Marx & Weber Accounts Of The Rise Of Capitalism

2074 Words9 Pages
The following essay will cover both Marx’s and Weber’s view on capitalism and how it has affected social class throughout history whilst comparing them. It will first outline each view then continue to compare. Both Karl Marx and Max Weber wrote extensively on capitalism, its origins and its future. Although there are a very few small points that they agreed on, for the most part, they strongly disagreed. Only when the analysis of their main differences is looked at, can a stronger and broader understanding of capitalism be reached. Marx and Weber are both social scientists and devote much of their work to defining capitalism through understanding its creation, workings and causes. They arrive at two very distinct conclusions in their evaluation of capitalism caused by similar and distinctly different factors. Although they have studied the same system, it seems perplexing that Marx and Weber came to two fundamentally different conclusions. It would therefore seem that one must be right and one must be incorrect. Their views of capitalism were created from two divergent angles of approach, causing them to start and finish at two conflicting theories. Max Weber was born in to a bourgeois background in Germany, but died from pneumonia after a nervous breakdown in 1887, followed by spells of depressive illness. Weber’s most famous book, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, is generally taken as a counter to the Marxist thesis of the primacy of base over superstructure. Weber does not believe that history had a grand pattern, like Marx does, and although there is a clear relationship between material factors and politics, belies, consciousness; the relationship is complex, multi directional, multi causal and more than that. It is often the case that non material factors, shape or make possible the material relations that Marx uses as a starting point.
Open Document