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As soteriologically conceived in relation to salvation, works are spiritual activities that call for obedience to the Law.
In their article, "In Search of the Spirit of Capitalism: Weber's Misinterpre tation of Franklin," Tony Dickson and Hugh Mc Lachlan disagree with Weber that Franklin was talking about an ethic in the selection quoted above.
"Far from demonstrating a commitment to the 'spirit of capitalism,' and the accumulation of wealth as an end in itself and moral duty, Franklin's writings are in fact evidence against the existence of such a spirit." Dickson and Mc Lachlan point out that the title of the work from which Weber quoted is "Necessary Hints to Those That Would Be Rich." They assert, "This suggests that what Franklin is offering is prudential advice, rather than insisting on a moral imperative." The gist of Dickson's and Mc Lachlan's argument is that Weber misinterpreted Franklin's writings as moral ends when they were simply virtues to be practiced because of the benefits they will bring to those who practice them.
During the long 16th century, this spirit became embodied in European society and provided the impetus for capitalism to emerge as the dominant economic system in the world.
For Weber, capitalism was more than simply an accumulation of wealth. In fact, Weber insisted that capitalism was the triumph of rationality over tradition.
The repercussions have echoed throughout the academic world for almost 100 years and continue today.
This paper will take a look at some of the criticisms of Weber's capitalism/protestantism theory from various points of view.
Using the Westminster Confession as his primary source, Mac Kinnon explains what the term "calling" meant to the Calvinists: There is a heavenly calling and an earthly calling or callings, the latter disqualified from making a positive contribution to our deliver ance. Believers are sanctioned to "choose that employment or calling in which you may be most serviceable to God.
Choose not that in which you may be most honorable in the world; but that which you may do most good and best escape sinning." Mac Kinnon concludes by stating that it was Weber's misfortune to choose part of the Calvinist philosophy which, upon close examination, not only fails to support Weber's thesis but in fact undermines it.
The Protestant Ethic spawned and encouraged what Weber called the "spirit of capitalism." By Weber's definition, this is more than simply capitalist activity.
It is, in fact, the essence which underlies the economic system.