Critique of Max Weber Analysis Essay Sample
Max Weber was born Maximilian Karl Emil Weber in April 21, 1864. He was a German sociologist, a philosopher and a political economist who left a significant mark in the discipline of sociology and social theory. While his mother was a staunch Calvinist with an inclination towards ascetism, Max was not exactly religious individually, but his views were greatly influenced by Calvinist doctrines and these were the basis of most of his works. Max got his doctorate in law from the University of Berlin in 1889 and soon after he joined the University’s faculty as a lecturer and government consultant all as a result of his growing influence in the study of sociology. Max had an estranged relationship with his dad, obviously due to the fact that there were constant domestic issues in which he took his mother’s side. In 1897, Max Weber Senior passed on leaving his son to suffer from insomnia, depression as well as nervousness. However, this was only the beginning of his battle with mental illness and it led him to quit teaching and devote himself to social sciences as an associate editor in a journal. In his time, as a Reserve Officer during the First World War, Max totally changed his opinion on the German expansionism and started advocating for constitutional reforms, democracy as well as universal suffrage. It is during this period that he actively got into politics and at one time he even tried unsuccessfully to clinch a parliamentary seat.
Max Weber’s thoughts were majorly influenced by German idealism and Neo-Kantianism. Among his greatest inspirations one would notice Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche and Georg Simmel. This paper critically analyses Max Weber’s thoughts and opinions presented in his book “The Protestant Ethic and The Spirit of Capitalism”, in addition, the paper relates Weber’s ideologies to current thoughts and occurrences and seeks to establish whether the great philosopher has managed to remain relevant in the current society.
History of Max Weber
Max Weber was born in a cultured family with a long line of accomplished scholars and politicians, with his parents representing diverse lifestyles in that his father was a worldly statesman with an affinity for the pleasures of life while his mother was an ascetic scholar drawn to the doctrines of her Calvinist religion. This fact greatly shaped Max’s life since he was constantly polarized between religion and politics, and he ended up contributing significantly to both fields and even presenting the world with the possibility of connecting the two aspects of life through economy. He grew up learning both religion and politics, with special inclination towards religious ethics due to his close relationship with his beloved mother. However, he did not follow her ascetic interests and even asserted himself as an irreligious individual as a grown up.
After studying law in the University of Heidelberg, Weber joined the University of Berlin. While studying at the university, Max got into sociology carrying out researches and writing papers that eventually earned him significant recognition to the point of being admitted to the faculty as a lecturer and government consultant. It is during this time that he started his infamous campaigns against the influx of laborers from Poland into Eastern Germany. He noticed during a study that while many Germans were leaving their homes in the east to work in industrialized towns; Polish laborers were moving in to replace them as farm workers in such large numbers. This worried him for one reason or another and set him on a path that earned him as many enemies as admirers (Weber 2001).
In 1893 he married his distant cousin Marianne, an accomplished scholar and feminine activist herself. Thus, this move gave him a platform to financial freedom from his parents and moving to Freiburg a year later. He became a professor of economics at the University of Heidelberg in 1896 and it is here he became the center of the ‘Weber circle’ which constituted mainly of great intellects of that particular time. Within this circle, he was the center of every discussion and shared about sociology and his thoughts on political economy as well as religion.
In 1897, his father died after a great argument with him, an incident that greatly affected the renowned sociologist rendering him incapable as a teacher. This left him with a nervous breakdown, insomnia and depression thus culminating into a mental illness of some sort. The condition, however, did not affect his work in sociology since he became an associate editor and even went ahead to publish some famous works including “The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism” (Weber 2001). During his incapacitation, it was rumored that he had chronicled his days of torment since he dealt with the mental illness, but his wife destroyed the accounts out of fear that it could have put his reputation and the reception of his subsequent works at stake. This rumor is yet to be proven and may be as unfounded as its source.
In 1912, Max showed great interest in politics and even tried to combine the social democrats and the liberals. This attempt was unsuccessful as the liberals were not entirely comfortable with the ideals of the social democrats. While it was a noble idea to have a left wing political outfit, the attempt failed because it wasn’t such a good time to be courageous in Germany. The political situation was more about aligning oneself with strategic partners and not risking conspicuousness especially with such revolutionary ideals as those of the social democrats.
During the First World War, he voluntarily got conscripted into the army as a Reserve Officer given that he was around 50 years of age. It is from this experience that he got a new view on the expansionism policies of Germany (Weber 2001). At first, Max thought the war as necessary for Germany to establish itself as a significant state in the world. After experiencing the war, however, he started campaigning for constitutional reforms, a democratized system of government and universal suffrage. He became actively involved in politics and after the war he tried his hand at becoming a parliamentarian through a Party he had co-founded, the German Democratic Party.
After his failure to clinch the parliamentary seat, and his day to day frustrations in German politics based on the way people were not willing to do the right thing for fear of making unwanted enemies and loosing influence, he decided to go back to his teaching career. With his exposure in politics and sociology, he was a more renown scholar with great reputation albeit subtle influence given just how vocal a critic he had been for the Kraiser government. While teaching, he compiled some great works and even gave his world famous lectures on Politics as a Vocation and Science as a Vocation.
His death in 1920 came as a shock to many, and a disappointment to the intellectuals at the time. He died of pneumonia after having battled with the Spanish flu. He was 56 years and most of his works were yet to be published at the time. His wife Marianne, however, played a significant role in ensuring that the great scholar’s works got published even after his death, giving him just about the recognition that he deserved. As a scholar and philosopher, Max Weber was a great mind and he continues to shape the social sciences as well as the political sciences of the world even today. His great thoughts include his definition of capitalism, Calvinism and the Protestant work ethic.
Capitalism has been used to mean different things in different contexts and by different individuals. To Max Weber, capitalism meant having capital assets owned privately by individuals and offering goods and services for profit. Moreover, he stated that for capitalism to thrive there must be some form of market exchange, voluntary supply of labor and a planned system of labor division. To Max, capitalism was about rationalizing the need to acquire economic wealth for the purpose of reinvestment and eventual multiplication of assets. He believed in individual effort as a building block to the prosperity of the economy in the society as a whole (Weber 2001).
Max Weber believed that capitalism could only be successful if it is entrenched in people’s way of life through culture or religion. To prove this point, he examined the ease with which the citizens of Protestant countries like the Netherlands had embraced capitalism and successfully due to the doctrines of their religion that justified the pursuit of economic success through hard work (Weber 2001). Protestantism at that time merged vocation, profession and calling into one, creating satisfaction in even the most subtle of the careers provided there was some form of economic gain being received. In this religion, it is that he founded the idea of the capitalist spirit which aims at rationalizing daily life activities that are in pursuit of economic growth of the individual and thence the society as a whole. Through his rationalization idea, he justified the exploitation of laborers by the rich entrepreneurs provided they were willing to work for their pay. He also justified the way workers allowed themselves to be exploited in that they were working with the belief that their work was a calling from God while the wages were the economic gain that they sought, the ultimate reward would be God’s blessings and salvation as a result of their obedience in responding so willingly to His calling.
Calvinism basically refers to the Reformed faith that deviated from the Roman Catholic Church. Calvinists were Protestants who were drawn to an ascetic lifestyle by virtue of their teachings on salvation. To these Protestants, economic prosperity was one of the ways acquiring self-confidence, and a lack of this confidence was a sign of insufficient faith. Thus, one of the ways through which one could be assured of salvation was by accumulating wealth to become self-confident and exude sufficient faith. Material wealth was thus a symbol of approval and blessings from God.
Unlike other religions that assured believers of salvation based on their devotion and commitment to the religious activities, the Calvinist theology did not provide any assurance and thus the believers were forced to seek it from material manifestations. The religious teachings of the Calvinists further encouraged the believers to seek economic gain by considering the secular vocations to be of equal importance to a religious calling (Durkheim 2008).
The Protestant Work Ethic
In his book “The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism”, Max Weber wrote that the capitalism that swept across Northern Europe was as a result of the influence of the Calvinist doctrines or ethic which encouraged believers to embrace secular vocations just as they would religious callings. The Calvinist teachings likened secular work to a calling from God and thus encouraged people’s devotion to their work provided they ended up getting some form of income.
The protestant work ethic, also known as the Puritan work ethic is founded on the concept of hard diligent work for the sake of economic success and self-confidence. Unlike in the catholic tradition where salvation is assured and faith displayed through acts of attendance, confession and other sacraments, Protestants were not assured of salvation and thus sought out economic prosperity as a way of manifesting God’s approval and sufficiency of their faith. In this way, they grew to learn to associate economic success with hard diligent work and God’s blessings. According to Weber (2001: 246) the protestant work ethic encouraged individuals to pursue economic advancement by terming their secular vocations as a calling from God; moreover, the Protestant theology encouraged even the most humble of professionals to dedicate themselves to enhancing their financial status in order to increase their self-confidence and appear to have enough faith in God.
Max supported this concept by noting just how the protestant countries at that time were advancing in terms of capitalism or individual wealth accumulation. With a great example of the Scandinavian countries, Protestantism was encouraging hard work and commitment in order to better the lives of the individuals. People were held responsible for their faith in God, their confidence in themselves and their contribution to the economy. In this sense, more and more people were encouraged to develop personal enterprises and generate wealth while creating employment opportunities for the less fortunate. These ‘less fortunate’ people were also encouraged to earn their wages since their work was a ‘calling’ predestined for them by God in His wisdom.
Max Weber was as an individual, quite torn between two polar personalities. First he was his mother’s son, a scholar with an interest in religion. He also was his father’s son, a politician with parliamentary aspirations. At some point, he even suffered a mental illness that was never really brought out since his wife destroyed every documentation of it, fearing what it could do to his reputation as a renowned scholar and sociologist after his death. However, this did not stop him from making his mark in sociology as well as political and economic history. His works are in one way or another still relevant to this day.
Max Weber and the Protestant Work Ethic
In his analysis, Weber (2001: 24) believes that the current economic organization is heavily founded on the protestant view of work. Weber (2001:26) states “the concept of the Protestant work ethic, which stipulated that the spirit of capitalism has to be rooted in the people’s culture or religion if it is to thrive and be successful”, Weber’s views remain relevant to this day. Protestantism may not have necessarily reduced in the world today, but the Protestants are not as devoted to the teachings of their faith. The protestant countries, and particularly the Scandinavian countries as a specific example, have witnessed some level of decline in capitalism and thence accumulation of individual wealth and dedication to hard diligent work. All these values were embedded in the protestant theology and largely contributed to the success of the economies of all these countries way back in history. The boom of industrialization in the Scandinavian countries was greatly attributed to the existence of the spirit of capitalism which originated from the Calvinist theology. People were encouraged to work hard and create economic enterprises to maximize on the potential of their assets and create opportunities for others. The religion also encouraged the migration of individuals to the industrial centers to seek employment as a way of earning their living. Employment in this case was seen as a calling, and thus is greatly elevated regardless of its stature. More and more people opted to work in the most humble of occupations for as little as the entrepreneurs were willing to pay them, rather than stay in abject poverty and be seen to lack sufficient faith. Economic wellbeing was associated with the amount of faith that one possessed and this drove believers to strive for success in one way or another. Furthermore, this may have created some class divisions in that the rich were considered as more religious and more righteous in the eyes of God and thus they could exploit their unfortunate counterparts by paying them less for work done.
Putting this ideology into perspective, the concept of a secular profession being regarded as a calling did serve as a motivation for capitalism in the protestant countries. Using current statistics, as a reference point, religion is of a great influence in inculcating the spirit of capitalism into the masses. The devotion to religion has been on a steep decline since more and more people become too busy to engage in religious activities and learn the necessary doctrines. According to Soto (2002: 43), “countries that were previously largely protestant or catholic have now become mixed up in that there are just as many irreligious persons as there are the religious ones. The religious ones are also not entirely religious, as they are more engaged in other worldly activities thus they lack the time to really learn their faith.” What this implies is that the formerly protestant or catholic countries can no longer be identified by their dominant religion because there has been a great mixture in recent years due to migration, exposure and liberalization in terms of freedom of worship.
As a result of the changing dynamics with regards to religious composition of countries, the spirit of capitalism has seemingly eroded in the previously protestant countries while seeming to increase in the catholic countries. The economies of states like the Netherlands and Germany may have led the world in capitalism back in the day, but they are currently at the same level, if not lower than Italy and Spain at present. Devotion to religion is no longer as strong as it was back then, and thus a country cannot be considered as a Protestant or Catholic state. This has eroded the spirit of capitalism and thus greatly affected the economy of the state. This simply proves that Max Weber was right about the connection between religion and capitalism.
With the death of the spirit of capitalism, laborers are no longer proud of their work and are not content with their wages. This has been seen in the way workers continue to strike and fight for better wages and better working conditions. Also, there have been more establishing enterprises other than just economic empowerment and creating opportunities for the less fortunate. While sticking to the basics of multiplying wealth and accumulating capital assets, people are no longer bent on creating opportunities for others since the wealthy end up employing only their families and other well connected members of society to work in the top positions of their businesses (Durkheim 2008).
Historically, states that had a majority of Protestants and more specifically Calvinists were able to embrace and pursue capitalism aided by the spirit of capitalism that is embedded in the Calvinist theology. This is the major reason, according to Weber, that led to the exponential growth in the economies of these protestant countries. With the decline in religious devotion, it follows that the spirit of capitalism is eroded and thus a decline in capitalism in these states. The seeming increase of capitalism in the Non-protestant states is simply because their spirit of capitalism was borrowed from their Protestant counterparts and thus is not affected by their devotion to religion, or a lack of it. The growth is actually steady, and only appears significant due to the steep decline witnessed by the Protestant states.
In this way, Max established the connection between religion and economy despite his not being religious himself. The connection continues to hold water, and this has been proven by the way devotion to labor has gone down with devotion to religion. Currently, there have been recurring reports of industrial mass action where workers down their tools to protest against low wages or unfavorable working conditions. In this way, more and more workers are deviating from the ideal situation in which they would be content with their wages and view their work as a calling from God thus disregarding the inferior quantity of the compensation received. While the purpose of working in the Protestant ethic is to acquire some economic gain, the job is considered more important than the compensation as the laborer is considered to be responding to a calling from God and thus expects eventual salvation as an obedient son or daughter of the Father. Workers in the present day do not persevere in unfavorable conditions as can be seen in the formation of unions and holding of protests as well as class actions against employers. This however does not disqualify Max Weber’s ideals. It is clear that people are no longer devoted to the doctrines of the religions. Religious teachings are now considered as opinions, and individuals have given themselves the liberty to decide whether to follow a theology or not. In this regard, the fact that not many people pay any attention to religious teachings may have played a greater role in creating this breed of laborers who value their wages more than the work that they are actually being paid to do.
Max Weber and Calvinism
Max was exposed to Calvinist theology at a tender age given that his mother was a devout Calvinist drawn to an ascetic lifestyle. Although he did not embrace the religion himself, he had quite a great understanding of the concepts and this shaped the ideologies in most of his social works. In his book, Weber (2001:80) wrote “terming a secular profession as a calling was a great way to motivate the entrepreneur and justify their scramble for economic success.” He also stated that the concept of the calling served as an encouragement to the hard working laborers to view their devotion as a mean of achieving salvation for their faith. While recognizing that the entrepreneurs were using this doctrine to exploit their workers, he looked at this from a greater perspective which was the benefits that this arrangement gave to the society as a whole. He looked at the positive impact of capitalism to the economy regardless of the undertones of exploitation experienced by the laborers (Weber 2001:92).
Max showed just how Calvinism was encouraging the pursuit of economic gains by endowing secular activities with a moral significance. At that time, religion was known to shy away from worldly pursuits in favor of salvation, but Max brought out the side of Protestantism that did not assure salvation to those who attended the religious activities, took to the confession regulations and participated in the required sacraments. He brought out the side of religion that required for one go above the usual religious obligations and uphold hard diligent work, sufficient faith and self-confidence in order for one to claim salvation.
Comparing this to Catholicism, Max was quite right. The Catholics were assured of salvation based on how they attended to their religious obligations, confessions and other sacraments. They shied away from the pursuit of economic gains, and limited their participation in secular activities. In this way, the Catholics who were born poor remained comfortably while the rich lived off their inheritance. This limited their economic growth and even led to the large gap between the Protestant countries and the Catholic countries.
Overman (2011) concurs with Weber to a certain extend in regard to the present day, Catholic doctrines still limit indulgence in secular activities. For example, while protestant clergy can be involved in entrepreneurship the Catholics are still confined to the convents and seminaries or parish houses where they fully devote themselves to the work of the church. The leaders of the Catholic Church are still expected to live within the means of the church and even observe celibacy as a way of setting themselves apart from the world. In emphasizing on how the Protestant theology permitted involvement in pursuit of economic gains, Weber justified the economic gaps between the religiously defined countries. In the present day, this ideology justifies the difference between the lifestyles of the devout members of these two religions. By looking at Protestantism as a religion that rationalizes the way secular activities are perceived, as a way of earning economic gains and boosting self-confidence, as a calling with both a moral and spiritual value and not just an unnecessary worldly indulgence, Weber (2001: 46) justifies the gap between the two religions in terms of glamour and affluence especially since most protestant church leaders continue being world famous for their glamorous lifestyle and accumulated wealth unlike the Catholics who by far remain relatively unknown with regards to their worldly possessions.
While Protestant states can no longer boast of being more capitalistic than Catholic states that individuals who still follow the teachings of their religion still hold a remarkable difference with regards to how they perceive work and spirituality. The Catholics still seek to separate themselves from the pursuit of economic gains at the expense of their religious obligations while the Protestants willingly merge their spiritual lives with their economic lives maneuvering in between the two with so much ease. This is evident in the number of prominent tycoons who are actually church leaders in the Protestant churches, against the number of Catholic Church leaders who have made a mark in the business world.
Max Weber and Capitalism
As a social scientist, Max Weber viewed capitalism based on its advantages to the people and society as a whole. Weber (2001:155) described capitalism to be a “situation in which individuals are allowed to own capital assets, where there is a market exchange of goods and services, and where the supply of labor is on a voluntary basis.” By setting all these conditions in his definition of capitalism, Weber sought to have a society in which every individual is free to pursue economic gains and wealth accumulation on a voluntary basis. Weber (2001:26) reiterated “the current definition of capitalism is not complete because it does not include the organization skills.” In a social standing, a capitalist would thus be anyone who owned capital assets, participated voluntarily in the labor market, or actively engaged in the exchange of goods and services. Translating this into a state, a capitalist state would be one which allows for all the above conditions meaning that the ruling class is more of the entrepreneur’s club than the politicians.
Taking the example of the United States, state capitalism basically implies that the state operates like a large corporation. While the means of production is privately owned at a large scale, the government controls it through regulatory bodies that are supposedly independent and with lots of mandate. However, the state is seen to operate like a protector to the interests of the private corporate who dominate the market in partnership with the government. In such a system, most if not all corporations are jointly owned with the government and this puts the owners in good positions. Contrary to Weber, Soto (2003) emphasizes that a capitalist state basically operates as an economic system. It is for a reason that all the decisions are made based on the interests of the economic powerhouses of the country. The political class that consists mainly of elected representatives thus remains as a bunch of ‘croaking frogs’ that have no effect on the elephant that empties their pond. They are there to entertain the country with colorful arguments and debates, but the main decisions are made in the boardrooms of corporations and pushed on them by the corporate executives, their lawyers and sometimes even professional lobbyists. The political powers are thus usurped by the already very powerful economic system.
The United States may not have initially been a largely protestant country, but its culture and education system were greatly influenced by the Puritans who immigrated into the country during its colonization. These Protestants inculcated in the Americans the unmistakable spirit of capitalism such that all people of power were expected to have come from poor backgrounds and work their way up through diligence and commitment. The doctrine of working hard to better the economic status of individuals eventually led to formation of classes and the economic class ended up with more powers than the political class despite the politicians being democratically elected. In this sense, the adoption of capitalistic tendencies at the state level undermined democracy. This is where Weber failed even himself seeing as he was an enthusiast of democracy himself.
State capitalism has numerous discrepancies unlike the ideals that were propagated by Weber’s ideology. First of all, the major decisions affecting the people are made by those who are not directly affected by it. The economic class is given the mandate to deliberate on issues that do not affect them in any way. This means that they only look out for themselves and the working class or common citizens are left to struggle for their survival (Soto 2003).
This system tends to widen the gap between the poor and the rich, in a bid to prevent the acquisition of wealth that may threaten the status quo. The close ties between corporate and the government in the business sector provides opportunities for corruption and illegitimate deals due to the lack of transparency witnessed since the government seek to serve the interests of its business allies. This system centralizes the corridors of power and grants it to the private corporate owners, leaving the government as just but a symbol of state authority. In this case, the legislature lacks authority, the executive is under the control and manipulation of the economic class, and the judiciary has a price tag. Such is state capitalism, even in the United States.
The United States is a capitalist state in that the country has a political framework that implies democracy but the electorate is constantly shortchanged by the corporate firms that influence major decisions to protect their interests. People of the United States have been against so many policies that were adapted anyway, simply because some corporate somewhere sat in a boardroom and agreed to lobby for that policy as it served their interests whether directly or indirectly. This is a system of colonization whereby the powerful members of society are first class citizens and have much more weight in the running of state affairs.
The US government has been a capitalist state, with a militarized outfit for quite a while. The elected representatives have been puppets of the giant corporations rather than representatives of the will of people. The political class has shown little initiative towards becoming a true democracy like a libertarian socialist society. While people are lobbying for democracy, their elected and non-elected ‘rulers’ are getting comfortable knowing that a social revolution would not only hurt the entire nation but the entire human civilization seeing as the US is among the most influential economies of the world (Soto 2003). The country is thoroughly militarized with a really high military budget in the pretext of defense from powerful possible enemies like Korea and a rebellion would prove suicidal. However, all throughout history, men risked their security, their wealth and their lives for the sake of gaining or retrieving their freedom. Thus, the possibility of such a recurrence is there and it could happen on such a large scale that the results will not be negotiable in any forum. This, however, will require the commitment and dedication of all societal factions so as to ensure uniformity in the demands and thus results.
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With all these in mind, it is important to note that while Weber was right about the roots of capitalism, the fruits are quite a different story. His encouragement and inclination was founded on the benefit of giving people the freedom to engage in income generating ventures for their benefit and that of the society. This, however, resulted in far too many disadvantages including the rich holding the rest of the country at ransom by commanding the reins of power without having to be elected. They only watch out for themselves thus leaving the voiceless poor to fend for themselves under such oppressive conditions.
The roots of capitalism were indeed in the religion of the Puritans or rather Calvinists whose doctrines allowed and encouraged their participation in secular vocations as callings from God to attain economic empowerment and thence self-confidence and stronger faith in God. All these were considered as blessings and a sign of favor in the eyes of the Lord. Weber noted this quite well, and they continue to manifest in the decline of the spirit of capitalism along with the decline in devotion to religion across the world. He, however, did not envision the way capitalist states would end up ruining the economic freedom that he was advocating for when he hailed capitalism in the first place (Weber 2001).
Having established that Max Weber’s thoughts were majorly influenced by German idealism and Neo-Kantianism it follows that most of his opinions have managed to remain relevant even in today’s society. Historically, states that had a majority of Protestants and more specifically Calvinists were able to embrace and pursue capitalism aided by the spirit of capitalism that is embedded in the Calvinist theology. This is the major reason, according to Weber, that led to the exponential growth in the economies of these protestant countries. With the decline in religious devotion, it follows that the spirit of capitalism is eroded and thus a decline in capitalism in these states. The seeming increase of capitalism in the Non-protestant States is simply because their spirit of capitalism was borrowed from their Protestant counterparts and thus is not affected by their devotion to religion, or a lack of it. The growth is actually steady, and only appears significant due to the steep decline witnessed by the Protestant states. In this way, Max established the connection between religion and economy despite his not being religious himself. The connection continues to hold water, and this has been proven by the way devotion to labor has gone down with devotion to religion.
With regards to Weber’s thoughts on capitalism, the roots of the spirit of capitalism were indeed in the religion of the Puritans or rather Calvinists whose doctrines allowed and encouraged their participation in secular vocations as callings from God to attain economic empowerment and thence self-confidence and stronger faith in God. All these were considered as blessings and a sign of favor in the eyes of the Lord. Weber noted this quite well, and they continue to manifest in the decline of the spirit of capitalism along with the decline in devotion to religion across the world. He, however, did not envision the way capitalist states would end up ruining the economic freedom that he was advocating for when he hailed capitalism in the first place. As for Calvinism, he wrote that terming a secular profession as a calling was a great way to motivate the entrepreneur and justify their scramble for economic success. He also stated that the concept of the calling served as an encouragement to the hard working laborers to view their devotion as a means of achieving salvation for their faith. While recognizing that the entrepreneurs were using this doctrine to exploit their workers, he looked at this from a greater perspective which was the benefits that this arrangement gave to the society as a whole. He looked at the positive impact of capitalism to the economy regardless of the undertones of exploitation experienced by the laborers. Max showed just how Calvinism was encouraging the pursuit of economic gains by endowing secular activities with a moral significance.
At that time, religion was known to shy away from worldly pursuits in favor of salvation, but Max brought out the side of Protestantism that did not assure salvation to those who attended the religious activities, took to the confession regulations and participated in the required sacraments. He brought out the side of religion that required for one go above the usual religious obligations and uphold hard diligent work, sufficient faith and self-confidence in order for one to claim salvation. Comparing this to Catholicism, Max was quite right. The Catholics were assured of salvation based on how they attended to their religious obligations, confessions and other sacraments. They shied away from the pursuit of economic gains, and limited their participation in secular activities. In this way, the Catholics who were born poor remained comfortably while the rich lived off their inheritance. This limited their economic growth and even led to the large gap between the Protestant countries and the Catholic countries. As a sociologist, and a political and religious economist, Max Weber continues to live on in his great works that continue to shape the ideologies of scholars around the world. His old works form the basis of most new studies on politics, sociology as well as religion, thus he continue to remain relevant regardless of the changes witnessed by mankind after all these years.