reaction paper

M. Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, New Work: Scribner’s, 1958

In my opinion “The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism” is a highly empirical study of Weber that tries to explain a relationship between religion sects and capitalism, in this particular study the ethics of Protestantism and the spirit of capitalism. In short, Weber examines that Protestants economic position in the society is high and their accumulated welfare is developed much more than Catholics and then he tries to find out the reason behind this and explains his findings. The main difference of Weber and Marx’s approaches to capitalism is; Weber is not totally against to Marx’s materialism discourse, he is not rejecting that the superstructure is the result of infrastructure but he states that also superstructure has affects on infrastructure. Rather than accepting religion just as opium of people, he tries to clarify religious ethics impact on spirit of capitalism.

In my opinion this study should also had been conducted in a quantitative way in order to present real participation of Protestants and Catholics in economic life, the welfare of these two groups, the average working time of them etc. It is not I’m not believing Weber’s social observations but if there exists, numerical and obvious results of certain economic indicators of different religious groups could be a supporting part of this kind of a study. Otherwise there is a very little difference in Weber’s study and Turkey’s primeminister Tayyip Erdoğan’s recent declaration: "Yahudilerin çok ciddi keşifleri var. Oturdukları yerden para basıyorlar. Telefonun geçmişinde ve ampulün geçmişinde bunu görüyorsunuz." In this manner, one could easily argue that Jews have a strong affect on the spirit of capitalism, they are the master of trade etc. So the society in which this observation is done also prevent it from being a general theory. Plus, I think that “you may labour to be rich for God, though not for the flesh and sin” quotation resembles the approach of Fethullah Gülen’s religious community. They also say that they are working hard in the real world but they always say that they are working for the other world, not for themselves. Maybe Weber’s approach on the protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism could be followed to retrieve a reflection of it in Islamist communities and the spirit of capitalism.

reaction paper

E. Durkheim, The Division of Labour in Society, trans. L. Coser London: MacMillian Press, 1984.

Durkheim studies the function of the division of labour and states the social need behind this. Durkheim investigates the division of labour from a moral aspect and indicates that it satisfies the solidarity need of societies. In order to explain the social solidarity he chooses law as an organization of social life and divides law into two types which are repressive (penal law) and restitutive (civil law). While arguing the role and reflections of repressive law he argues that consciousnesses of people represent both their individual personality and the collectivity and the social solidarity is the result of society’s common consciousnesses. After expressing solidarity results from repressive law, he puts the restitutory law to the opposite side and derives a second solidarity; organic solidarity, from the nature of contractual law since contracts also includes mutual obligations of the two counterparts. He defines organic solidarity as a system of different functions united by definite relationships and he definitely states that there is a positive solidarity, a cooperation, a completion in the nature of division of labour.

He also investigates the causes and conditions that the division of labour depends on. He puts the need and motivation for happiness as a main cause of all progresses in social life and he states that it forces the individual to specialise more and more. Therefore, one could easily say that Durkheim sees division of labour as a natural and a normal result of a basic need of a human. But then, he states the abnormal forms of division of labour. He argues that as the density of division of labour increases, it may cause social instabilities. For example, he points out that the increased diversification of functions may result moral diversity. Industrial/commercial crises, hostility between labour and capital, boycotts are other examples. He quoted passages from Comte that explains the isolation of an individual as a result of division of labour, the lost of awareness about who the other collaborators are and what the task is. Durkheim states that these states of anomies main cause is the lack of solidarity that division of labour fails to produce. Finally he concludes that under normal circumstances the division of labour is a source of solidarity and it assumes that the workers feels they are in use, their activity is meaningful and they are going forward to an accomplishment of a goal.

In my opinion like economists’ “perfect market” assumption, although he mentions the abnormal results of division of labour, Durkheim draws a “perfect division of labour” picture. It is my belief that these defined “abnormal forms” are not anomalies but the natural results of division of labour since capitalists will never think of self-awareness and solidarity of a worker but always seek for their own benefit and apply what is necessary in order to increase their welfare.

("so you can develop a Marxist critique of Durkheim!"  diye not düşmüş kağıda Kenan hoca)

a sample of the mentality of Nazi administrators*

The Reich Minister of Justice
Information fot he Fuehrer
1943 No.

After the birth of her child, a full-blooded Jewess sold her mother’s milk to a pediatrician and concealed that she vas a Jewess. With this milk babies of German blood were fed in a nursing home for children. The accused will be charged with deception. The buyers of the milk have suffered damage, for mother’s a milk from a Jewess cannot be regarded as food for German children. The impudent behavior of the accused is an insult as well. Relevant charges, however, have not been applied for so that the parents, who are unaware of the true facts, need not subsequently be worried.

I shall discuss with the Reich Health Leader the racial-hygenic aspect of the case.

Berlin, April 1943

* from Bureaucracy and National Socialism by Frederic S. Burin

Bir gün herkese bir ayakkabı gerekebilir

01 Ekim 2009'da Bilgi Üniveresitesi'ndeki toplantıda Selçuk Özbek IMF başkanı Dominique Strauss-Kahn'a ayakkabı fırlattı. 02 Ekim 2009 tarihli BirGün gazetesi kapağı yukarıda.