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.

1 comment:

  1. fetullah gülen should be one of the best examples that reflecs the relation of islamic communities and the spirit of capitalism.

    i like god's reaction way.