Religion and Economics in Robinson Crusoe and Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism

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Religion and Economics in Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe and Max Weber's Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism One of the most recognized and influential theories in sociology appears in Max Weber's The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, which links the development of capitalism to social and cultural factors, primarily religion, instead of economic factors alone. In his theory Weber concludes that the Protestant Ethic greatly influenced the development of capitalism in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. According to Gordon Marshall, Weber argues that the two most important factors of Protestantism contributing to capitalism were "diligence in worldly callings or vocations" and the notion of…show more content…
Weber argues that this ethic helped foster developments in both the division of labor and capitalism. Until the emergence of the ethic and its faithful, says Weber, "No genuine religion of salvation has overcome the tension between . . . religiosity and a rational economy." But Protestantism broke this tension by helping to organize and regularize work as one of God's ways to test the individual's response to grace (Weber). Although this theory may not fully explain how two vastly different social systems--religion and economics--could be deeply interconnected, it does point to some fundamental links. Two especially important links involve the Protestant notions of calling and predestination. By the notion of calling Weber refers to the "obligations imposed upon the individual by his position in the world" (Weber). In other words, callings are the responsibilities and professions in our lives. But an important Protestant belief was that, being assigned by God, callings were not matters of individual choice alone. In the early eighteenth century it was thought that every person's employment was influenced by God's call (Pauck 136); it was largely a matter of divine providence. According to one Puritan clergyman, "God doth call every man and woman …to serve him in some peculiar employment in this world both for their own and the common good" (qtd. in Tawney
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