For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism

by Weber, Max (1992)

Key Passage

Hence in a universal history of culture the central problem for us is not, in the last analysis, even from a purely economic viewpoint, the development of capitalistic activity as such, differing in different cultures only in form: the adventurer type, or capitalism in trade, war, politics, or administration as sources of gain. It is rather the origin of this sober bourgeois capitalism with its rational organization of free labour. Or in terms of cultural history, the problem is that of the origin of the Western bourgeois class and of its peculiarities, a problem which is certainly closely connected with that of the origin of the capitalistic organization of  labour, but is not quite the same thing. For the bourgeois as a class existed prior to the development of the peculiar modern form of capitalism, though, it is true, only in the Western hemisphere. (p.xxxvi)


Capitalism, Weber, History, Social Class, Bourgeoisie



Links to Reference


Parsons, T.



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