Weber then connects this with the division of labour which emerged and expanded as industrial capitalism developed. The profit-making of the businessman justified his activities, and the fixed calling the work of the worker in a highly developed division of labour.
Weber goes on to discuss other Protestant movements – Methodism, Pietism and Anabaptism. Several common elements stand out. (i) State of grace marks off the possessor from the degradation of the flesh and the world. (ii) This state could not be ensured by magical sacraments, the relief of confession, or individual good works. (iii) This needed proof in individual behaviour to supervise the person's own state of conduct and have asceticism. (iv) It was necessary to have rational planning of the whole of one's life, in accordance with God's will, and this was required of everyone (not just saints). Christian asceticism led to freeing the world, now it went into the market place of life and undertook to penetrate daily routine.
Weber's approach connects the emergence of some Protestant religions with the psychological changes necessary to allow for the development of the spirit of capitalism. The Protestant idea of a calling, with worldly asceticism is an independent force, one which was not created by the change in institutions and structures (e.g. money, trade, commerce, etc.) but emerged entirely separately as an unintended consequence of the Reformation. These new ways of thinking and acting undoubtedly played a role in changing the view of people who became capitalists and workers. How important this was as a factor in the development of capitalism, compared to the changes in the institutions and structures cannot really be determined. However, since Weber's view of the inner motives for the capitalistic spirit are connected closely with the nature of capitalism, as Weber views it, these religious factors must have exercised considerable influence.
James Fulcher and John Scott (p.21, 2011) explain why theories of sociologists in past time and todays modern so-ciety are so important and why they can still be relevant today, “theory is or should be an attempt to describe and explain the real world, it is impossible to know any-thing about the real world without drawing on some kind of theoretical ideas.” Per-ceptions of Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim and Max Weber (who can also be known as the ‘holy trinity’ of the three founding fathers) theories have been interpreted for hundreds of years, leading to them hav...
Weber notes that Calvin's interest was solely in God, and people exist only for the sake of God. Only a few are chosen and the rest are damned. Human merit or guilt plays no role in whether or not one is elect. This doctrine produced "unprecedented inner loneliness of the single individual." (, p. 104). The individual Calvinist's connection with God was "carried on in deep spiritual isolation." (, p. 107) e.g. Pilgrim in Pilgrim’s Progress. Weber notes that this is not the spirit of enlightenment, but is a pessimistically disillusioned type of individualism.
For Weber, a rational or systematic approach to economic activity means that that economic actors consider which of the several different possible courses of action they will take. Each course of action has consequences, either positive or negative, and decisions concerning action are not made on the basis of tradition, religion, or by invoking magical powers. Rather, in a rational capitalism, actors are problem solvers and calculate balances of gains and losses so that action yields the greatest expansion in money. This is efficiencient, producing the greatest possible balance at the end, the process has a beginning (investment) and an end (return), is not chance or haphazard, and is coherent and considered. Weber argues that the west is the only place where this rational type of capitalism developed on any scale.
Compared with Marx, Weber both broadens and narrows the definition of capitalism. He considers all forms of money making through trade and exchange to represent capitalist activity, while Marx tended to define capitalism as a mode of production or fully developed system of capital accumulation. At the same time, Weber narrows the definition of capitalism, identifying it with peaceful free exchange, so that acquisition by force, e.g. piracy, is not part of capitalism. For Weber, rationality in the form of using balances, and the development of a monetary system, with measurement in money, is part of this. Rational, capitalistic acquisition is the systematic use of goods and services so that the balance at the end exceeds the capital originally invested. This method has existed since Antiquity, but to be properly carried out, must be highly developed, requires the use of money, and methods like double entry bookkeeping. For Weber, Marx's primitive accumulation of capital (dispossession of the peasantry and concentration of ownership of the means of production in the hands of a few) was not an essential part of capitalism, but an expression of non capitalistic forms, perhaps even detracting from, rather than assisting in, the development of capitalism.
Weber argues that there are many institutional developments that are necessary in order for capitalism to emerge (Adams and Sydie, p. 178). These include (i) the development of the Western city, with a trading structure independent of the surrounding rural areas; (ii) separation of the productive enterprise from the household; (iii) Western law, including the separation of corporate and personal property; (iv) the nation state, with a bureaucracy that could take care of necessary state activities; an organized territory under unified control of a single ruler or government, so that there was a unified framework within which commerce and capitalism could develop; (v) double entry bookkeeping, allowing business to keep track of all items and determine a balance; allowing rational calculation of all the inflows and outflows, leading to an analysis of where the profit or loss occurs, and what is the source of profit; (vi) "the rational capitalistic organization of (formally) free labour." (, p. 21).
So to study the institutions of religion, as did Marx, Durkheim and Weber, while at first glance might seem at first glance heretical to the believer, actually helps produce building blocks of knowledge that the theologian, believer, evangelist, and any other person may use to understand the workings of the religions in the larger institution of society.
It will analyse both Durkheim's study of Suicide and also Webers study of The Protestant work ethic, and hopefully establish how each methodology was used for each particular piece of research, and why....
This definition of capitalism represents an ideal type for Weber, that is, a concept which is "never discovered in this specific form" (Giddens, p. 141) in reality, but is an abstraction and combination of a number of observed features. As one studies history and society, it is necessary to construct "concepts which are specifically delineated for that purpose." (Giddens, p. 141) History demonstrates various patterns, in this case, rational and continuous accumulation. This occurs at many times and places, among different types of people, but is most fully developed in modern western society. Weber’s ideal types are in some sense similar to concepts such as the division of labour and organic solidarity of Durkheim, or Marx’s surplus value and labour power.