestantism whereby he focuses on Martin Luther’sapproach to calling, Calvinism and different ascetic branches ofProtestantism such as Methodists, Quakers, Baptists and Pietists.Weber refers to the idea of calling as a process of changingreligious motivation into the direction of routine work later leadingto the spirit of capitalism.
Furthermore,ascetic Protestants was grouped into Calvinists and radical sectswhereby Calvinists held an essential doctrinal point known aspredestination, while radical sects emulated the lives of ancientChristian apostles. Weber labels radical factions which comprised ofQuakers and Baptists as tangential articulating that they had atremendous impact on the American democracy (Sharot 36).Subsequently, Weber argued that the belief by Calvinist that Godalready knows individuals capable of being saved in heaven andindividuals meant for punishment in hell as leading to great anxietyas individuals worried of where they would be categorized. Therefore,the doctrine of predestination was perceived as a series of ideasthat had great influence on social history. Finally, Weber stipulatesthat medieval Catholicism devoted their divine energy towardschanging the economic life of the entire world. Arguably, Weberportrayed ways in which Catholics engaged in good deeds so that theycould obtain salvation whereby there existed spiritual ban accountswhich Weber argues led to a habit of sinning and repentance insteadof making the world a perfect place.
Weber’sscrutiny on the calling in the Protestant Ethic and the spirit ofcapitalism was aimed at motivating personnel’s in their chasetowards total success. According to a dogma by the Protestantreformer Martin Luther’s, every individual has his/her callingoriginating from the religious query for redemption. Moreover, thehypothetical map suggests that the vocation replicates anon-rationalist alignment to individual action with the decisions ofthe faithful stirred by their moral compulsion to perform their rolesand responsibilities to the best of their capacity. Therefore,personal desire to gain worldly belonging and increase one`spurchasing power is not a contributing factor towards an individualaction, but the desire to glorify God, which in return leads to theattainment of self-assurance in the inevitability of his everlastinggrace.
Subsequently,Max Weber argues that the calling is a personal notion that serves asthe foundation on which people make sense of their life situations intheir plans for achieving success and redemption. However, hisanalysis not only focused on the examination of how religiousphilosophies fuel an individual`s conduct but also lies in itsfuelling a theatrical social revolution capitalistic growth andultimate supremacy and the justification accompanying social life. Onthe other hand, Weber opposed that individual’s abstinent existencenecessitated by Hunt of one’s vocation was knotted to thedevelopment of contemporary systems of capitalization to simplify hisdispute. In the West, businesses were highly organized regardingobjective and systematic practices which were aimed at the efficientand effective production of produce a significant boost towards theexplosive growth of entrepreneurship and also initially a religioussanction towards living a life free from enticement (Sharot 45).Consequently, a shift in human social action occurred whereby profitswere sought not to ensure personal grace, but because it was in one`segotism to do so. However, due to the stripped nature of the calling,its mystical quays and spiritual instincts, it was furthertransformed into a predominant rationalist orientation to action.Therefore, capitalism introduced standardized and calculativemeasures into not only economic practices but also into plentifullife compasses such as sex, politics and sculpture (Weber and Parsons86)
InConclusion, Weber’s argument exposes a Marxist element about themoral concepts lying at the core of the Protestant ethos. Moreover,Weber challenges ideas that were accepted as the communal life andreal-world affair of the economic action. However, the course ofvalidation was unbridled dissent-chanting the western communities andcreating a barrier where one’s power to escape was minimized. Onthe other hand, Weber articulates that power ideas can bring towardschanging the social history. The probability of life of an individualwas determined by a combined power of supremacy of capitalism andobjective bureaucratic forms. From the Weber’s argument, religiousdoctrines had an impact on how individuals led their lives.
Sharot,Stephen. AComparative Sociology of World Religions: Virtuosos, Priests, andPopular Religion.New York [u.a.: New York Univ. Press, 2001. Print.
Weber,Max, and Talcott Parsons. TheProtestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.Mineola, N.Y. : Dover Publications, 2013. Print.