Max Weber is one of the philosophers best able to explain to us the peculiar economic system we live within called capitalism. Born Erfurt in Germany in 1864, Weber grew up to see his country
convulsed by the dramatic changes of the Industrial Revolution. Cities were exploding in size. Vast companies were forming. A new managerial elite was replacing the old aristocracy. Weber spent his life analyzing these changes and he developed some key ideas with which we can better understand the workings and future of
capitalism. The standard view is that capitalism began as a result of developments in
technology especially steam power. But Weber proposed something more
interesting that what actually made capitalism possible was a set of ideas and in particular religious ideas and not just any religious ideas. Capitalism was created by Protestantism,
specifically Calvinism. In his great work The Protestant Ethic and The Spirit of Capitalism, published in 1905, Weber laid out some of the reasons why he believed Protestant Christianity had been so crucial to capitalism. In Weber’s analysis Catholics have it relatively easy. They were able to confess their
transgressions at regular intervals and can be cleansed by priests. But no such purifications are available to Protestants who believe that only god is able to forgive anyone and he won’t make his intentions known until the day of judgment. Until then Weber alleged Protestants are left with
heightened feelings of anxiety as well as lifelong guilty desires to prove
their virtue to a severe all-seeing but silent god. In Weber’s eyes Protestant feelings of guilt were
diverted into an obsession with hard work. This was what he called the Protestant
work ethic. The sins of Adam could only be expunged through constant toil. Not coincidentally there were far fewer festivals and days of rest in Protestantism. God didn’t like time off. Catholics had limited their conception
of holy work to the activities of priests, monks and nuns but now Protestants declared that work of any kind could be done in the name of God even jobs like being a baker or an
accountant. This lent new moral energy and
earnestness to all branches of professional life. In Catholic countries the family was and
often still is everything. But Protestants took a less benevolent
view of family. The family could be a haven for selfish and egoistic motives. For early Protestants one was meant to direct one’s selfless energies to the community as a whole, the public realm, where everyone deserved fairness and dignity. Protestantism and eventually scientific capitalism turned its back on miracles. Weber called this the disenchantment of the world. So prosperity wasn’t to be thought of as
something mysteriously ordained by God, it could only be the result of thinking
methodically, acting honestly, and working industriously and sensibly
over many years. Without a belief in miracles people turn to science for explanations and changes which encouraged scientific investigation and discovery and eventually technological booms. Taken together these five factors
created, in Weber’s eyes, the crucial catalytic ingredients for
capitalism to take hold. Marx had argued that religion was the
opium of the masses, a drug that induced passive acceptance of the horrors of capitalism. But Weber turned this dictum on its head. People didn’t tolerate capitalism
because of religion. They only became capitalists as a result
of their religion. There are about 35 countries where
capitalism is now well developed. It probably works best in Germany where
Weber first observed it. But in the remaining 161 nations it arguably isn’t working very well at all. This is a source of much puzzlement and
distress. Billions of dollars in aid are transferred every year from the rich to the poor parts of the world. But a Weberian analysis tells us that these materialist interventions will never work because the problem isn’t really a material one to begin with Instead certain countries for Weber fail to succeed at capitalism because they don’t feel anxious and guilty enough. They trust too much in miracles. They like to celebrate now rather than
invest in tomorrow and their members feel it’s acceptable to steal from the community in order to enrich their families favoring the clan over the
nation. Today, Weber would counsel those who wish to spread capitalism to concentrate on our equivalent of religion — culture. It’s a nation’s attitudes hopes and a
sense of what life is about that produces an economy that either
flourishes or flounders. To reduce poverty, Weber would say one has to start at the level of ideas. What the World Bank and the IMF should
be giving sub-saharan Africa is not, in a Weberian analysis, money and technology but a new outlook. The decisive question for an economy should not be what the rate of inflation is but what’s on TV tonight. Weber was writing in an age of revolution. He, too, wanted things to change but he believed that one first had to work out how political power operated. Weber believed that humanity had gone through three distinct types of power. The older societies operated according
to what he called traditional authority where kings relied on folklore and
divinity to justify their power. Then came the age of charismatic authority where a heroic individual, most famously Napoleon, could rise to power with a magnetic personality and change everything through passion and will. However, Weber explained that we had now entered a third age of bureaucratic authority. Bureaucracy achieves its power via knowledge. Only the bureaucrats know how stuff works and it will take an outsider years to work it out. Most of us simply give up, usefully for
the powers that be. The dominance of bureaucracy has major implications for anyone trying to change a nation. There is often an understandable but
misguided desire to think that one just has to change the leader. But in fact removing a leader almost never has the degree of impact that is hoped for. If we’re to get things to go better much
of it will have to come through outwardly rather undramatic bureaucratic processes. It will come through the marshalling of statistical evidence, patient briefings to ministers, testimonies to committee hearings, and a minute study of budgets. Weber tells us how power works now and reminds us that ideas may be far more important than tools or money in changing nations. It’s a hugely significant thesis. With Weber’s guidance we learn that so much which we associate with vast, impersonal, external forces is, in fact, dependent upon something utterly intimate and perhaps more malleable: the thoughts in our own heads.

100 thoughts on “SOCIOLOGY – Max Weber

  1. As someone who has been a Calvinist (Reformed Protestant is another name for it) for over ten years I think I observed it to be true that all of us are obsessed with working for the work’s sake. But about living with guilt? That’s actually very anti-Calvinist idea. One of the main points of Calvinism is that we are forgiven and shouldn’t feel guilty about transgressions of the past for which we repented.

  2. 3:40 Protestantism was for Marx, “bourgeois Christianity.” He’s coming from Hegel, another fan of the reformation. I don’t think Weber’s thought contradicts Marx at all. It is very marxist to imagine the character of Christianity changing. For Marx, you cannot really say he thought that religion was ‘x.’ When he said religion is the opiate of the masses he was speaking in a historical context, namely mid 19th ce Germany. And if you look at the whole quote, the contraction isn’t necessarily negative. “It is the sigh of an oppressed people, the heart of a heartless world.” So it was for an increasingly wealthy bourgeois middle class working within the restricted framework imposed by an entrenched aristocracy.

  3. There’s a lot more to Weber than what is in this video. Some of this is good, some of it a little shaky.

    I’m a university student studying under an authority on Weber.

  4. You got it wrong at so many levels.

    4:42 "The members of their society feel that it's acceptable to steal from the community in order to enrich themselves"

    How could you think, say and let millions of people hear such a thing?

    Consider reading Edward Said.

  5. But weren't catholic countries like Venice (circa 1300) the first western nations to really prosper under capitalism? How can that be attributed to the protestant work ethic?

  6. That map of capitalism is crap. It makes Taiwan non-capitalist, which is totally pro-Chinese bullshit. Taiwan should be blue like South Korea and Japan. One of the many reasons why you suck, de Botton. Although you sound brilliant with that accent.

  7. And another problem with Botton's analysis is that Weber's "Protestant Ethic" was an explanation of how capitalism arose historically. It says nothing about why countries today either develop or remain underdeveloped. Once capitalism arose, and spread globally–along with the nation state–Weber's analysis is no longer applicable in the same way. Countries are not poor today because they are not protestant. Hence, the reason why Japan, for example, is "capitalist," but not protestant. The protestant aspect of capitalism was left behind long ago. The causes of underdevelopment today require a totally different hypothesis than that provided by good old Weber in the PEATSOC.

  8. Whether Weber thought protestants were the cause of capitalism or they were overrepresented in capitalist societies, it still shows how elementary and unfounded elite philosophers' ideas were at times. One needs only to look at the "family values" and apathy-for-the-greater-community views of American evangelicals to see how Weber's imagination could not comprehend the unpredictability of the nature of future humans. I think it's usually not a good idea to talk about how one group of people adhering to certain ideals act in a certain way or share certain characteristics. Human nature is much more complex and chaotic to be described in terms of simple words and logic.

  9. Thank you for these videos, they are very informative, and ideas are well explained. In part maybe because they are always contextualized. See you!

  10. Weber had far more important ideas than the connection between capitalism and protestantism, I feel like the The School of Life videos often pick certain parts of a scientist's work and ignore the rest. Saw this in the video about Durkheim as well.

  11. See also

  12. But all those things they mentioned about Protestants are the opposite of what we, and even Calvinists even believe… it’s not by works it’s by faith alone… works is Catholicism more so. No idea where this guy gets his religious dogma ideas

  13. 5:08 – I don't think these institutions are interested in the prospering of developing countries (not even mentioning that the key problem could be, that some nations may just have a whole other idea of what developement even means and the concept of re-educating them causes heavy ethical problems, especially in the shadow of the colonial age). The prospering of the so-called third world would only cause more competition for the first and prevent the latter from access to cheap labour, ressources and the ability to externalize. This may sound like a communist conspiracy theory, but if you actually look at the negotiations these institutions lead with developing countries (doha-round), the unfair rules they implied (f.e. regarding deregulations such as customs) and the effects of the washington consensus, there's almost no other conclusion than those institutions primarily being tools for advancing political and economic interests of developed countries, which are remaining a state of inequality.

  14. The Arab philosopher Ibn Khaldun is the founder of sociology . Five centuries later the first Western thinker appeared : French philosopher (Auguste Comte ) after reading Ibn Khaldun's books because of the emergence of social problems as a result of the French Revolution.

  15. The Marxist will rationalize everything that is GOOD or POSITIVE to something BAD or NEGATIVE, so in the long con destroy nations and societies.

    Let us mark: Marxism, Technocracy, Socialism, Communism NEED CAPITAL to just start their unrealistic "Utopia".

  16. The real reason why Protestants like myself still adhere to "the Protestant work ethic" is simply due to the interpretation of Scripture. We view "work" as ordained by God to give us dignity meaning and purpose; "The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it." – Genesis 2:15 ESV  God places Adam to "work" the garden before the Fall of Man so work is considered a blessing from God something that is meant to bring Him glory. Weber is wrong however that Protestants believe that "work" that leads to prosperity grants you into heaven, Protestants do not believe that, we do believe that when we prosper it is rather a blessing from God; "All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty." – Proverbs 14:23 NIV. Later Paul writes; "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things." – Phillipians 4:8 NIV Protestants tend to focus our minds and souls on honest work and believe its a blessing and means to serve God rather than it being a curse of some sorts. And lastly, Protestants many of them myself included truly do believe in miracles, we believe that every day, every breath, every moment is miracle ordained by God, but that most importantly every miracle in the Bible is true and that Jesus Christ Our Lord and Savior was crucified and was raised from dead and ascended into heaven is the ULTIMATE MIRACLE validating our faith and our hope in Christ. Other than that I love these videos and will continue to watch them! Thanks!

  17. Protestantism did help Capitalism. Study the Scottish Enlightenment. People believed it was their duty to improve or make Progress for their family, community and country. The new scientific discoveries and new technologies increased the need for capital to fund the sciences and technologies. Bureaucracies often lead to mediocrities and little risk taking. The video misses a lot of these areas. And God can prosper a nation which is somewhat righteous, especially compared to more wicked countries. Corruption is wickedness.

  18. The bureaucratic authority=rational-legal authority which lots of books especially the translation of Weber's work portrayed him as an elitist. However, he is not an elitist. And there is no clear cut between traditional, charismatic and legal-rational authority. He explained the bureaucracy is — not only the state bureaucracy but also every fiber of society is in itself bureaucracy, for instance capitalism.

  19. lol at the idea all our charity cannot Save The Poor! we take their resources, train assassins to control the operation, the money goes to American corporations and a few puppet dictators.

    when they are bankrupt we send "aid' so they can pay off loans to western bankers.

  20. If the family is not the center unit of society and the community is, isn't that also the root of communism? Though marx was technically Jewish he was a Lutheran while he lived. My point is, did not Weber give a backhanded explanation of why communism exists question marx aren't the shadows of that already explained in this?

  21. I wonder how much of this video is an interpretation of Weber intended to flatter and heighten his accuracy but using the knowledge of the history in between to do it.

  22. Weber did not posit "Ages" of charismatic and traditional authority. He posited that there are three kinds of legitimate authority; charismatic authority, legal authority, and traditional authority. He said that bureaucracies draw from all three forms of authority as a means for legitimating the discipline they enforce. There are a number of other Weberian ideas that are poorly explained here.

  23. notice the most advanced nations are Capitalist nations. The machine age is called the industrial revolution btw. just machines.

  24. Kings owned all the land. They bestowed land on relatives such as barons and dukes and others. The nobility. Capitalism allowed anyone to own land if you could buy it. just a note…

  25. In the map at 4:05, you have the U.S. state of Alaska as one of the countries in which captilasim doesn't work.

    How many more mistakes are in there that we don't notice?

  26. 00:00 Sociology – Max Weber
    00:41 1. Why does Capitalism exists?
    01:18 i) Protestantism makes you feel guilty
    01:51 ii) God likes hard work
    02:13 iii) All work is holy
    02:35 iv) It's the community, not the family, that counts
    02:59 v) There aren't miracles
    03:06 The disenchantment od the world
    03:58 2. How do you develop Capitalism around the world?
    05:23 3. How can we change the world?
    05:43 Traditional authority
    05:52 Charismatic authority
    06:02 Bureaucratic authority

  27. I wish I watched this video when I made my economic argument for Max Weber. Everything in this video was 100% accurate.

  28. you should cover postcolonial thinkers too, like Frantz Fanon, Spivak, Homi Bhabha and so many more. Why do your videos only cover Western thinkers?

  29. lol.. This was created before Donald Trump Made America Great Again… from the future, trust me a single leader can change the world!

  30. The Good in my opinion is recognising that accepted ideas are internalised by action to become the mind framing of its perceive world and therefore of its response. We can and do thus define ourselves into destructive outcomes under the belief we are doing the right thing or the lesser and necessary evil under moral dilemma.
    The error is where we seek to bring unrelated conflicts to any new sense of 'answer' instead of addressing them as a subject specific issue as the wish for a panacea to relieve us of our inherent and inescapable RELATIONAL conflicts – both within ourselves and among ourselves.
    Technologism of thought or of tools extending thought thus works against a true workability in service of life under the mistaken belief in such change or interventions as 'progress' that 'answers' or resolves the past by replacing it in new sets of clothes for the hidden fears of a self-invalidation or indeed fig-leaves to cover a deeper shame of truth as exposure in guilt of hate and lack of worth.

    The nature of fig-leaf thinking is that of a masking denial presenting in forms of correctness or justification. These forms are ideas that become fixed and as fixed become dead inheritance that can likewise be taken out of original context so as to result in derivatives of derivatives.
    Rather than engaging in the seeking of cause as an exercise in power struggle in the need to be right and therefore direct blame away so that others 'pay' the penalty, why not seek all the factors as part of a structure – including our own personal relational issues.

    Everyone seeks profit and no one loss – excepting they define these things to means otherwise. For the mind of definition relative to others and world is the strategy of a self-defence OR alignment in love of true.

    Religion is simply our acceptance of ideas and meanings that join us in self with other and world as life.
    Egoism will wear religious forms or scientific forms and any other form by which to pass off as valid – but a love of truth can communicate with people in any idiom of exchange by not first deciding what it is. That would be love of forms or ideas of truth – which can of course substitute for real relationships, perceptions and interpretations – such as are possible in a world OF perceptual distortions.
    Underlying separation trauma or relational conflicts are for the most part a self evasive internalised structure that generates our 'world' as something increasing out of control and therefore invoking ever more subjugation and sacrifice to control as the survival of self-possession set against others and world as threat.
    Possession and control operate a technologism of marketising and weaponising everything – especially ideas, in imaged thought and speech.
    This is not capitalism but a deeply feared deceit on which our very survival SEEMS to demand sustainability.
    It isn't change we fear so much as pain of loss of possession and control. There is no love in any of this – nor perhaps even the capacity to recognise that it is ALL about love.
    Separation trauma is lost awareness of connection, support, guidance, recognition, worth etc etc and so of course under such conviction feared and believed true, a mind of substitution rises as an adjustment layer.

    Piling ever more adjustments or diversionary displacements of definitions by which to evade a denial that now denies us from within AND without is perhaps a Call to look within for truth instead of seeking to manage a world of lies or conflicts masked by falsely flagged diversions.

  31. Weber is doing what I read Freud doing – in making the mindset of victims of abuse to blame for their mental 'deficiencies' resulting from actual experience of abuse.
    In reading of the black economy – in which vast wealth is siphoned to offshore accounts – I find that corrupted puppet dictators or bought leaders routinely defraud and deliver their people to enforced arrested development and poverty while sitting on top of the pile. This is possible through a number of vectors but the basic mafia deal is an 'offer you cant refuse'.
    Cartels, cabals and alliances of mutual power over others operate to corrupt the system to serve their private agenda at others expense – and consolidate against any threat or rival as the power of the right to do so.
    Parasites have the ability to alter the thinking and behaviour of their host. Parasites are also symbiotic. So I suggest looking for inner correspondences or 'back doors' by which we are in a sense hacked into supporting destructive agenda under belief we are saving the world or redefining it in our own – but false – image.

  32. I'm a proud Westerner of Protestant background. I work 12 hours per day and anxiety of the future grips me, but I do have a very financially comfortable life because of it.

  33. If any young communist is giving you a hard time about capitalism, just tell them that you are working out your protestant guilt. They will go away.

  34. unlike Marx, he looked into the non-economic (religious) dimensions which have the significant casual influence of capitalism

  35. A catholic service sector employer protestant wife
    Democrat town catholic mayor playing go w su pi wr computer 2x a night👍

  36. True actually self evident but how to achieve that thought changing impulse ?
    And that is seek out the Spiritual Powers the fountainhead of the world we see around us.
    Go straight to Rudolf Steiner to save lots of time

  37. Bunu türkçeye çeviren arkadaş çeviriyi google translate'den yaptığın için teşekkürler. Hayır, böyle bi işe girdiysen azıcık düşün öyle yap

  38. Idle Hands do the Devils Work.Bad things Happen because Supposedly Good People do NOTHING. Selfserving Capitalist UNchristian not to care about your neighbor first the world next

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