Ideas from 'The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism' by Max Weber [1904], by Theme Structure

[found in 'Protestant Ethic and Spirit of Capitalism' by Weber,Max [Routledge 2001,978-0-415-25406-9]].

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23. Ethics / D. Deontological Ethics / 2. Duty
The idea of duty in one's calling haunts us, like a lost religion
                        Full Idea: The idea of duty in one's calling prowls about in our lives like the ghost of dead religious beliefs.
                        From: Max Weber (The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism [1904], 5)
                        A reaction: Great sentence! Vast scholarship boiled down to a simple and disturbing truth. I recognise this in me. Having been 'Head of Philosophy' once is partly what motivates me to compile these ideas.
25. Society / D. Political Doctrines / 11. Capitalism
Acquisition and low consumption lead to saving, investment, and increased wealth
                        Full Idea: If people are acquisitive but consumption is limited, the inevitable result is the accumulation of capital through the compulsion to save. The restraints on consumption naturally served to increase wealth by enabling the productive investment of capital.
                        From: Max Weber (The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism [1904], 5)
                        A reaction: [compressed. He also quotes John Wesley saying this] In a nutshell, this is how the protestant ethic (esp. if puritan) drives capitalism. It also needs everyone to have a 'calling', and a rebellion against monasticism in favour of worldly work.
When asceticism emerged from the monasteries, it helped to drive the modern economy
                        Full Idea: When asceticism was carried out of the monastic cells into everyday life, and began to dominate worldly morality, it did its part in building the tremendous cosmos of the modern economic order.
                        From: Max Weber (The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism [1904], 5)
                        A reaction: Since Max Weber's time I should think this is less and less true. If you hunt for ascetics in the modern world, they are probably dropped out, and pursuing green politics. Industrialists are obsessed with property and wine.
Capitalism is not unlimited greed, and may even be opposed to greed
                        Full Idea: Unlimited greed for gain is not in the least identical with capitalism, and is still less in its spirit. Capitalism may even be identical with the restraint, or at least a rational tempering, of this irrational impulse.
                        From: Max Weber (The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism [1904], Author's Intro)
                        A reaction: The point is that profits have to be re-invested, rather than spent on pleasure. If we are stuck with capitalism we need a theory of Ethical Capitalism.
Modern western capitalism has free labour, business separate from household, and book-keeping
                        Full Idea: The modern Occident has developed a very different form of capitalism: the rational capitalist organisation of free labour …which needed two other factors: the separation of the business from the household, and the closely connected rational book-keeping.
                        From: Max Weber (The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism [1904], Author's Intro)
                        A reaction: For small businesses the separation has to be maintained by a ruthless effort of imagination. Book-keeping is because the measure of loss and profit is the engine of the whole game. Labour had to be dragged free of family and community.
29. Religion / B. Monotheistic Religion / 4. Christianity / a. Christianity
Punish the heretic, but be indulgent to the sinner
                        Full Idea: The rule of the Catholic church is 'punishing the heretic, but indulgent of the sinner'.
                        From: Max Weber (The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism [1904], 1)
                        A reaction: Weber cites this as if it is a folklore saying. It seems to fit the teachings of Jesus, who is intensely keen on unwavering faith, but very kind to those who stray morally. Hence Graham Greene novels, all about sinners.