One of Weber’s major arguments is that the modern world is one in which rationalization has become dominant. Rationalization is a process by which all aspects of life come to be controlled by rules rather than by things like personal ties. In pre-rationalized systems, for example, if you wanted permission to build a house, you would hope that you had ties to the officials who could give permission. If you had no such ties, they might not give you the necessary permission or might demand a bribe. With rationalization, this process would come to be controlled by rules. No matter who you are, in a rationalized system you can have permission to build your house if and only if you are in compliance with all of the rules.
Rationalization is said to have started with the Protestants. They felt that things should be done in a rational and systematic way. In fact, they felt that doing things in that way was morally superior. As the world of work became more rationalized, other parts of life got to be that way as well. Our entire society came to be typified by bureaucracy and rules rather than by relationships based on personal ties.