Is Marx Or Weber More Useful?

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Essay Question: Is Marx or Weber more useful to analysing capitalism today? Capitalism is “a system of economic enterprise based on market exchange” (Giddens, 2009). Almost all industrial societies today are capitalistic in nature since their economic structures are based on free enterprise and market competition. However, capitalism first became the dominant mode of production over two centuries ago in Western society. Over this period, there have been some major theorists who have attempted to analyse capitalism and among these theorists are Karl Marx and Max Weber. Notwithstanding the obvious differences between Marx and Weber’s approach to capitalism, particularly with regards to the content of their analyses, their appraisal of capitalism is attached to a critical position (Craib, 1997). Both Marx and Weber agreed on the uniqueness of capitalism as an economic system. A system where: relations of production were concentrated in the hands of a rather small sector of the population; labour was performed by the masses of workers selling their services on a market; efficiency became a priority through which rationality and technological advancement were applied over religious and traditional values; and the critical goal at the end of economic behaviour was unrestricted wealth acquisition i.e. maximum profit (Birnbaum, 1953). It could not simply be simply treated as just a new economic system but a revolutionary mode of production which involved a new type of society.
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