The Concept of Capitalist Entrepreneurship V. Sombart - Economic Sociology

The concept of capitalist entrepreneurship V. Sombart

V. Sombart's approach to the sociological study of the phenomenon of capitalist entrepreneurship is fundamentally different from the concept of M. Weber. If the latter was building the "ideal type", fixing only the most characteristic and typical features in the purest form, sharpening the specifics and difference from traditional and adventuristic entrepreneurship, V. Sombart was interested in the bourgeois entrepreneur as a heterogeneous phenomenon that includes various cultural, spiritual, social psychological , social beginnings. In the diversity, the inconsistency of the complex historical dynamics of these principles, the "Zombart" entrepreneur.

The basis of the bourgeois personality are two mutually opposite principles: the entrepreneurial spirit and the philistine spirit.

Entrepreneurial spirit Sombart characterizes as "the synthesis of thirst for money, passion for adventure, ingenuity and much more." The entrepreneurial spirit prevails at the time of the genesis of capitalism, and in the motley fabric of capitalism the philistine spirit constitutes a cotton duck, and the entrepreneurial spirit is the silk base. " With all the immense variety of qualities of an entrepreneur's personality, it always includes three components: "conqueror", "organizer", "trader".

An entrepreneur as conqueror does not necessarily have a tendency to aggression and conquests in the literal sense of the word (although military campaigns and expeditions enter Sombart's list of possible "enterprises"), To be "conqueror", from Sombart's point of view, means an active attitude to reality, the ability to look beyond limits of everyday life, to see new horizons and opportunities where they are not seen by others, to build a new plan and to be ready for its implementation even in spite of many difficulties and obstacles. This requires the entrepreneur to have such qualities as "ideological wealth", "spiritual freedom", "spiritual energy", "persistence and persistence" in implementing the plan.

The ability to be an "organizer" is, according to Sombart, an inalienable quality of a true entrepreneur who is not only able to put forward new ideas, but also to organize people for their realization, knows how to force others to serve their will in a non-violent way. Finally, the entrepreneur's ability to be a "merchant" means for the German scientist more than just the conduct of a commercial enterprise: this is the ability to negotiate and negotiate, the ability to persuade, rather than coerce, which Sombart called the "fighting spiritual weapons".

Social carrier groups of the "entrepreneurial spirit" originally were robbers, feudal lords, large speculators.

Robbers and pirates, who are equated with traveling for the purpose of discoveries, "power-thrusters, adventurous, accustomed to victories, rude, greedy conquerors of a very large caliber", are declared carriers of entrepreneurial spirit for their desire for profit, multiplied by energy, determination and ability to plan and organize large expeditions, subordinate others to their will.

Feudal economy gradually, with the loss of orientation to direct consumption, grows into a capitalist or semi-capitalist economy. This is possible due to the considerable resources available to the feudal lords - the owners of the land, its subsoil, forest and other lands, which at the same time had considerable reserves of labor.

Large speculators had the ability to direct large resources to the implementation of projects of an adventuristic type: "He himself with his passion is experiencing the dream of his happily carried out until the end, the successful enterprise. He sees himself as a rich, powerful man, whom all the neighbors honor and extol for the glorious deeds that he committed, growing up in his own fantasy to an incredible size ... He dreams of a grandiose. He lives in a constant fever. The exaggeration of his own ideas still excites him and keeps him in continuous motion ... And, based on this basic mood, he is accomplishing his greatest work: he carries other people behind him so that they help him to implement his plan. " Speculative capital develops on the scale of large enterprises, whose real plan is difficult to rationally review - major bank scams, overseas expeditions and colonial enterprises, transport enterprises, etc.

In order for the "capitalistic spirit" was established in society, Sombart believes, a critical mass of individuals carrying certain psychological properties is necessary. So, entrepreneurial nature, to the above described "entrepreneurial spirit" could develop, should, according to Sombart, have the mind, imagination, mobility of spirit, energy and vitality. "Entrepreneurial natures are people with a pronounced intellectual-voluntaristic giftedness, which they must possess in excess of the usual degree ... These intellectually and spiritually gifted people are, by definition of Sombart, passionate, "erotic" natures, professing the eudemonistic and even hedonistic ethics, i.e. happiness, enjoyment of life - not only by wealth as such, but primarily by activity itself, by adventure, by the play of passions. In this heroic capitalism, according to Sombart, racial and biological properties of conquering peoples dominate, which dominate over others due to their vitality and natural energy.

The philistine spirit is the second component of the "capitalistic spirit". Underneath him, Sombart understands "all those views and principles (and their directed behavior and actions) that together make up a good citizen and father of the family, a solid and" discreet "business man." V. Sombart considers the warehouse of the individual and the system of values, united by the notion of philistine spirit, as well as the capitalist spirit in general, the product of historical development, and relates its emergence to the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, and considers the trading city of Italy as the motherland. Within the philistine spirit Sombart identifies two main components: "petty bourgeois morality" ("holy economy"), including the principles of the internal arrangement of the economy and its management, and "business morality," which regulates the owner's relationship with the outside world, including with clients and partners.

Holy household (the expression borrowed by Sombart from the Florentine merchant and writer of the 14th century L. Alberti) suggests, first, the rationalization of farming. Sombart notes that, unlike the "noble senor", the rational host-philistine does not hesitate to talk about economic matters as something unworthy, and systematically reduces the balance of incomes and expenses, not allowing the latter to exceed the former. This means a complete rejection of the seignorial lifestyle corresponding to the property position, condemnation of unnecessary expenditure, often encountered in merchant's memoirs and manuals of the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries. a fundamental change in the view of a decent way of life and the appointment of wealth, which is no longer associated with a costly, but with a productive economy. Secondly, philistine morality presupposes the economization of farming; not just a reduction of the balance, but a deliberate thrift-oriented accumulation. And new in this period is the appeal of the thrifty and accumulation rich to the idea, the transformation of voluntary (and not stimulated by need) savings of means and asceticization of the way of life into virtue and moral imperative of the commercial and industrial class. As examples of philistine virtues holy economy Sombart leads, in addition to L. Alberti, D. Defoe and B. Franklin.

Business morality includes new norms and values ​​acting in the sphere of the entrepreneur's relations with partners and clients. The moral in dealing with clients implies, first of all, "commercial solidity, i.e. trustworthiness in the fulfillment of promises, "actual service", punctuality in fulfilling obligations, etc. ". This new morality differs from the traditional norms of doing business in that it implies loyalty to treaties in which the personality of the contracting people does not matter (in the traditional economic culture the relations between one's own and others were very different).

Business morality This is not only morality in the case, but also morality for the case. This means, according to Sombart, that from now on it becomes profitable (for business reasons) to cultivate certain virtues, or at least to wear them, or possess them and show them. These virtues can be combined in one collective concept: philistine decency ". It was profitable to have the reputation of an industrious, sober and moderate, modest, religious citizen. Finally, the peculiarity of petty-bourgeois morality, according to Sombart, is the ability to calculate, to note the diversity and complexity of the relations to the mathematical calculus of arrival and expenditure, the ability not developed in the traditional economy, where the granary books of even large merchants resembled diaries rather than modern financial documents.

Social groups, most vividly embodied philistine spirit, were government officials, merchants and artisans.

State officials, bureaucrats and rulers, concerned about the replenishment of the treasury, are declared Sombart among the first carriers of the capitalist spirit, since they often gave rise to the organization of state enterprises (manufactories, shipyards, mines, etc.). In terms of the amount of money invested, organizational capacity, and most importantly, the rationality of long-term planning, it is state-owned enterprises that have had the most significant impact on the formation of capitalism as a type of economic organization.

The merchants, according to Sombart, are those who have developed a capitalist enterprise from the trade of goods and money, growing from the smallest handicraft enterprises. The most important way of developing merchant entrepreneurship was its gradual transformation into manufactory and factory production by hiring small craftsmen. Such small producers were supplied with everything necessary for handicraft production to order, and then gradually enslaved and turned into real wage workers.

Craftsmen - those who, unlike merchants, were initially rich and developed in the sphere of industrial production - in machine building, textile industry, etc. A craftsman and a merchant in the form and methods of their activities are united by the fact that they completely abandon violent, authoritarian ways, they are traders, i. know how to negotiate (in contrast to the forcibly robbers, and feudal lords). In addition, artisans with merchants related not inherent in other layers - the bearers of the entrepreneurial spirit - thrift, the ability to save and calculate their own means.

According to their psychological and moral foundations, philistine natures are ascetic, they do not possess the power and energy of entrepreneurial natures, profess the ethics of duty and methodical diligence. They grow on the racial-biological basis of peoples, doomed to be subjugated and forced to work, their lot is survival in conditions of external domination, which can be achieved only through patience, caution, diligence, thrift, etc. Their ascetic ethics is initially forced, they simply do not have anything better, for the "conquerors" do not leave other prospects. Then the ethic of duty is internalized, turning into an inner need, becomes a natural attribute of philistine culture.

Thus, the "capitalistic spirit" is formed, according to Sombart, from elements that are diverse in terms of culture. Moreover, the bearers of these different cultural origins are opposite in their psycho-cultural nature. This internal contradiction is the key to the dynamics and, at the same time, the instability of the "capitalist spirit" and the very personality of the entrepreneur.

In the process of historical development, the ratio of elements and types varies, forming historically specific "styles" capitalism. He shares the socio-cultural and moral characteristics of early and late (ie, modern industrial) capitalism.

For an early capitalist entrepreneur, the "old-style bourgeoisie" it is characteristic, according to Sombart, the preservation of the precapitalist correlation of production and entrepreneurship with the interests and needs of man. A person still remains a measure of all things, and any businessman still does not cease to commensurate his commercial activity with the requirements of a healthy humanity: for all their business remained only a means to the goal of life; for all their direction and the extent of their activities determine their own vital interests and the interests of other people for whom and with which they act. "

Initially, at the time of the genesis of capitalism, among the bourgeois dominate "entrepreneurial natures", passionate individuals of an adventuristic warehouse. As the development and stabilization of capitalism, they acquire more and more philistine virtues: "the natural whole man with his healthy instinct has already suffered great damage, had to get used to the strait jacket of petty-bourgeois prosperity, had to learn to count. His claws are clipped, his claws of the beast of prey are sawn, his horns are provided with leather pads. "

Old style bourgeoisie refers to wealth as a hotly desired goal, but not as an end in itself, it must serve its master. The advantage of the entrepreneur is the ability to properly dispose of his wealth, use it to maintain his own business, for the benefit of relatives and in the interests of virtue. The means of making a fortune also matter - only wealth that is earned by honest means (only remains unclear, as in this connection Sombart treats "capitalist" nature of robbers and pirates) is respected. Business morality is full of decency and decency, competition is honest: not yet spread such methods of economic struggle as the ruin of competitors through sales at low prices, it is still considered reprehensible to lure out other people's customers and attract buyers through obsessive advertising. The capitalist, while doing his own business, still cares about others: he often refuses to introduce labor-saving technology so as not to deprive a piece of bread of his workers.

For a highly capitalistic spirit, characteristic of a modern economic man, characteristic, according to Sombart, is a fundamental change in value guidelines. The goals of economic activity are now the profit and prosperity of the business. These two goals are interrelated, for the prosperity of the business requires a net profit, and the former is impossible without the latter. At the same time, the end point of the aspirations of the entrepreneur is pushed back to infinity, the development of the business and the increase in profits have no purpose, no other "human" meaning, except for the development of production in itself.

Among the entrepreneurs of mature capitalism Sombart finds the social types inherent in early capitalism: robbers, speculators, bureaucrats, etc. However, their style, forms and methods of their activities are fundamentally changing. Infinity of their business and its complete isolation from the "human" interests and needs leads to the fact that the entrepreneur loses his normal feelings, attachments, spiritual life, etc., turning into a car, into the slave of his business. The style of farming is also changing. It is dominated by rationality and orientation to production for exchange, the primary goal of any human production - the satisfaction of needs - loses its priority. Hence, there is a desire to reduce the cost of production and to expand sales, which no longer knows any moral limitations. Anything that prevents maximum profit is mercilessly suppressed, competition becomes a violent game without rules. Religious, moral and other prohibitions and restrictions can not hinder the development of capitalism.

Petty-bourgeois virtues in a highly capitalist culture undergo significant changes. During this period they ceased to be necessary properties of the entrepreneur's personality, turning into attributes of the business, "ceased to be the qualities of living people and became instead objective principles of management". This means that an entrepreneur in himself can not be an industrious, honest, solid, thrifty person and not follow these moral norms in private life, but his business, in order to successfully develop and compete, must be conducted on the principles of diligence, economy, rationality , scrupulous implementation of contracts, etc. The virtue of modesty and asceticism also escapes from private life: the "new-style bourgeois": he can indulge in luxury, spend money on extravagant entertainment, etc., only to ensure that expenditures do not exceed revenues. At the same time, the capitalist enterprise itself is conducted on the principles of the strictest rationality and economy, well-tried accounting methods, accounting, personnel management, etc.

Thus, a late capitalist entrepreneur no longer himself creates capitalism through personal energy and character, and capitalism, with its established social and cultural values ​​and norms of activity and behavior, creates the entrepreneur and simultaneously opposes it as a huge economic and sociocultural space. Capitalism appears in Sombart as a passing phase of historical development, which is determined by the duality of its sociocultural nature. It is conditioned by the fact that the bourgeois "fat", loses the passionary energy of the "entrepreneurial spirit". He begins to unproductively use wealth in the form of rent, gets used to the calm satiety of the rentier and returns to the rejected in the era of his rise and flowering of luxury and waste. At the same time, the development of bureaucracy in the capitalist organization also undermines the energetic "entrepreneurial spirit", the management technique gradually takes the place of talent and creative intuition.

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