In a society dominated by large formal organizations, there is a danger that social, political and economic power will become concentrated in the hands of the few who hold high positions in the most influential of these organizations. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, T. One is that there are certain values in every culture that are universally accepted within that culture as valid, and the other, that a historian free of bias must agree on what these values are. One is in what way we can understand the irreducibly subjective values held by the historical actors in an objective fashion, and the other, by what criteria we can select a certain historical phenomenon as opposed to another as historically significant subject matter worthy of our attention. What seems to underlie this seemingly self-contradictory imagery of modernity is the problem of modern humanity Menschentum and its loss of freedom and moral agency. Indeed, any analysis of rationalization must lead to a discussion of bureaucracy, for through the process of rationalization the affairs of society become ordered in a bureaucratic fashion. Weber believed that many countries were guilty of starting World War I, not just Germany.
According to Weber, the city as a politically autonomous organisation of people living in close proximity, employed in a variety of specialised trades, and physically separated from the surrounding countryside, only fully developed in the West and to a great extent shaped its cultural evolution: The origin of a rational and inner-worldly ethic is associated in the Occident with the appearance of thinkers and prophets. All knowledge of cultural reality. After spending months in a sanatorium during the summer and autumn of 1900, Weber and his wife travelled to Italy at the end of the year and did not return to Heidelberg until April 1902. It is in this light that the Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism must be read. He is also the proponent of the thesis that the Western world is moving in the direction of increasing rationalization, held by many to be the uniting theme of his work.
For Windelband, however, the difference between the two kinds of knowledge has to do with its aim and method as well. Everything about the world is uniform, and there is no tolerance for individuality. Max Weber on Law in Economy and Society. Retrieved on August 17, 2006. Therefore, the rank and file tend to look to the leaders for policy directives and are generally prepared to allow leaders to exercise their judgment on most matters.
The ideal type involves determining the features of a social institution that would be present if the institution were a logically consistent whole, not affected by other institutions, concerns and interests. Two years later, Weber completed his , , working with. In 1908, Weber published an article in which he drew a sharp methodological distinction between psychology and economics and attacked the claims that the marginal theory of value in economics reflected the form of the psychological response to stimuli as described by the. Max Weber: An Introduction to His Life and Work. Topf and Sons of Erfurt, manufacturers of heating equipment, won out in its bid for the crematoria at Auschwitz.
There are four types of rationalization: practical rationality, theoretical rationality, substantive rationality, and formal rationality. These forms of rationality need not be associated with social action but are more a part of logical structures and theory. His research in that period was focused on economics and legal history. On the one hand, he followed Windelband in positing that historical and cultural knowledge is categorically distinct from natural scientific knowledge. Related to rationalisation is the process of , in which the world is becoming more explained and less mystical, moving from religions to ones and finally to the Godless science of. At the same time, Weber feared that this could result in increased control over individual action, stifling charisma and tradition, and allowing few alternatives for creative human action. Thus we have economic bureaucracies in pursuit of profit that deplete and pollute the environment upon which they are based; political bureaucracies, set up to protect our civil liberties, that violate them with impunity; Agricultural bureaucracies educational, government, and business set up to help the farmer, that end up putting millions of these same farmers out of business; Service bureaucracies designed to care for and protect the elderly, that routinely deny service and actually engage in abuse.
As a result, the consequences for people involved in formally rational systems may not always be desirable. Rationalization is the most general element of Weber's theory. Weber was very concerned about the impact that rationalization and bureaucratization had on sociocultural systems. After all, the questions that drove his methodological reflections were what it means to practice science in the modern polytheistic world and how one can do science with a sense of vocation. After this stint essentially as a private scholar, he slowly resumed his participation in various academic and public activities. Last accessed on 18 September 2006.
Weber argued that men could no longer engage in socially significant action unless they joined a large-scale organization. Many areas of life and social action, as well as organizations, would become dominated by rationality and rationalism, according to Weber. The development of the concept of the calling quickly gave to the modern entrepreneur a fabulously clear conscience—and also industrious workers; he gave to his employees as the wages of their ascetic devotion to the calling and of co-operation in his ruthless exploitation of them through capitalism the prospect of eternal salvation. Explorations in Classical Sociological Theory: Seeing the Social World. Rationalization causes the weakening of traditional and religious moral authority secularization ; the values of efficiency and calculability predominate.
The move towards a structure of authority, utilising a bureaucratic structure, is inevitable in the end. In fact, I expand on these Weberian themes considerably in my book,. Such superstructural norms and values as individualism, efficiency, self-discipline, materialism, and calculability all of which are subsumed under Weber's concept of zweckrational have been encouraged by the bureaucratization process. I don't think any one car before or since produced as gruesome a record on the highway as the Corvair. Weber has influenced many later social theorists, such as , , and.