Weber and Marx Comparison of Capitalism

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Kendal Krantz Sociological Thought February 14, 2013 Weber and Marx Comparison Max Weber is noted as one of the greatest sociologists due to his immense contribution to the development of sociology through studied of the individual’s actions. Weber’s work in the early 20th century of subjective behavior expanded the study of society greatly. At the time, societies were being studied by the application of universal law, but Weber furthered the discipline by defining a principle objective he called Verstehen, or interpretive understanding. By this interpretation of the meanings attached to individual’s behaviors, Weber constructed categories of social actions. Through his analyses of social action, he devised the theory of rationalization. In his work, Weber interprets rationalization as the governing of social interaction and institutions by systematic and calculable rules. He applied this theory to his study of Western society and his interpretation of the actions and tendencies that were most prevalent at the time. In his work The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Weber argued that rational action, in pursuit of religious goals and a sacred end, is what determined practical economic affairs and ultimately developed capitalism. He can be compared to Karl Marx with the analyzes of capitalism and its instability; though Weber rejects Marx’s historical materialism theory and takes a religious approach, both sociologist conclude society is moving towards an unfit way of life. Weber strove to interpret the rationality of the social actions in economic society by studying religious influence. His analyses of Western society dates back to Martin Luther and the early principles of Protestantism. Weber studied the effects Luther’s concept of a religious ‘calling’ had on motivating people to pursue worldly success. He explains the Protestant calling belief;
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