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In the first part of his discussion, Weber focuses on the idea of a certain religion being the pushing force for the idealities that are in capitalism. He explains that Protestants, rather than Catholics, are more likely to be owners and leaders in the economic and business world. Also, he noticed that most of the wealthier areas were Protestant or converted to Protestantism. The reason Weber was interested in these finding was because he believed that this could have a correlation with the ideations of capitalism.
He looked further into this by explaining that rather than the increase in Protestant influence in business being from inherited wealth, Weber looks at the schooling that both Protestants and Catholics were engaged in. This lead to the realization that rather than the separation being from wealth, Protestants were more likely to go to school and study to get a job in the upper workings of a business, whereas Catholics focused more on mastering their craft.
The Protestants ideals of making it to the top and gaining money not just to live but to be able to live and still have more money in their possession is what Weber noticed to contribute to capitalism. Weber also sees the Calvinists as having the strongest influence because of their desire for success to seek the approval of God. Weber used these realizations to draw a connection between a major religious group having an impact and an influence on the ideals of capitalism. With the idea of working hard for political and personal gain, Weber saw the connection of these ideas from a religious group to capitalism.
Weber goes on to define and discuss the spirit of capitalism. To do this, he includes a piece of writing from Benjamin Franklin. In his writing, Franklin discusses how time is money, credit is money, and money can create more money. These ideologies are what Weber uses to define the modern spirit of capitalism. The idea of time being money is one that coincides with the idea that there is always time to be making money. By doing something other than working, or being idle as Franklin put it, you are losing money that you could be earning if you were doing work. Rather than making the most of your labor and making as much as you can, you are wasting your time and therefore losing money. In the sense of credit being money, the idea is being smart with money. You have to be careful with your money and maintain a good credit because expenses can become larger and larger without notice. Also, money can create more money meaning that the more money someone has, the faster profits can rise. These ideas are what Weber described as the ethics of capitalism. Making and earning money as fast as you can without stopping essentially. Rather than have enjoyable moments in life, you should be working and making money at all times rather than wasting times on the other aspects of life. Weber explains that in his mind, for capitalism to have come into the light, it had to rise up to power. It wasn’t just a way of life one day but rather had to fight for a spot in economics. The reason behind this is the ideals of the people before the time of capitalism. A constant want for wealth was considered as greed and not acceptable among the people.
Weber defines capitalism as being a way of life that someone should live in and be a part of. Being someone who sees their work and their business as an end and being completely involved in it is where capitalism has gone and changed. Rather than religion being the driving force to perform and do well, it is the fact of prospering and striving for excellence and wealth. Religion no longer has such a larger factor. At the beginning, religion was needed to drive people to perform to the best of their ability and seek for wealth, but that has changed to money and prosperity being the sole driving force of the spirit of capitalism.
Weber also goes on to discuss the idea of a calling, a new idea from the reformation. Weber describes the literal meaning of a calling in regard to the idea that it is something that God has asked for someone to do. In other words, it is a task given to people by God based on where someone is at in the world. This translated to the idea that people would work and perform their daily duties because of the fact that they felt they were being obedient to what God wanted them to do. With the reformation, he saw a smaller amount of people doing work because they were being called by god but because of the ideas in which society has now learned to accept. Economic gain and being dedicated to your work is a part of life and a part of society rather than being the result of a religious belief.
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