Tuesday, February 10, 2009

What's My Calling?

A topic of great interest for me is the work Weber did on religion and its influences on modern social structures. In his text The Protestant Ethic and Spirit of Capitalism (Appelrouth & Edles, pp 154-165), he outlines the characteristics of Protestant Christianity and its direct relation to capitalism in contemporary society. He does not say that Protestantism is the cause of capitalism, but rather offered a breeding ground in which capitalism flourished (Appelrouth & Edles, pp 158; Allan, pp 51). Weber makes this point by offering that Protestantism presented the concept of a calling for all men, not just those of the clergy (Appelrouth & Eddles, pp158). For the time, the concept of a calling, in my belief was a marketing campaign aimed at the poor to affirm their status as workers and give them hope of entering the Kingdom of Heaven by continuing their work. Thus perpetuating the system and maintaining the status quo. Protestantism gives no indication that one must be good at their calling nor like what they are doing. So, if Protestant dogma preached , from the outset, that one was allowed to alter their own calling at any given time, how would that have effected Weber's theory of Protestantism and the Spirit of Capitalism?


  1. Do you think it would have led to even more accumulation of wealth? If we could keep switching jobs until we found the one we were best at, we could make even more money than if we continued at a job that we did not like and were not good at.

  2. It is interesting to see how the U.S., a country in which its government involves religion in its policies very frequently (i.e. G.W. Bush and his "direct contact" with God) blends easily with the essence of capitalism. By keeping all the workers under control, by implying that by doing the good thing (working honestly) this will lead them to "heaven" the government maintains the status quo and keeps them busy. The majority of the workers, especially in today's economy, prefer to keep their jobs and not complain about their salaries and their working conditions, instead of complaining and protesting. This is one effect of capitalism, keeping everybody "happy" with poor-paying jobs while the elite enjoy about the exploitation of the masses. But as previously mentioned, the proletariat prefer the status quo and go to heaven instead of demanding something better.

  3. People usually get "stuck" in a job for a lifetime since they need pay their bills. It is very difficult to find a job specially with pay similar to a job were you have been for several years. I also think you tend to get comfortable and it becomes difficult for you to leave. I don't think that switching jobs would be easy and ideal. I also don't think that it would accumulate more wealth because some jobs that people like are not money makers. Now, There are many different gods to different people depending on their view and perspectives. It is much like the pre modern view of reality. agree with Weber’s idea that Protestantism was the foundation for the rise of capitalism in the western world. The idea of authority and beliefs that Protestantism had was very influential in forming the ideal type of capitalism is today. You are judged by what you do and what you have without really knowing how you are as an individual. What is the American dream? Most people would agree that owning a nice home with a luxury car parked outside is what everyone wants. Is that right? Weber mentions that you must own property and work for your self in order to be independent. It is somewhat like Marx’s idea of alienation, since we all work for someone else and therefore do not own our own destiny. We have no idea what might happen to us in the future working for someone else and because of the economic crisis today might even get laid off because of the “owners” wanting to profit.