The preconditions for capitalist entrepreneurship in M. Weber's...

Prerequisites of capitalist entrepreneurship in the work of M. Weber "Protestant ethics and the spirit of capitalism"

M. Weber, like K. Marx and V. Sombart, considers capitalist entrepreneurship in the form in which it emerged in the West in the Modern Times, a unique historical phenomenon and a fundamentally new stage in the development of economic life. In the work "Protestant Ethics and the Spirit of Capitalism" M. Weber justified the opposite of capitalism and all non-capitalist, or, as he called them, traditional societies and systems of value orientations. He wrote: "The first adversary that faced the" spirit "of capitalism and which was a certain lifestyle, normatively conditioned and acting in an" ethical "guise, was the type of perception and behavior that can be called traditionalism." Traditionalism was understood as the orientation of economic activity on consumption and the desire to reproduce the established stereotypes of management.

But what exactly served as the impetus for the formation of fundamentally new and, from the traditional point of view, absolutely illogical installations for increasing profits for the purpose of investment, expanding the business without using consumer capital, for rational long-term planning instead of short-term super-profitable operations with subsequent recovery of funds from turnover? On the basis of sociological studies conducted in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century, M. Weber came to the conclusion that among Protestants the percentage of active entrepreneurs is greater than among Catholics. In works devoted to the study of the East (Confucianism and Taoism, Hinduism and Buddhism), M. Weber compared the level of development of European and Asian societies at the turn of the New Age. He came to the conclusion that in the period preceding the intensive development of capitalism, its material - economic, technological, demographic, etc. - the prerequisites were approximately the same in Europe and Asia, but the spiritual life, determined by religions, was very significant. Weber suggested that the causes of the emergence of capitalism should be sought in spiritual and philosophical systems, and turned to an analysis of the influence of Protestantism on it.

M. Weber emphasizes that all the features of Protestantism stem from the Christian concept of God as an absolutely transcendent, personified, actively interfering in earthly affairs, punishing and saving the Creator of the world at will. Having created the world out of nothing, God sets its laws, and together with them the ethical norms of human communication, which form the whole idea of ​​a charitable, righteous way of life. From this point of view, as M. Weber repeatedly emphasizes, the Christian, including the Protestant, ethic rationalizes the way of life of believers as a whole, since it organizes it and subordinates it to unified norms, it aims at common goals.

The religious-philosophical concepts described above determine the dominant ideas about the essence of man and his being. A Christian is endowed with an immortal soul, but life is given to him only once, and during this limited time, unknown to anyone and the time predestined from above, a person can earn both salvation and eternal bliss, and perdition and eternal torment. The life of man, his individual unique existence have in Christianity absolute ethical and soteriological (soul-saving) value, for the soul is eternal, immortal, and the way we live this temporary life determines the subsequent eternity.

The most important feature of the Christian, especially Protestant, religious ethics M. Weber considered the abstract nature of its values ​​and norms. There is a notion of good, good, righteous lifestyle, etc., which is opposed to the idea of ​​sin, radical evil, which is also abstract. The universal subordination of believers, equal in their ethical qualities, transcendental God and abstract ethical norms, creates, according to M. Weber, the socio-psychological prerequisites for the establishment in society of formal equality of people before the law and impersonal legal relations. The commodity economy, and especially capitalist entrepreneurship, as well as the political organization of society based on formal legal regulation, proceeds from impersonal relations between individuals acting as participants in commodity exchange or legal entities.

At the heart of the "capitalist spirit," according to M. Weber, lies the Protestant concept of salvation. High religions instill in the minds of believers the notion of the meaning of life and its supreme goal - of salvation. For Christianity in general and Protestantism in particular, this highest vital goal is the acquisition by the righteous of eternal bliss in the other world. In salvation, the full realization of the personality of the Christian is realized. It is in the notion of salvation that the general ideas about the norms and rules of the relation of the individual to the outside world, the main directions and limits of his activity, the content and the value hierarchy of life expectations are revealed in the given religious and cultural complex.

The Protestant lives to be an instrument of God and carry His will into the world. For this, he must subordinate all his earthly existence to the transformation of the world into the glory of God, to work honestly and conscientiously and to achieve success. His whole life - labor, spiritual, intimate - must be imbued with severe austerity and rationality.

The idea of ​​salvation corresponds to his methodology, which determines practical ways to achieve the religious ideal, the real forms of the individual's behavior in the world, the measure and direction of his activity.

The basis of the Protestant method of salvation is the world-rejecting austerity, based on the recognition of the imperfection and sinfulness of the created world, on its resolute rejection. Denial of the sinful world naturally implies the rejection of his benefits, the conscious restriction of his needs, curbing emotions and subordinating the whole way of life to the idea of ​​serving God.

With the abandonment of worldly goods and the principles of worldly existence in general, the ideal ascetic Christian is a systematized activity aimed at overcoming worldly passions that interfere with concentrating on serving God. M. Weber emphasizes that such austerity, which can be called the otherworldly, leads to a complete renunciation of the "world", to the breakdown of the social and spiritual bonds of the family, to the rejection of property, from political, economic, artistic, erotic, in general from all created interests. "

As an example of otherworldly asceticism, it is possible to consider Christian monasticism, departing from worldly affairs, but not refusing to act on its own. Within this form of austerity, physical labor, for example among Christian monks, acquires, but to M. Weber's expression, "hygienic" value, becomes a accepted religion a means of obedience - distraction from worldly passions. M. Weber emphasizes that Western ascetics-monks stood in the service of the church, carrying out in its interests a practical work - whether it is direct production of material goods or protective, inquisitorial, or political activity. However, it is important that the highest meaning in this case was not an activity in itself, but spiritual goals.

The uniqueness and historical significance of Protestantism is that in the process of the Reformation, there was a transformation of the otherworldly austerity into a worldly, or worldly austerity, in which activity in the world is seen as a "duty" imposed on the believer. With all its imperfections, the world is the only object of activity aimed at glorifying God, that special activity that will give the ascetic the opportunity to achieve the qualities to which he aspires, and they in turn serve as an expression of the mercy of God, by virtue of which the ascetic finds ability to work of this kind. "

M. Weber emphasizes that "the principled and systematically unchangeable unity of worldly professional ethics and religious confidence in salvation has created throughout the world only ascetic Protestantism. Only in Protestant professional ethics, the world in its imperfection has an exceptional religious significance as an object of fulfilling a debt by rational activity in accordance with the will of the supernatural god. " A man who belongs to the created world and carries in him all its imperfections, in ascetic Protestantism, through his activity becomes an instrument of God, fulfilling his will in the world, his vocation.

M. Weber emphasizes that the main content of the professional activities of a Protestant entrepreneur can not be the accumulation of capital as such. On the contrary, true capitalism in Weber's understanding is connected with the rational regulation of entrepreneurial activity: "Unrestrained greed in the affairs of profit is in no way identical to capitalism, and even less to its" spirit. " Capitalism may even be identical to curbing this irrational aspiration, at least to its rational regulation. "

The main and essential characteristic of the spirit of capitalism Is the desire for rational management of the economy and profitability. At the same time, the activity as a whole is oriented not to practical, but to ideal goals - they are subordinated to the idea of ​​salvation through ascetic worldly service to God.

The essence of any professional activity in the Protestant is its rational, systematic nature, and this his diligence differs from the diligence of the traditional artisan: "Not work as such, but only rational activity within the framework of his profession is pleasing to God. In the Puritan doctrine of vocational vocation stress is always on the methodical nature of professional asceticism. " The emphasis on the rationality of activities is explained by the fact that the believer in every event in his life, especially the professional, sees signs of divine predestination, an opportunity to assess his chances of being chosen and saved. Therefore, a special moral and religious significance for the Protestant has a methodical, measured way of life and style of everyday work. According to M. Weber, Protestantism creates unique spiritual attitudes for the transformation of rational calculation into a universal form of relationship with both the external and internal world in all their manifestations.

The most important factor contributing to the emergence of capitalism on the basis of reformist religious consciousness is the recognition of the high moral value of doing business. At the same time, the constant expansion of production takes on the character of a moral and religious duty-the tireless service to God, his glorification by everyday productive and profitable labor, and the transformation of the sinful world into his glory.

M. Weber emphasizes the difference between Protestant professional asceticism from the traditional Christian, expressed in the teachings of the fathers of the church and their interpretations of the Holy Scripture. So, the words of the apostle Paul "If anyone does not want to work, that and do not eat" the medieval theologian Thomas Aquinas was interpreted as an imperative for the whole human race as a whole, does not apply to rich people who easily have everything they need. And the Protestant Baxter emphasized that wealth does not relieve the need to work, but, on the contrary, is a prerequisite for even more intensive work.

We have already talked about the meaning of success as a sign of God's blessing. Failures, and especially poverty, are, on the contrary, a sign of doom for perdition. However, this does not mean that the believer, in case of failure, can despair and give up his work - on the contrary, he must still make every effort to serve God as diligently and rationally as possible, because a sudden success can awaken hopes for a better fate.

Evidence of success is income expressed in money, for such a measurement of it best testifies to the rationality of activity and serves as an abstract measure for assessing the piety of different types of labor. Although all professions are equal before God, as M. Weber emphasizes, the prestige and desirability of a particular activity is determined by its usefulness (as a form of serving God) and profitability, since it is the level of income that speaks about being elected.

Poverty and poverty in Protestant culture not only do not bear positive moral values ​​(as in traditional Christianity and some other religions), but they can not be a reason for compassion, and especially for charity. The poor loser is rejected by God and therefore people turn away from him. Beggars do not receive sympathy and help, but contempt, are persecuted and persecuted - examples from the books of Charles Dickens are well known.

The moral and spiritual significance of income in Protestant economic ethics is not limited to being a sign of being chosen. Income also creates conditions, material prerequisites for further service to God. Protestant ethics prescribe severe asceticism in everyday life, refusal of luxury and entertainment in the name of further expansion of the cause. It does not approve consumer use of income - that which is acquired, must not be wasted, but, on the contrary, it is multiplied into the glory of God. The historical uniqueness of the Protestant ethic, thanks to which it became the spiritual prerequisite of capitalist entrepreneurship, lies in the fact that specific value orientations to infinite investment and the infinite development of production are created here.

As an appeal to God in prayer can not have an end, so his service in the world knows no bounds. A believer can not cease to be an instrument of God. Therefore, professional activities of the Protestant, entrepreneurial, including, can not stop. The Protestant entrepreneur can not stop at what has been achieved, be satisfied with the accumulated capital, he must dispose of this God-given wealth solely for multiplying the glory of God, and not for satisfying his own needs.

Thus, Protestantism creates unique spiritual incentives for expanded reproduction, for the constant expansion of capital, but not for the sake of wealth in itself, but for the sake of multiplying the glory of God and our own confidence in salvation.

M. Weber in this work described the spiritual factors of the emergence of primary capitalism in the West. During this period, it was the spiritual, religious motivation of entrepreneurial activity, its perception from the point of view of the religious salvation of the soul that dominated the desire for profit, rationalized it, and endowed it with religious meaning. In modern Western society the situation has changed: the passion for profit has escaped from the "iron shell" religious regulation and turned into a self-sufficient motive, into a basic value: "At present, the spirit of asceticism - who knows, is it forever? - left this worldly shell. In any case, the victorious capitalism does not need such support anymore ... At the present time, the desire for profit, devoid of its religious and ethical content, assumes where it attains its highest freedom, namely in the United States, the character of an unrestrained passion, sometimes close to the sporting ". Of the Protestant ethical values, only "the notion of" professional duty "wanders the world as a specter of former religious ideas." Protestant ethics, laying the spiritual foundations of a high professional culture, lost direct influence on it. As evidenced by modern sociological studies, there is no direct correlation between the high level of Protestant religiosity and labor ethics, but in general it is higher where there was a stronger Protestant tradition.

Capitalism is already developing not on the basis of religious culture, but on its own basis. If initially a person with his own goals, values, aspirations created a capitalist economy, now he has turned into a colossal independent mechanism that forms the image of the thought and lifestyle of every member of society imposing his norms and rules of the game.

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