Weber’s Inquisitive Ethos Built On The Shoulders Of Marxist Capitalist Theory

1732 words - 7 pages

Weber and Marx have both written accounts on the rise of capitalism and the bourgeoisie class in an attempt to understand the resulting inequalities that still exist today. Weber has criticised the work of Marx, citing how limited it is use a purely economic framework, labelled as historical materialism, instead of looking at all factors within society (Weber 2001: 20). Weber provides evidence and conclusions that mirror Marx, suggesting that his criticism is faulty. First, both writers recognise an inequality between the poor and rich resulting from the rise of capitalism and the bourgeoisie (Marx and Engels 2008: 34-36; Weber 2001: 28-30). Second, they both suggest broader systems of delusion meant to normalise the exploitation of the worker, and validate the gains of the bourgeoisie (Marx and Engels 2008: 38-40; Weber 2001: 24-27). Third, both authors refer to the development of systems that divides workers and suppresses their ability to deviate from or break capitalism (Marx and Engels 2008: 44; Weber 2001: 19; 115). Therefore, Weber’s criticism of Marx is only partially correct. Marx actually discusses social, political, and even moral elements despite both authors believing that The Communist Manifesto is solely about economics; the overlap between their conclusions shows demonstrates such variety. Weber’s work is superior though because he integrates examples of religion and morals to further support these points: the oppressive systems of capitalism and the persistent class antagonisms. Disproving even Marx’s own identity as an economist, Weber’s argument is marginally superior because it uses morality to elaborate on Marx’s seemingly-economic conclusions regarding the rise of bourgeois capitalism.
Marx’s explanation of the rise of bourgeois capitalism places significance on economic progress; understanding both narratives will help comparison later on. He claims that from the dissolution of feudalism, two groups, the bourgeoisie and proletariat emerge, continuing conditions of oppression and class antagonism (Marx and Engels 2008: 34). Industrial production replaced feudalism to allow for economic growth where stagnancy once existed, shifting labour from raw resources and peasants to capitalist-owned technologies and surplus production (Marx and Engels 2008: 35). Playing a large role in revolutions against the nobility and monarchy, the bourgeoisie actively took part, advancing themselves politically with each revolution (Marx and Engels 2008: 36). The resulting technological property, owned by investing capitalists, devalued the labour of individuals and the potential profit of individual craftsmen, forcing former peasants into exploitable wage-work out of desperation (Marx and Engels 2008: 35; 37; 45). This changed the needs of society, and how such needs would be addressed; these needs sought new products and processes of production from far-away lands and cultures (Marx and Engels 2008: 39). The need to constantly...

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