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Max Weber 1

Max Weber
Max Weber

German sociologist and political economist

Born 21 April 1864


Erfurt, Prussian Saxony

Died 14 June 1920 (aged 56)


Munich, Bavaria

Maximilian Carl Emil "Max" Weber (German pronunciation: [ˈmaks ˈveːbɐ](VABer); 21 April 1864 – 14 June 1920)
was a German sociologist and political economist, who profoundly influenced social theory, social research, and the
discipline of sociology itself.[1] Weber's major works dealt with the rationalization and "disenchantment" he
associated with the rise of capitalism and modernity.[2] Weber was, along with his associate Georg Simmel, a central
figure in the establishment of methodological antipositivism; presenting sociology as a non-empirical field which
must study social action through resolutely subjective means.[3] He is typically cited, with Émile Durkheim and Karl
Marx, as one of the three principal architects of modern social science,[4] and has variously been described as the
most important classic thinker in the social sciences.[5] [6]
Weber is most famous for his thesis in economic sociology, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. In this
text, Weber argued that ascetic Protestantism particular to the Occident was one of the major "elective affinities" in
determining the rise of capitalism, bureaucracy and the rational-legal nation-state. Arguing against what he felt was
Marx's overly-materialistic interpretation of the development of capitalism, he instead emphasised religious
influences embedded in culture.[7] The Protestant Ethic formed the earliest work in Weber's broader project in the
sociology of religion: he would go on to examine the religion of China, the religion of India, and Ancient Judaism,
with particular regard to the apparent non-development of Capitalism, and to differing forms of social stratification.
In another major work, Politics as a Vocation, Weber defined the state as an entity which claims a "monopoly on the
legitimate use of violence", a definition that became pivotal to the study of modern Western political science. His
analysis of bureaucracy in his Economy and Society is still central to the modern study of organizations. Weber was
the first to recognize several diverse aspects of social authority, which he respectively categorized according to their
charismatic, traditional, and legal forms. His analysis of bureaucracy thus noted that modern state institutions are
based on a form of rational-legal authority. Weber's thought regarding the rationalizing and secularizing tendencies
of modern Western society (sometimes described as the "Weber Thesis") would come to facilitate critical theory,
particularly in the work of thinkers such as Jürgen Habermas.
Max Weber 2

After the First World War, Weber was among the founders of the German Democratic Party. He was one of the key
drafters of the ill-fated, post-World War I Weimar Constitution of Germany, and specifically of the Article 48 which
would have far-reaching consequences over the destinies of the country.

Biography
Weber was born in 1864, in Erfurt in Thuringia, the eldest of seven children of Max Weber Sr., a wealthy and
prominent politician in the National Liberal Party (Germany) and a civil servant, and Helene Fallenstein, a Protestant
and a Calvinist, with strong moral absolutist ideas.[8] Weber Sr.'s engagement with public life immersed the family
home in politics, as his salon received many prominent scholars and public figures.
The young Weber and his brother Alfred, who also became a sociologist and economist, thrived in this intellectual
atmosphere. Weber's 1876 Christmas presents to his parents, when he was thirteen years old, were two historical
essays entitled "About the course of German history, with special reference to the positions of the emperor and the
pope" and "About the Roman Imperial period from Constantine to the migration of nations".[9]
In 1882 Weber enrolled in the University of Heidelberg as a law student.[10]
In 1886 Weber passed the examination for "Referendar", comparable to the bar
association examination in the British and American legal systems. Throughout
the late 1880s, Weber continued his study of history. He earned his law doctorate
in 1889 by writing a doctoral dissertation on legal history entitled The History of
Medieval Business Organisations.[10] Two years later, Weber completed his
Habilitationsschrift, The Roman Agrarian History and its Significance for Public
and Private Law.[11] Having thus become a "Privatdozent", Weber was now
qualified to hold a German professorship.

In the years between the completion of his dissertation and habilitation, Weber
took an interest in contemporary social policy. In 1888 he joined the "Verein für
Max Weber and his brothers, Alfred Socialpolitik",[12] the new professional association of German economists
and Karl, in 1879
affiliated with the historical school, who saw the role of economics primarily as
the solving of the wide-ranging social problems of the age, and who pioneered
large scale statistical studies of economic problems. He also involved himself in politics, joining the left leaning
Evangelical Social Congress.[13] In 1890 the "Verein" established a research program to examine "the Polish
question" or Ostflucht, meaning the influx of foreign farm workers into eastern Germany as local labourers migrated
to Germany's rapidly industrialising cities. Weber was put in charge of the study, and wrote a large part of its
results.[12] The final report was widely acclaimed as an excellent piece of empirical research, and cemented Weber's
reputation as an expert in agrarian economics.
Max Weber 3

In 1893 he married his distant cousin Marianne Schnitger, later a feminist and
author in her own right,[14] who was instrumental in collecting and publishing
Weber's journal articles as books after his death. The couple moved to Freiburg
in 1894, where Weber was appointed professor of economics at Freiburg
University,[11] before accepting the same position at the University of Heidelberg
in 1896.[11] Next year, Max Weber Sr. died, two months after a severe quarrel
with his son that was never resolved.[15] After this, Weber became increasingly
prone to nervousness and insomnia, making it difficult for him to fulfill his duties
as a professor.[11] His condition forced him to reduce his teaching, and leave his
last course in the fall of 1899 unfinished. After spending months in a sanatorium
during the summer and fall of 1900, Weber and his wife traveled to Italy at the
end of the year, and did not return to Heidelberg until April 1902.
Max Weber and his wife Marianne in
After Weber's immense productivity in the early 1890s, he did not publish any
1894
papers between early 1898 and late 1902, finally resigning his professorship in
late 1903. Freed from those obligations, in that year he accepted a position as
associate editor of the Archives for Social Science and Social Welfare[16] next to his colleagues Edgar Jaffé and
Werner Sombart.[17] In 1904, Weber began to publish some of his most seminal papers in this journal, notably his
essay The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. It became his most famous work,[18] and laid the foundations
for his later research on the impact of cultures and religions on the development of economic systems.[19] This essay
was the only one of his works that was published as a book during his lifetime. Also that year, he visited the United
States and participated in the Congress of Arts and Sciences held in connection with the World's Fair (Louisiana
Purchase Exposition) at St. Louis. Despite his successes, Weber felt that he was unable to resume regular teaching at
that time, and continued on as a private scholar, helped by an inheritance in 1907.[16] In 1912, Weber tried to
organise a left-wing political party to combine social-democrats and liberals. This attempt was unsuccessful,
presumably because many liberals feared social-democratic revolutionary ideals at the time.[20]

During the First World War, Weber served for a time as director of the
army hospitals in Heidelberg.[16] [21] In 1915 and 1916 he sat on
commissions that tried to retain German supremacy in Belgium and
Poland after the war. Weber's views on war, as well as on expansion of
the German empire, changed throughout the war.[20] [21] [22] He
became a member of the worker and soldier council of Heidelberg in
1918. In the same year, Weber became a consultant to the German
Max Weber in 1917 Armistice Commission at the Treaty of Versailles and to the
commission charged with drafting the Weimar Constitution.[16] He
argued in favor of inserting Article 48 into the Weimar Constitution.[23] This article was later used by Adolf Hitler to
institute rule by decree, thereby allowing his government to suppress opposition and obtain dictatorial powers.
Weber's contributions to German politics remain a controversial subject to this day.

Weber resumed teaching during this time, first at the University of Vienna, then in 1919 at the University of
Munich.[16] In Munich, he headed the first German university institute of sociology, but ultimately never held a
personal sociology appointment. Many colleagues and students in Munich argued against him for his speeches and
left-wing attitude during the German Revolution of 1918 and 1919, with some right-wing students holding protests
in front of his home.[20] Max Weber contracted the Spanish flu and died of pneumonia in Munich on 14 June 1920.
Max Weber 4

Achievements
Weber's most famous work relates to economic sociology, political sociology, and the sociology of religion. Along
with Karl Marx and Émile Durkheim,[24] he is regarded as one of the founders of modern sociology. In his time,
however, Weber was viewed primarily as a historian and an economist.[24] [25] The breadth of Weber's topical
interests is apparent in the depth of his social theory:
The affinity between capitalism and Protestantism, the religious origins of the Western world, the force of
charisma in religion as well as in politics, the all-embracing process of rationalization and the bureaucratic
price of progress, the role of legitimacy and of violence as offsprings of leadership, the 'disenchantment' of the
modern world together with the never-ending power of religion, the antagonistic relation between
intellectualism and eroticism: all these are key concepts which attest to the enduring fascination of Weber's
thinking.
– Radkau, Joachim Max Weber: A Biography 2005[26]
Whereas Durkheim, following Comte, worked in the positivist tradition, Weber created and worked – like Werner
Sombart, his friend and then the most famous representative of German sociology – in the antipositivist,
hermeneutic, tradition.[27] These works pioneered the antipositivistic revolution in social sciences, stressing (as in the
work of Wilhelm Dilthey) the difference between the social sciences and natural sciences.[27]
We know of no scientifically ascertainable ideals. To be sure, that makes our efforts more arduous than in the
past, since we are expected to create our ideals from within our breast in the very age of subjectivist culture.
– Max Weber Economy and society 1909[28]
Weber presented sociology as the science of human social action; action which he differentiated into traditional,
affectional, value-rational and instrumental.[29]
[Sociology is ] ... the science whose object is to interpret the meaning of social action and thereby give a
causal explanation of the way in which the action proceeds and the effects which it produces. By 'action' in
this definition is meant the human behaviour when and to the extent that the agent or agents see it as
subjectively meaningful ... the meaning to which we refer may be either (a) the meaning actually intended
either by an individual agent on a particular historical occasion or by a number of agents on an approximate
average in a given set of cases, or (b) the meaning attributed to the agent or agents, as types, in a pure type
constructed in the abstract. In neither case is the 'meaning' to be thought of as somehow objectively 'correct' or
'true' by some metaphysical criterion. This is the difference between the empirical sciences of action, such as
sociology and history, and any kind of priori discipline, such as jurisprudence, logic, ethics, or aesthetics
whose aim is to extract from their subject-matter 'correct' or 'valid' meaning.
– Max Weber The Nature of Social Action 1922, [30]
Weber began his studies of rationalisation in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, in which he argued
that the redefinition of the connection between work and piety in Protestantism, and especially in ascetic Protestant
denominations, particularly Calvinism,[31] shifted human effort towards rational efforts aimed at achieving economic
gain. In Calvinism in particular, but also in Lutheranism, Christian piety towards God was expressed through or in
one's secular vocation. Calvin, in particular, viewed the expression of the work ethic as a sign of "election". The
rational roots of this doctrine, he argued, soon grew incompatible with and larger than the religious, and so the latter
were eventually discarded.[32] Weber continued his investigation into this matter in later works, notably in his studies
on bureaucracy and on the classifications of authority into three types—legitimate, traditional, and charismatic. In
these works Weber described what he saw as society's movement towards rationalization.
What Weber depicted was not only the secularization of Western culture, but also and especially the
development of modern societies from the viewpoint of rationalization. The new structures of society were
marked by the differentiation of the two functionally intermeshing systems that had taken shape around the
organizational cores of the capitalist enterprise and the bureaucratic state apparatus. Weber understood this
Max Weber 5

process as the institituionalization of purposive-rational economic and administrative action. To the degree
that everyday life was affected by this cultural and societal rationalization, tradional forms of life - which in
the early modern period were differentated primarily according to one's trade - were dissolved.
– Jürgen Habermas Modernity's Consciousness of Time, [2]
Many of Weber's works famous today were collected, revised, and published posthumously. Significant
interpretations of his writings were produced by such sociological luminaries as Talcott Parsons and C. Wright Mills.
Parsons in particular imparted to Weber's works a functionalist, teleological perspective; this personal interpretation
has been criticised for a latent conservatism.[33]

Sociology of religion
Weber's work in the field of sociology of religion started with the essay The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of
Capitalism, which grew out of heavy "field work" among Protestant sects in America, and continued with the
analysis of The Religion of China: Confucianism and Taoism, The Religion of India: The Sociology of Hinduism and
Buddhism, and Ancient Judaism. His work on other religions was interrupted by his sudden death in 1920, which
prevented him from following Ancient Judaism with studies of Psalms, Book of Jacob, Talmudic Jewry, early
Christianity and Islam.[34] His three main themes were the effect of religious ideas on economic activities, the
relation between social stratification and religious ideas, and the distinguishable characteristics of Western
civilization.[35]
His goal was to find reasons for the different development paths of the cultures of the Occident and the Orient,
although without judging or valuing them, like some of the contemporary thinkers who followed the social Darwinist
paradigm; Weber wanted primarily to explain the distinctive elements of the Western civilization.[35] In the analysis
of his findings, Weber maintained that Calvinist (and more widely, Protestant) religious ideas had had a major
impact on the social innovation and development of the economic system of Europe and the United States, but noted
that they were not the only factors in this development. Other notable factors mentioned by Weber included the
rationalism of scientific pursuit, merging observation with mathematics, science of scholarship and jurisprudence,
rational systematization of government administration, and economic enterprise.[35] In the end, the study of the
sociology of religion, according to Weber, focused on one distinguishing part of the Western culture, the decline of
beliefs in magic, or what he referred to as "disenchantment of the world".[35]
Max Weber 6

The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism


Weber's essay The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (Die
protestantische Ethik und der Geist des Kapitalismus) is his most famous
work.[18] It is argued that this work should not be viewed as a detailed study of
Protestantism, but rather as an introduction into Weber's later works, especially
his studies of interaction between various religious ideas and economic
behaviour. In The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Weber put
forward the thesis that Calvinist ethic and ideas influenced the development of
capitalism. He noted the shift of Europe's economic center after the Reformation
away from Catholic countries such as France, Spain and Italy, and toward
Protestant countries such as the Netherlands, England, Scotland and
Germany.Weber also noted that societies having more Protestants were those that
have a more developed capitalist economy.[36]

Christian religious devotion had historically been accompanied by rejection of Cover of the original German edition
[37]
mundane affairs, including economic pursuit. Weber showed that certain of The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit
of Capitalism
types of Protestantism – notably Calvinism – were supportive of rational pursuit
of economic gain and worldly activities dedicated to it, seeing them as endowed
with moral and spiritual significance.[31] Weber argued that there were many reasons to look for the origins of
modern capitalism in the religious ideas of the Reformation.[38]

This theory is often viewed as a reversal of Marx's thesis that the economic "base" of society determines all other
aspects of it.[31]
Weber abandoned research into Protestantism because his colleague Ernst Troeltsch, a professional theologian, had
begun work on the book The Social Teachings of the Christian Churches and Sects. Another reason for Weber's
decision was that Troeltsch's work already achieved what he desired in that area, which is laying groundwork for
comparative analysis of religion and society.[39] The phrase "work ethic" used in modern commentary is a derivative
of the "Protestant ethic" discussed by Weber. It was adopted when the idea of the Protestant ethic was generalised to
apply to the Japanese people, Jews and other non-Christians.

The Religion of China: Confucianism and Taoism


The Religion of China: Confucianism and Taoism was Weber's second major work on the sociology of religion.
Weber focused on those aspects of Chinese society that were different from those of Western Europe and especially
contrasted with Puritanism, and posed a question why capitalism did not develop in China.[40] He focused on the
issues of Chinese urban development, Chinese patrimonialism and officialdom, and Chinese religion, as the areas in
which Chinese development differed most distinctively from the European route.[40]
According to Weber, Confucianism and Puritanism are mutually exclusive types of rational thought, each attempting
to prescribe a way of life based on religious dogma. Notably, they both valued self control and restraint, and did not
oppose accumulation of wealth. However, to both those qualities where just means to the final goal, and here they
were divided by a key difference. The Confucianism goal was "a cultured status position", while Puritanism's goal
was to create individuals who are "tools of God". The intensity of belief and enthusiasm for action were rare in
Confucianism, but common in Protestantism. Therefore, Weber states that it was this difference in social attitudes
and mentality, shaped by the respective, dominant religions, that contributed to the development of capitalism in the
West and the absence of it in China.[41]
Max Weber 7

The Religion of India: The Sociology of Hinduism and Buddhism


The Religion of India: The Sociology of Hinduism and Buddhism was Weber's third major work on the sociology of
religion. In this work he deals with the structure of Indian society, with the orthodox doctrines of Hinduism and the
heterodox doctrines of Buddhism, with modifications brought by the influence of popular religiosity, and finally with
the impact of religious beliefs on the secular ethic of Indian society.[42]
Weber ended his research of society and religion in India by bringing in insights from his previous work on China to
discuss similarities of the Asian belief systems. He notes that the beliefs saw the meaning of life as otherwoldy
mystical experience. The social world is fundamentally divided between the educated elite, following the guidance
of a prophet or wise man, and the uneducated masses whose believes are centered on magic. In Asia, there was no
Messianic prophecy to plan and meaning to the everyday life of educated and uneducated alike. Weber juxtaposed
such Messianic prophecies, notably from the Near East region to those found on the Asiatic mainland, focusing more
on exemplary ways to live one's life. It was those differences that prevented the countries of the Occident from
following the paths of the earlier Chinese and Indian civilizations. His next work, Ancient Judaism was an attempt to
prove this theory.[43]

Ancient Judaism
In Ancient Judaism, his fourth major work on the sociology of religion, Weber attempted to explain the factors
which resulted in the early differences between Oriental and Occidental religiosity.[44] It is especially visible when
the innerworldly asceticism developed by Western Christianity is contrasted with mystical contemplation of the kind
developed in India.[44] Weber noted that some aspects of Christianity sought to conquer and change the world, rather
than withdraw from its imperfections.[44] This fundamental characteristic of Christianity (when compared to Far
Eastern religions) stems originally from ancient Jewish prophecy.[45]
Weber notes that Judaism not only fathered Christianity and Islam, but was crucial to the rise of modern Occident
state, as its influence were as important to those of Hellenistic and Roman cultures.
Weber's premature death in 1920 prevented him from following Ancient Judaism with his planned analysis of
Psalms, Book of Jacob, Talmudic Jewry, early Christianity and Islam.

Sociology of politics and government


In political sociology, one of Weber's most significant contributions is his Politics as a Vocation essay. Therein,
Weber unveils the definition of the state that has become so pivotal to Western social thought: that the state is that
entity which possesses a delegatable monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force.[46] . Weber wrote that politics
derives from power, as is to be understood as any activity in which the state might engage itself in order to influence
the relative distribution of force. A politician must not be a man of the "true Christian ethic", understood by Weber
as being the ethic of the Sermon on the Mount, that is to say, the injunction to turn the other cheek. An adherent of
such an ethic ought rather to be understood to be a saint, for it is only saints, according to Weber, that can
appropriately follow it. The political realm is no realm for saints. A politician ought to marry the ethic of ultimate
ends and the ethic of responsibility, and must possess both a passion for his vocation and the capacity to distance
himself from the subject of his exertions (the governed).[47]
Weber distinguished three pure types of political leadership, domination and authority:
1. charismatic domination (familial and religious),
2. traditional domination (patriarchs, patrimonialism, feudalism), and
3. legal domination (modern law and state, bureaucracy).[48]
In his view, every historical relation between rulers and ruled contained such elements and they can be analysed on
the basis of this tripartite distinction.[49] He notes that the instability of charismatic authority forces it to "routinize"
into a more structured form of authority. In a pure type of traditional rule, sufficient resistance to a ruler can lead to a
Max Weber 8

"traditional revolution". The move towards a rational-legal structure of authority, utilising a bureaucratic structure, is
inevitable in the end.[50] Thus this theory can be sometimes viewed as part of the social evolutionism theory. This
ties to his broader concept of rationalisation by suggesting the inevitability of a move in this direction.
Weber is also well-known for his critical study of the bureaucratisation of society, the rational ways in which formal
social organizations apply the ideal type characteristics of a bureaucracy. It was Weber who began the studies of
bureaucracy and whose works led to the popularization of this term.[51] Many aspects of modern public
administration go back to him, and a classic, hierarchically organized civil service of the Continental type is called
"Weberian civil service", although this is only one ideal type of public administration and government described in
his magnum opus Economy and Society (1922), and one that he did not particularly like himself – he only thought it
particularly efficient and successful. In this work, Weber outlines a description, which has become famous, of
rationalization (of which bureaucratization is a part) as a shift from a value-oriented organization and action
(traditional authority and charismatic authority) to a goal-oriented organization and action (legal-rational authority).
The result, according to Weber, is a "polar night of icy darkness", in which increasing rationalization of human life
traps individuals in an "iron cage" of rule-based, rational control.[52] Weber's bureaucracy studies also led him to his
analysis – correct, as it would turn out, after Stalin's takeover – that socialism in Russia would lead to
over-bureaucratization rather than to the "withering away of the state" (as Karl Marx had predicted would happen in
communist society).[53]

Economics
Weber's contributions to economics are many. While Weber is best known and recognized today as one of the
leading scholars and founders of modern sociology, he also accomplished much in other fields, notably economics,
although this is largely forgotten today among orthodox economists, who pay very little attention to his works. The
view that Weber is at all influential to modern economists comes largely from non-economists and economic critics
with sociology backgrounds. During his life distinctions between the social sciences were less clear than they are
now, and Weber considered himself a historian and an economist first, sociologist distant second.[24] [25]
From the point of view of the economists, he is a representative of the "Youngest" German historical school of
economics.[54] Perhaps his most valued contributions to the field of economics is his famous work on the differences
between religions and their attitude toward capitalism, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, the idea he
later explored in his other works from the sociology of religion.[54]
Weber's work on methodology is often applied to economics. Here, most notable are theories of "Verstehen" (known
as understanding or interpretative sociology) and of antipositivism (known as humanistic sociology).[54] The
doctrine of Interpretative Sociology is one of the main sociological paradigms, with many supporters as well as
critics. This thesis states that social research cannot be fully inductive or descriptive due to concepts being used,
notably that of the "ideal (pure) type".[54] To understand something we must go beyond near description, and
interpret it; and interpretation means classification with the use of the abstract ideal types..[54] This, together with his
antipositivistic argumentation can be viewed as the methodological justification for the assumption of the "rational
economic man" (homo economicus).[54]
Weber formulated a three-component theory of stratification, with Social class, Social status and party (or politicals)
as conceptually distinct elements.[55]
• Social class is based on economically determined relationship to the market (owner, renter, employee etc.).
• Status is based on non-economical qualities like honour, prestige and religion.
• Party refers to affiliations in the political domain.
All three dimensions have consequences for what Weber called "life chances".[55]
Weber's other contributions to economics include his early work on the economic history of Roman agrarian society
(1891), on the labor relations in Eastern Germany (1892), his analysis of the he profit, risk and cost of an enterprise
Max Weber 9

were carried by several individuals in the Middle Ages (1889), his criticism of Marxism and discussion of the roles
of idealism and materialism in the history of capitalism in his Economy and Society (1922) (published
posthumously) and his General Economic History (1923), a notable example of the empirical work of the Historical
School.[54]

As a critic of socialism
In the final years of his career Weber became vocal critic of socialism, both in European and Bolshevik variants. He
saw Lenin's ideal of applying hierarchical mode of organization in the firm on society at large as an attempt to
universalize serfdom. He believed that workers in socialist society still would work in hierarchy, but this time in
much worse form of it, fused with government power.
Weber developed a critique of socialism as an economically impossible system.[56] Weber stated that when socialism
abolishes private property in the means of production, it would at the same time abolish market prices and monetary
calculation of cost and profit, and that way make a rational planned economy impossible. Socialist central planners
can resort to calculation in-kind, but this type of economic coordination would be grossly inefficient. According to
Weber, the main reason why a socialist in-kind mode of economic calculation cannot work is because it is unable to
solve the problem of imputation (i.e. to determine the relative price of capital goods):
In order to make possible a rational utilization of the means of production, a system of in-kind
accounting would have to determine "value"-indicators of some kind for the individual capital goods
which could take over the role of the "prices" used in book valuation in modern business accounting.
But it is not at all clear how such indicators could be established, and in particular, verified; whether, for
instance, they should vary from one production unit to the next (on the basis of economic location), or
whether they should be uniform for the entire economy, on the basis of "social utility," that is, of
(present and future) consumption requirements? [...] Nothing is gained by assuming that, if only the
problem of a non-monetary economy were seriously enough attacked, a suitable accounting method
would be discovered or invented. The problem is fundamental to any kind of complete socialization. We
cannot speak of a rational "planned economy" so long as in this decisive respect we have no instrument
for elaborating a rational "plan".[57]

Critical responses to Weber

Influence from and on the Austrian school


During his own lifetime, Weber was critical of the neoclassical economic approaches of authors such as Carl Menger
and Friedrich von Wieser, whose formal approach was quite different from his own historical sociology. The work of
these authors eventually led to the creation of the Austrian School of economics. This includes followers of Friedrich
von Hayek and, more recently, authors Daniel Yergin and Joseph Stanislaw. In their pro-globalization book
Commanding Heights: The Battle for the World Economy, they attack Weber for claiming that only Protestantism
could lead to a work ethic, pointing to the "Tiger Economies" of Southeastern Asia.
However, in these debates, it is easy to overlook that the methods advocated by these later generations of the
Austrian School are heavily indebted to the work of Weber. His "action sociology", as they called it, was a frequent
topic in the "Mises Circle", an influential group headed by Ludwig von Mises, a key figure in the Austrian School.
Among the attendees was a student of Mises, the philosopher of sociology Alfred Schutz, who sought to clarify
Weber's interpretive approach in terms of the analytic phenomenology of Edmund Husserl. Hence, although Schutz's
work, especially The Phenomenology of the Social World (1932), is in effect a profound critique of Weber's method,
it is nevertheless an attempt to further it. Hayek also frequently attended these discussions, and the subjective method
advanced in his The Counter-Revolution of Science: Studies in the Abuse of Reason (1952) reflects these influences.
Ludwig Lachmann, a later member of the Austrian School, made explicit the Austrian School's indebtedness to the
Max Weber 10

Weberian method.
Weber and Mises were acquainted, and shared an admiration for each other’s work. Mises considered Weber a "great
genius" and his death a blow to Germany. Likewise, Weber comments that Mises’s Theory of Money and Credit is
the monetary theory most acceptable to him.[58] Weber accepted Ludwig von Mises's criticism of socialist economic
planning and added his own argument. He believed that under socialism workers would still work in a hierarchy, but
that now the hierarchy would be fused with government. Instead of dictatorship of the worker, he foresaw
dictatorship of the official.

Historical critiques
The economist Joseph Schumpeter argued that capitalism did not begin with the Industrial Revolution but in 14th
century Italy.[59] In Milan, Venice, and Florence the small city-state governments led to the development of the
earliest forms of capitalism.[60] In the 16th century Antwerp was a commercial center of Europe. It was also noted
that the predominantly Calvinist country of Scotland did not enjoy the same economic growth as Holland, England,
and New England. In addition, it has been pointed out that Holland, which was heavily Calvinist, industrialized
much later in the 19th century than predominantly Catholic Belgium, which was one of the centres of the Industrial
Revolution on the European mainland.[61]
Emil Kauder expanded Schumpeter's argument by arguing the hypothesis that Calvinism hurt the development of
capitalism by leading to the development of the labor theory of value. Kauder writes "Any social philosopher or
economist exposed to Calvinism will be tempted to give labor an exalted position in his social or economic treatise,
and no better way of extolling labor can be found than by combining work with value theory, traditionally the very
basis of an economic system."[62] In contrast, Catholic areas that were influenced by the late scholastics were more
likely to adhere to the subjective theory of value.
Rebuttal of such criticisms look not at small areas such as Holland and Belgium, or between the Mercantilist
capitalism of Venice and industrial capitalism proper, but at the larger "blooms" of capitalism, where its beginnings
had also taken permanent and decisive hold.

Critiques on Weber's historicism


In his book Natural Right and History, German-American classicist Leo Strauss criticized Max Weber as a main
proponent of historicism along with G.W.F. Hegel and others.

See also
• Interpretations of Weber's liberalism
• List of Max Weber works
• Social Stratification
• Sociology of law
• Speeches of Max Weber
• Weber and German politics
Max Weber 11

Further reading
• Ankerl, Guy (1972), Sociologues allemands. Avec le dictionnaire de "l'Ethique protestante et l'esprit du
capitalisme" de Max Weber, Neuchâtel: A la Baconnière.
• Green, Robert (1959) (ed.), Problems in European Civilization, Protestantism and Capitalism: The Weber Thesis
and Its Critics, Boston: Heath.
• Korotayev A., Malkov A., Khaltourina D. (2006), Introduction to Social Macrodynamics, Moscow: URSS, ISBN
5-484-00414-4 http://urss.ru/cgi-bin/db.pl?cp=&lang=en&blang=en&list=14&page=Book&id=34250
(Chapter 6: Reconsidering Weber: Literacy and "the Spirit of Capitalism" [63]).
• Mitzman, Arthur (1970/1985), The Iron Cage: An Historical Interpretation of Max Weber, New Brunswick NJ:
Transaction Books, ISBN 0878559841.
• Quensel, Bernhard K. (2007), Max Webers Konstruktionslogik. Sozialökonomik zwischen Geschichte und Theorie,
Nomos, ISBN 9783832925178 [Revisiting Weber's concept of sociology against the background of his juristic
and economic provenance within the framework of "social economics"]
• Radkau, Joachim (2005), Max Weber [The most important Weber biography on Max Weber's life and torments
since Marianne Weber.]
• Roth, Guenther (2001), Max Webers deutsch-englische Familiengeschichte, J.C.B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck), ISBN
3-16-147557-7.
• Shils, Edward and Rheinstein, Max. (1964) Max Weber Law in Economy and Society [64], ,Cambridge: Harvard
University Press, ISBN 0-674-55651-8; ISBN 0674556518; ISBN 9780674556515.
• Stapelfeldt Gerhard (2004) Kritik der ökonomischen Rationalität.
• Swatos, William H. (1990) (ed.). Time, Place, and Circumstance: Neo-Weberian Studies in Comparative
Religious History. New York: Greenwood Press, ISBN 0-313-26892-4.
• Swedberg, Richard. (1998), Max Weber and the Idea of Economic Sociology, Princeton: Princeton University
Press, ISBN 0-691-07013-X
• Swedberg, Richard. (1999). "Max Weber as an Economist and as a Sociologist" [65], American Journal of
Economics and Sociology, October 1999.
• Weber, Marianne (1926/1988), Max Weber: A Biography, New Brunswick: Transaction Books, ISBN
0-471-92333-8.

External links
Texts of his works:
• Large collection of the German original texts [66]
• Large collection of the German original texts [67]
• Large collection of English translations [68]
• Another collection of English translations [69]
• A comprehensive collection of English translations and secondary literature [70]
• Notes on several of Weber's works, merged into one text file [71]
• Max Weber Reference Archive [72]
Analysis of his works:
• Protestant Ethic Thesis by the Swatos' Encyclopedia of Religion and Society [73]
Max Weber 12

References
[1] "Max Weber." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2009. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 20 Apr. 2009. (http:/ / www. britannica. com/ EBchecked/
topic/ 638565/ Max-Weber)
[2] Habermas, Jürgen, The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity, Polity Press (1985), ISBN 0-7456-0830-2, p2
[3] Weber wrote his books in German. Original titles printed after his death (1920) are most likely compilations of his unfinished works (of the
'Collected Essays...' form). Many translations are made of parts or sections of various German originals, and the names of the translations
often do not reveal what part of German work they contain. Weber's work is generally quoted according to the critical Gesamtausgabe (http:/ /
www. mohr. de/ mw/ index_e. html) (collected works edition), which is published by Mohr Siebeck in Tübingen. For an extensive list of Max
Weber's works see list of Max Weber works.
[4] Kim, Sung Ho (2007). "Max Weber". Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (24 August 2007 entry) http:/ / plato. stanford. edu/ entries/
weber/ . Retrieved 17 February 2010.
[5] "The prestige of Max Weber among European social scientists would be difficult to over-estimate." – Gerth, Hans Heinrich and Charles
Wright Mills (eds.) (1991). From Max Weber: essays in sociology. Routledge, p.i.
[6] Radkau, Joachim and Patrick Ca miller. (2009). Max Weber: A Biography. Trans. Patrick Ca miller. Polity Press. (ISBN 9780745641478)
[7] Weber, Max The Protestant Ethic and "The Spirit of Capitalism" (1905). Translated by Stephen Kalberg (2002), Roxbury Publishing
Company, pp. 19 & 35; Weber's references on these pages to "Superstructure" and "base" are unambiguous references to Marxism's
base/superstructure theory.
[8] Periodical, Sociology Volume 250, September 1999, 'Max Weber'
[9] Sica, Alan (2004). Max Weber and the New Century. London: Transaction Publishers, p. 24. ISBN 0-7658-0190-6.
[10] Bendix, Reinhard (1 July 1977). Max Weber: An Intellectual Portrait (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?visbn=0520031946&
id=63sC9uaYqQsC& pg=PA1& lpg=PA1& sig=g-kn8gtBIRvG-ss0I_-BmrBz9YE). University of California Press. p. 1. ISBN 0-520-03194-6.
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Max Weber 13

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Max Weber 14

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Article Sources and Contributors 15

Article Sources and Contributors


Max Weber  Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?oldid=383566377  Contributors: 172, 206.47.244.xxx, 213.219.91.xxx, 217.85.232.xxx, 7&6=thirteen, A.w.hogan, ABF, AaronSw,
Abh9h, Academic Challenger, Achim Raschka, Addshore, Aeusoes1, Ahoerstemeier, Airstrike, Aksi great, Alan Liefting, Alan Peakall, Alastair Haines, Alcmaeonid, Alex Golub, Alphap5150,
Altenmann, Alvaro, Ammon86, Andres, Andrew Norman, Andries, Angelo.romano, Anthon.Eff, Anthony Krupp, Arbitrarily0, ArchosIDF, Arjuna909, Artnut32, Athkalani, Atomique, Atorpen,
Attilios, Aude, AvantVenger, BD2412, Barbarine, Barticus88, Batmanand, Bearcat, Bender235, Bernburgerin, Betterusername, Bgillesp, Bishonen, Blinkismyfave, Blue-Haired Lawyer, Boleyn2,
BrendanH, Brian0918, Brighterorange, Britans, Bwwm, CES, Camw, Can't sleep, clown will eat me, CanisRufus, Cantiorix, Cantus, CarlfromNV, Causa sui, Chandler Savage, Charles Matthews,
Chicheley, Chmod007, Cholling, CieloEstrellado, Cleavepierce, Clossius, Cmdrjameson, Cnwebmall, Colonies Chris, Come on guys focus, Conti, Conversion script, Creases, Crust, D. Wu, D6,
DARTH SIDIOUS 2, DO'Neil, DW, Da monster under your bed, Daanschr, Danny, DarkIncognito, Darwinek, Dave souza, David Ludwig, Dcretens09, DeansFA, Delldot, Den fjättrade ankan,
Deniz22, DennisDaniels, Derek Ross, Dgies, DidiWeidmann, Dl2000, Dlohcierekim, Doco, Docu, Doktorschley, Doprendek, Dreadstar, Dreish, Droll, Drono, Dryazan, Dsp13, Dudeman5685,
Dwarf Kirlston, E. Ripley, EALacey, Ekserevnitis, Emerson7, Emhoo, EnglishEfternamn, Erich, Evercat, Everyking, FeanorStar7, Fences and windows, Ferkelparade, Fieldday-sunday, Fluri,
Frank, FrankTobia, G716, Gachet, Gamaliel, Garion96, Gdarin, Gdr, Gene Nygaard, Geniac, GiantSloth, Gimboid13, Givegains, Goblin, Goethean, Gpvos, GraemeL, Grafen, Graham87, Grant
the Wise, Grant65, Greg the main man, GregAsche, Grendelkhan, Greswik, Gurchzilla, Gweedo metal, Gzornenplatz, HansHuttel, Harryfdoherty, Helvetius, Heracles31, Homagetocatalonia,
IZAK, Icairns, ImperfectlyInformed, Intangible2.0, Interlingua, Intranetusa, Iridescent, Ironphoenix, Islescape, Ivanelo, J.J., J.delanoy, JLogan, JYolkowski, Jackbrown, Jakob mark, Jeltz,
Jh51681, Jim, Jjc2002, Jjshapiro, Jkelly, Joaotg, Johann Nepomuk, John, John Broughton, John Z, Johnor, Jojalozzo, Jojhutton, JonRoma, JorgeGG, Jose Ramos, Joseph Solis in Australia, Jossi,
Judgesurreal777, Juxo, KEK, Kaldari, Karybut, Katieh5584, Khalid Mahmood, Khatru2, Kipala, Konstock, KoyaanisQatsi, Kozuch, Ksenon, Kukini, Kwamikagami, LadyCrow, Lapaz,
Laughingyet, Lia Todua, Lifthrasir1, Lightmouse, Lights, Littlealien182, Llajwa, Logan, Looloof, Luk, Lupin, M3taphysical, MER-C, Mackan79, Maintain, Makeemlighter, Mark K. Jensen,
MarsRover, Marskell, Martin Jensen, Marysunshine, Masterpiece2000, Mattisse, Maurice Carbonaro, Maximus Rex, Mbecker, Mberaka, Mbimmler, Melesse, MeltBanana, Mhilling09, Michael
Devore, Michael Hardy, MichaelTinkler, Mikker, MisfitToys, Modify, Monegasque, Mora.klein, Nagelfar, Nandt1, NativeForeigner, NawlinWiki, Nero the second, Netoholic, Neural, Neutrality,
Nigholith, Nikodemos, Nilfanion, Nishkid64, Nurefsan, Old Moonraker, Oldbutton, Olessi, Olibroman, Olivier, Organisationist, Ot, Owen, OwenX, Oxymoron83, PDH, Paris 16, Patsytiger, Paul
August, Paul Magnussen, PaulHanson, Paulredfern1, Pblessman, Peds10708, PelleSmith, PetertheVenerable, Petri Krohn, Philip Trueman, Piotrus, Piperh, Plange, PoccilScript, Polly, Polly1013,
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Image Sources, Licenses and Contributors


File:Max Weber 1894.jpg  Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Max_Weber_1894.jpg  License: Public Domain  Contributors: C.Löser, Kelson, Svencb, Thierry Caro, 2
anonymous edits
File:Max Weber and brothers 1879.jpg  Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Max_Weber_and_brothers_1879.jpg  License: Public Domain  Contributors: Bender235,
C.Löser, 1 anonymous edits
File:Max and Marianne Weber 1894.jpg  Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Max_and_Marianne_Weber_1894.jpg  License: Public Domain  Contributors: Bender235,
C.Löser, 1 anonymous edits
File:Max Weber 1917.jpg  Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Max_Weber_1917.jpg  License: Public Domain  Contributors: C.Löser, Conscious, Man vyi, Svencb, 1
anonymous edits
File:Die protestantische Ethik und der 'Geist' des Kapitalismus original cover.jpg  Source:
http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Die_protestantische_Ethik_und_der_'Geist'_des_Kapitalismus_original_cover.jpg  License: unknown  Contributors: Cover designer unknown.

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