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Article Summary

This article provides the Max Weber’s idea of capitalism. The author says that Weber’s idea of capitalism is not about creating money out of greed but about Western ideas and modernity. According to the author, Weber considered the old ethics as religious, but the modern ethics were more rational and coherent. The foundation of the modern ethic was the thought that one’s work is a post-religious calling, ‘an absolute end in itself’. Weber’s thought was mistaken for work ethic when in fact he didn’t preach work ethics at all. Weber considered the blinkered focus of people on employment and the professional ethics to be the characteristic of good entrepreneurs who aimed at creating more money, and this he called as the spirit of capitalism.

Further Weber explains the concept of “iron cage” or “steel housing”, where he explains that people work under set conditions of rationality without paying any heed to the human ideal of warmth, spontaneity or breadth of outlook, but which also produced material goods for mass consumption in unprecedented amounts. The author finds this analysis to be very powerful because Weber sought to place under­standing before judgment.

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Words to learn from this Article:

Canonical: included in the list of sacred books officially accepted as genuine

Mangle: ruin or spoil

Dumbfound: greatly astonish or amaze

Realm: a field or domain of activity or interest

Sober: serious, sensible, and solemn

Coherent : logical and consistent

Proliferation: a rapid increase in the number or amount of something

Blinkered: having or showing a narrow or limited outlook

Unprecedented: never done or known before


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