Spirit of Capitalism Essay

Submitted By Wenpeng-Xu
Words: 500
Pages: 2

Weber claims that culture can have a great influence on economical process and it is the religious distinction in different culture that leads to different kind of processes in the world. Capitalism and capitalistic enterprises have existed in many countries, like Egypt, China and India, but in modern times the Occident has developed a very different form of capitalism due to the different religious force - Protestantism.
Through Weber’s analysis, we can know that the spirit of modern capitalism is regarding continual accumulation of wealth as the ultimate purpose of life (Weber 2001: 18-19). This kind of spirit is totally different from traditionalism, in which the aim of earning money is to satisfy the material demands. If the wages are increased, the worker, in the traditional form, will choose to work less than before to keep their traditional needs instead of working more to earn more money (Weber 2001: 23-24). Weber argues that the drive to accumulate wealth is influenced by the Protestant ethic. He pays special attention to Calvinism and its doctrine of predestination. In Calvinism, only some human beings are chosen by God and the choice is also predetermined by God. In this sense, the performance of good works becomes a sign of being one of the elect rather than a means of accumulating credits against damnation (Weber 2001: xiii). Thus, hard work and the accumulation of wealth becomes a good way to demonstrate whether you are chosen or not. As Weber claims, Calvinism provides the formation of capitalism with moral energy and drive (Weber 2001: xiii).
The spirit of modern capitalism is also characterized as seeking profit rationally and systematically (Weber 2001: 27). Rationalism in capitalism includes rational capitalistic organization of free labor and rational bookkeeping. Weber argues that the special peculiarity of Occidental rationalism was influenced by the rational ethics of ascetic Protestantism (Weber 2001: 37).
In nonwestern culture, as Weber claims, the formation of spirit of modern capitalism was constrained by the religion, such as Hinduism, Confucianism and Judaism. In