Weber the Protestant Ethic and Term Paper

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Another approach taken by Weber in this study consists in explaining the characteristics of the bureaucracy. In the opinion of the author, this term may occur only in "political and ecclesiastical communities only in the modern state, and in the private economy only in the most advanced institutions of capitalism" ("The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism"). Moreover, the principle on which it is established is that of office hierarchy, in which the lower offices are supervised by the higher ones, which also exists within a legal framework, meaning that its activity is guided by written documents and usually follows some general rules.

The official is usually named in the office and, in the case of the political leaders, they gain a certain position due to their charisma, to which it also contributes his privilleged statute within the social system. Moreover, he is usually appointed, as an elected official is no longer considered to activate within a bureaucratic system. Usually, his position is held for life and he normally receives a salary as compensation for his activity, which usually grows in the same time with his position within the bureaucratic hierarchy.

However, bureaucracy has appeared quite late, and this is because of some obstacles it has encountered during its evolution: one of them consists in the fact that, initially, a place within the bureaucratic system was rather inherited than gained, and the other one is represented by the appearance of mass parties, which tend to elect their leaders rather then have them being appointed.

However, once established, bureaucracy is one of the structures that can hardly be destroyed, as it is "the means of transforming social action into rationally organized action" ("The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism").

1. In Max Weber's view, rationalization represents the path capitalism has followed in its attempt to gain wealth, a purpose which has been left behind at some point by the religious belief that stood at its basis, Protestantism. Other views on rationalization sustain that it is "the practical application of knowledge to achieve a desired end. Its purpose is to bring about efficiency, coordination, and control of the natural and social environment. It is a product of Western scientific specialization and technical differentiation" ("The Sociology of Max Weber," 1968).

2. Weber considered that the true form of capitalism has appeared in the West due to the fact that only here it has benefited of specific tools of action and it has been treated as a scientific subject.

3. In Weber's view, the spirit of capitalism represents the duty a person feels regarding its proffessional activity, no matter in what it consists, as a consequence of the need to increase his capital. Therefore, this belief is economically related, and, even more, it may be considered a primary economic mechanism, which is also based on a rational type of thinking.

4. The Protestant religious beliefs have certainly had an immense contribution to the development of capitalism, as people chose to involve in activities related to free trade, unlike other market forces, which have determined people to activate in other types of economies.

5. I think that the expression "world religion" refers somehow to the capitalist system, which is seen by Weber as being a universe guided by the Protestant beliefs, in which the individual is born and from where he may be eliminated if he does not adapt to the rules. Practically, this vision is one that can also be applied to the modern economic system, which is guided first of all by competition among its actors.


WEBER Max, 1981, "The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism," Blackwell Publishing, 324 pages;

FISCHOFF Ephraim, 1944, "The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Social Research," Vol. XI, pp.62-68;…

Sources Used in Document:


WEBER Max, 1981, "The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism," Blackwell Publishing, 324 pages;

FISCHOFF Ephraim, 1944, "The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Social Research," Vol. XI, pp.62-68;

FREUND Julien, 1968, "The Sociology of Max Weber," New York: Vintage Books.

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