Weber, the Spirit of Capitalism and the Protestant Ethic Essay

955 Words Nov 26th, 2012 4 Pages
The protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism, by M. Weber

I/ What is the spirit of capitalism?

According to Marx’s theory, labour is what define oneself in the world and give meaning to one’s life. Weber emphasized that theory when he published in 1904 “The protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism”.

Contrary to what if often thought, capitalism is not an immoderate and immoral seek for money, but a rational and controlled way of doing business.

Profitability, which could be defined as the efficiency at generating earnings, is the mean purpose of the capitalistic state of mind. Limitless avidity is not a characteristic of the capitalism spirit but it often get confused with the need of profitability that
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Examples:

-Uncle Scrooge is widely known for his greed, especially towards his nephew Donald. He is the cliché of the rich capitalistic businessman, and in some points his attitude seems Protestant. He considers laziness, and more specifically Donald’s laziness, as a sin. Moreover, whenever Donald asks him for money, Uncle Scrooge always refuses: not helping sinners was an obligation for Protestants, because they think that otherwise they would disturb God’s work.
Scrooge is also working day and night in order to invest, buy and sell as much as possible. We can also consider that his ultimate purpose is to worship his very own God, the first penny he earned, just as Protestant used to do.

-On the contrary, hippies are a good counter example of what the spirit of capitalism and the Protestant ethic is. They do want peace in the whole world and they spread message of eternal love in order to achieve that ultimate goal. But their attitude and behaviours cannot be considered close from the Protestant ethic for that they refuse to seek for the more profitability possible trough work. Hippies do not want economic growth, their original objective being to live in little communities, producing themselves what they need without any trades, investment or sell.

-Another example would be the Wasp, or the White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, one of the first communities that settled down in USA. Their ethic allowed

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