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Max Weber

Max Weber was a German philosopher that was known for his claim that ethical and political obligations had no rational foundation. He warned against the loss of freedom as a result of economic endeavors by ruling leaders. Max WeberIn contemplating the spread of capitalism, Max Weber posed the following question: “through what concatenation of circumstances did it come about that precisely, and only, in the Western world certain cultural phenomena emerged which, as at least we like to think, represent a direction of development of universal significance and validity?” Max Weber believed that the source of the popularity of capitalism in industrial Europe could be found within the cultural influences of the Western world.  Weber focused on the protestant ethic as the source of influence that spread industrial capitalism throughout Europe.

From Weber’s perspective, human societies provide evidence of a dual system of social stratification:  One system of stratification is based on economic class, the other is based on world views and life styles. Additionally, over and above the influence of class and status groups, Weber believed social orders develop into subgroups and strata with distinctive lifestyles and views of how the world operates.  Although he suggested that status, class and life style groupings may at times clash, he posited that is more common for group members to accept fairly standard patterns of subordination and domination. Weber believed that virtually every aspect of social (or communal) action was influenced by domination, which he termed “a special case of power.”  His main interest was in the legitimate forms of domination, which he termed authority, that is, the power to command and the duty to obey.

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