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Would Max Weber's thoughts on the correlations between Protestant cultures and...

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nattergal | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 12, 2012 at 1:32 AM via web

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Would Max Weber's thoughts on the correlations between Protestant cultures and capitalism still be relevant in present time?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 12, 2012 at 1:56 AM (Answer #1)

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Weber's ideas are relevant in two ways today.

First, they can still be used (if one is persuaded by them) to explain some of the differences between "North" countries and "South" countries.  It is still true that predominantly Protestant countries (Germany, the UK, the United States) are better off than predominantly Catholic countries (Spain, Portugal, Mexico).  Weber's idea might be used to account, in part, for this phenomenon.

Second, the basic assumption that underlies Weber's idea can still have relevance.  This is the assumption that a society's culture affects the degree to which it can succeed economically.  This assumption can be used to help explain why, for example, countries like Japan and Singapore have become more advanced than countries like Indonesia or Vietnam.  We can use Weber's assumption to argue that their culture (even if it is not exactly Protestant) has values that encourage capitalism while other societies' cultures do not have such values.

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