By David Chalcraft, Austin Harrington
Max Weber's The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism is still some of the most influential texts within the sociology of contemporary Western societies. even supposing Weber by no means produced the additional essays with which he meant to increase the research, he did entire 4 long Replies to experiences of the textual content by way of German historians. Written among 1907 and 1910, the Replies supply a desirable perception into Weber's intentions within the unique research, and the current quantity is the 1st whole translation of all 4 Replies in English.
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Extra info for The Protestant Ethic Debate: Weber’s Replies to His Critics, 1907-1910
This was so much so that Sombart is right to speak of ‘capitalism’ as an economic stage only in modern times, and to distinguish this from individual capitalist enterprises – which have been known to exist for 4000 years. It goes without saying that for his own central question Sombart considers technical ‘calculativeness’ the decisive characteristic of the ‘spirit of capitalism’. For my question, to do with the rise of that ethical ‘lifestyle’ that was mentally ‘adequate’ to the economic stage of ‘capitalism’ and thereby victorious over the human ‘soul’, I believe my terminology is justified.
To be sure, fully developed manual work brings with it a certain degree of ‘rationalisation’ of economic activity, and ancient forms of capitalist enterprise dating back to the most distant millennia known to us likewise produced ‘calculativeness’ to a certain degree. But we can leave for discussion elsewhere the question of why ‘calculativeness’ in the capitalist economic forms of antiquity remained so far below the level of development reached by early modern forms, despite being at times quite colossal in quantitative terms.
This allegation, however, he has never attempted to substantiate through analysis of my argument. Instead, he just ‘insists’ on certain ‘words’ – or more accurately ‘fixates’ [‘klammert’] on them. In particular, he fixes on the expression ‘derive’ [ableiten] (which I not unintentionally put in inverted commas). This refers to my derivation of the vocational ethic from Protestant asceticism, and certain economically relevant components of the modern lifestyle from this ‘vocational ethic’. What I mean by this term ‘derive’ should be clear to any reader of my essay.