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The Protestant Ethic and The Spirit of Capitalism
It is Benjamin Franklin who preaches to us in these sentences, the same which Ferdinand Kürnberger satirizes in this clever and malicious Picture of American Culture [3] as the supposed confession of faith of the Yankee. That it is the spirit of capitalism which here speaks in characteristic fashion , no one will doubt, however little we may wish to claim that everything which could be understood as pertaining to that spirit is contained in it. Let us pause a moment to consider this passage, the philosophy of which Kürnberger sums up in the words, "They make tallow out of cattle and money out of men". The peculiarity of this philosophy of avarice appears to be the ideal of the honest man of recognized credit, and above all the idea o a duty of the individual toward the increase of his capital, which is assumed as an end in itself. Truly what is here preached is not simply a means of making one's way in the world, but a peculiar ethic. The infraction of its rules is treated not as foolishness but as forgetfulness of duty. That is the essence of the matter. It is not mere business astuteness, that sort of thing is common enough, it is an ethos. This is the quality which interests us.
[...]
But the origin and history of such ideas is much more complex than the theorists of the superstructure suppose. The spirit of capitalism, in the sense in which we are using the term, had to fight its way to supremacy against a whole world of hostile forces. A state of mind such as that expressed in the passages we have quoted from Franklin, and which called forth the applause of a whole people, wwould both in ancient times and in the Middle Ages [12] have been proscribed as the lowest sort of avarice and as an attitude entirely lacking in self-respect. It is in fact, still regularly thus looked upon by all those social groups which are least involved in or adapted to modern capitalistic conditions. This is not wholly because the instinct of acquisition was in those times unknown or undeveloped, as has often been said. [Weber: 51-56]

## Ancestor worship is not well understood.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Oct 4th, 2019 at 01:22:18 PM EST
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