Weber - Religion as a force for social change

A quick look at Weber and his studies and an evaluation including other theorists

Weber and the 'protestant ethic'

Weber believed that some religious ideas, particularly protestant, initiated the conditions for capitalism to emerge
He noticed that Capitalism tended to develop in parts of Europe where Calivinism was dominant.

Calvinists: Believed in predestination. Their reward for righteous living was believed to be economic success

Note: Weber didn't say Calvinism caused capitalism, just that it was a factor. 

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Evaluation of Weber


- Sombart: Weber is mistaken, Calvinists are against greed and money for its own sake

- Some countries with large Calvinist populations did not industralise


- Marshall: Weber didn't claim Calvinism was the soul reason for Capitalism. Other factors are needed. 

- Marxists: Capitalism predated Calvinism

- Weber's actions highlight the relationship between social structure and social action 

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