The Spirit of Capitalism


In The Spirit of Capitalism, Weber talks about how wasting time was a sin for many protestants, particularly Puritans. What was the basis of this belief? What does that belief promote? Give an example of how this way of thinking may still has influence today.In The Spirit of Capitalism Weber talks about The English puritans who grew out of Calvinism, which was heavily influenced by the ethical ideas of Richard Baxter. Baxter largely against all striving toward the procurement of temporal goods (Weber 197). In other words, according to Baxter’s asceticism, wealth and the pursuit of wealth are meaningless. What is truly reprehensible is dependence on personal property, and the enjoyment of wealth results in idleness and fleshly desire, especially in the pursuit of the divine life. It is only because property brings such a risk of rest that they are worthy of criticism (Weber 197). Therefore, on the basis of such beliefs as asceticism, wasting time is the most serious sin, because the period of life is very short and precious, while any waste of time, small talk, luxurious life or even extra sleep is a sin. Such beliefs were widely accepted by Protestants, especially Puritans because such asceticism was more in line with their norms of unclean living. The belief that wasting time is a sin further promotes the idea that people work hard and take pride in their work. Under this belief, the Puritans must make full use of their time to labor, which is the way to obtain the approval of God, only in this way can they not waste time. This way of thinking also has a profound impact on our current life. For example, we have a strict working time limit at work. If we are late for work every day, we will be morally punished by the company because of laziness and irresponsibility. It can be said that wasting time is a moral constraint on people.

Question: What exactly is the Puritan doctrine of asceticism? What are the positive effects?
Work Cited
Weber, Max. The Protestant Ethic and The “Spirit” Of Capitalism. Penguin Books, 2002
Response from Kha

What was the Peace of Westphalia? How did it change political systems in Europe? How were the political and religious systems created at this time not religiously tolerant? How did the power of the Holy Roman Emperor shift with the Peace of Westphalia? How did the economic and political power of the pope shift with the Peace of Westphalia? What characteristics of our current political systems and structures stem from these changes in Europe?The series of wars that broke out prior to the year 1648, notably the Thirty Years War, revolved around the issue of religion— religious group clashing an opposing religious group. The ultimate end of this specific war is credited to the string of peace treaties that were enacted amongst Westphalian towns, collectively known as the Peace of Westphalia. The results of its establishment include the cease of the Thirty Years War, a shift in power throughout Europe, and religious freedom within individual states. (Patton, The Peace of Westphalia). Prior to the Peace of Westphalia, discussing government decisions usually concerned a “dominant nation” forcing policy amongst the other nations. With the Peace of Westphalia, political systems changed for the negotiation’s goal was centered around the goal of reaching a compromise. It is one of the earliest historical moments in which diplomatic methods were utilized amongst many powers. (Patton, The Peace of Westphalia). The treaty did not mean that there was religious tolerance however, rather, it emphasized the concept of pluralism; there would be many different religions compared to one, almighty religion. Each state had sovereignty, in other words, complete power to uphold one religion. Any minority or exceptions to this were dealt with brutally. This shift in power was not only attributed to states, it was also the case for the Holy Roman Emperor. Logically, now with the states containing their own power to exercise their chosen religion, the role of the Holy Roman Emperor grew significantly unapparent. Almost identically, the Pope’s political and economic role was reduced tremendously as the princes were given the power to select their own religion (Sargent, What Was the Treaty of Westphalia). The changes which were implemented as a result of these peace treaties continue to play a role in the nature of our current political systems. As mentioned by scholars, the Peace of Westphalia was revolutionary for it provided guidelines behind international diplomacy. Not only this, but religious tolerance and individual state sovereignty (Patton, The Peace of Westphalia). What current world examples portray the changes that resulted from the peace of Westphalia?

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