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Capitalism and religion

Sociological Theory

Religion has got been cornerstone of formation and conflict of societies, where both perspectives generate a significant contribution to our knowledge of culture. This essay will compare and contrast a structuralist and interpretivist stance on the impact of religion on world, the theorists that will be employed happen to be Karl Marx and Max Weber. Max Weber’s main analysis of faith helped in creating the spirit if capitalism depicted by Protestantism where in fact the ideal is normally to live a successful existence (Roberts, 2003). Marx who hails from the positivist point of view, whom believes that capitalism has got suppressed the individual from life meaning, leading to alienation where religion offers a means to escape. The partnership between a capitalist driven economy and faith will be examined; I hope to understand how people are viewed within society and how they derive meaning today.

Karl Marx was created 1818-1883, in Trier Germany, his work was best described as "combined monetary theory with political agitation," because of his free thinking composing, he was ostracised from both Germany and France. Marx collaborated with Engels a fellow pupil and where his writings predominantly contain a positivist, structuralist procedure. Marx classifies culture in two main teams- the bourgeois and the operating school (Marx & Engels, 1996). Marx composed his literature at the same time during a dramatic change in world which was marked by the Industrial Revolution. Personally i think his theory at times, limits personal firm where he regards persons as rigid within culture and staying compliant to regulations, in concern with job loss. His supporting analysis informs us of the true reality of existence in England in natural cotton factories and coal mines. People as well as children were likely to work long hard days and nights enduring up to twelve time, in scorching sweaty mills where mortality rates were high due to illnesses such as for example pneumonia (Marx 1996). Coal mines caused many deaths, where personal protection was irrelevant. People were treated poorly and the fear of being substituted if incompliant with factory rules, this in consequence benefits in alienation (Marx, 1996).

This is still evident in the twentieth century specifically in developing countries. For example twenty five children were employed to create Apple products like the i-phone, i-pods, pcs etc. It is obvious that Apple can be ignorant to the wellbeing of their staff as "62 personnel at a factory that manufactures products for Apple and Nokia have been poisoned by n-hexane, a toxic chemical substance that can cause muscular degeneration and blur eyesight." (Telegraph, 2010). I assume that this is a pivotal exemplory case of Marx perspective, factories that will be located in fairly impoverished countries (Singapore, Thailand,) have little if any regulations for these transnational companies. Personally i think that the government are in a loss as they depend on this business to boost economic standards and are therefore manipulated by the bourgeoisie (Telegraph, 2010).

Marx also describes "the capitalist setting of production" where we understand the system which is put in place order to develop an economy. For instance, a worker offers offerings and the employer offers purchase work in return (Marx, 1996). Marx takes the stance that "labour appears to be a commodity to the dog owner," which develops the view that we are controlled for part of our lives by Capitalist groupings (Marx, p.30 1996). Likewise the labourer must interact with the bourgeoisie for personal continuation by buying make (Marx, 1996). Marx referred to these as "the bourgeoisie" whom have got the dominance and so are the "owners of sociable production and companies of wage labour" (Marx & Engels, p.37-38, 1996). He dehumanised this category regarding their activity as changing "personal worthy of into exchange worth" by having one’s personal living dependent upon how much you acquired (Marx and Engels, p.35 1986). Nowadays, this relates to transnational companies where they can position themselves in virtually any nation and manipulates the government’s tax incentives. Marx provides a concise impact of what sort of dramatic change can include on mental health which includes been evident recently particularly in Ireland. Individuals sensed instability within the market resulting in more strain and the realisation to be replaceable within the workforce. As an illustration, Dell a computer organization moved to Poland consequently of cheaper labour, despite the fact that Ireland is usually recognised for having a professional and educated workforce.

All these processes produce ambiguity and alienation for the individual, and religion offers a means to make you feel meaningful and a method of escape. Marx is certainly denoted for "epicurean philosophy" where he persisted that persons do not tend to question their beliefs but to comply with them to be able to attain tranquillity for his or her well being (Marx & Engels, p. 1975). Marx stressed that heavenly bodies provide an ideal for people and thus become internalised with the conviction. Marx is crucial of Epicurus perspective of spirituality, there would not be "anxiety and dilemma of man," and if everything was eternal we’d be open to superstition and myths (Marx & Engels, p.72 1975). Marx argues that religion avoids fact and mother nature, where he believes that there surely is no after life; alternatively it is utilized by society as a way of coping. There will be utter despair if mother nature was to confirm death only, without afterlife, leading to persons to look and feel of "beings worth nothing to speak of" (Marx and Engels, p.75, 1975). It possesses practical implications, the cherished types of the dead are comforted and much more likely to go on with greater convenience and therefore assists a capitalist culture. I feel that Marx is normally supreme at explaining how a person might use religion in instances of despair. Marx illustrated where a network whom perished to death, the soil where the disaster happened was blessed with rain and became fertile featuring the very best of food for the next generation (Marx & Engels, 1975).

In relation to modern day, Marx provides an explanation of why the Catholic Church was so powerful in the the 1960 to the 80’s. In reflection, we had been in the depths of major depression with high levels of immigration and unemployment. As a result of low standard of living and poverty stricken family members, religion provided a way of get away for the lay persons where in fact the goal of attaining a place in heaven through devotion and prayer was supreme. One could ask whether there was a rise in the church’s dominance in times of the recent recession however, spirituality may have been likely to increase, on the other hand church scandals has avoided this.

There is an emphasis by Marx that one’s personal God must be internalised. He has an insightful approach how persons perceive alternate religions. The religious fans of a different religion are considered to "suffer from fantasises and abstractions" where a "particular country is certainly for particular alien Gods" (Marx and Engels, p.104, 1975). Marx’s work is still applicable today where this point of view can describe sectarianism in Northern Ireland. However Marx will not go directly into detail in relation to the interaction of the point out and religious beliefs, unlike Weber who stressed that there was an element of interpersonal control and cultural beliefs which are manifested in the phenomenon.

Max Weber who was born in Germany in 1864, an analysis of Weber do the job recommends that his "head…continuously growing through his intellectually successful life" (Parsons, 1964). Weber has got been widely regarded as rational and pessimistic, as all compositions scrutinise contemporary society. Weber orientated from the institution of interpretivism, created in response to structuralism. I generally prefer this interpretivist stance as the average person is comprehended within the contextual setting up and meaning comes from. Weber is crucial of the positivist approach as it is thought to isolate persons by asking them about social life rather than participating in the contextual setting. Consequently we are kept with the issues and inequalities which can’t be motivated (Eldridge, 1972). Furthermore we make decisions based on the options avaiable to us and appear to end up being meaningful (Eldridge, 1972). He explained that those whom act in social condition have both meant and unintended reactions consequently (Eldridge, 1972).Weber’s statements of theory are constantly supported by his "perspective of history" leading to society’s representation of an iron cage. I am keen of this reference to culture as Weber paints a world where we often replicate the blunders of the past.

Weber’s examination of capitalism was outlined by his book The Protestant Ethic and Spirit of Capitalism. Weber thought that religious institutions give a foundation

for a capitalist society. The basis of Weber’s work centred on Protestantism in Germany, he made reference to the "spiritual revolution" in the sixteenth century, looking specifically at the Puritan ideology (Baehr & Wells, 2002). There is an focus on "psychological forces" specifically in religious beliefs, where we look for reassurance in lifestyle, by evaluating ourselves to an excellent so not to exist in an unsystematic approach (Baehr & Wells, p.xxxviii 2002).

Weber literature identifies the rationalization of culture, we turn from customary practices and brand-new regulations are adapted where it is deemed to be more logical and efficient. He relates this to bureaucracy and the expansion of capitalism. Many of us are unaware of this capitalism that Weber talks about, we happen to be socialised within the phenomenon and must become aware of the "iron cage" which is embedded in our civilization (Lippman & Aldrich, p.134, 2003). Weber’s writing has long been misinterpreted, possibly because of his highly academic composing. Ritzer takes Weber’s point of view but composes in a manner that is accessible to comprehend and he utilize the fast food organization Mc Donald’s as a template for his argument, coining the word "Mc Donaldization" (Lippman & Aldrich, 2003).

Weber reverted back again to Protestant core beliefs that have been centred on having a good function ethic (Lehmann and Roth, 1993). This resulted in a stereotype of being "industrious" and viewed as the "nature of the persons" (Lehmann & Roth, p. 66, 1993). Weber offered a rational analysis of every religion, highly relevant to Germany at that time. Protestantism centres around proving oneself, Calvinism caused stress and anxiety within followers as they had to establish their faith by being devote. In comparison Catholicism incorporated pressure tips as one could discharge any sins during the course of the year (Baehr & Wells, 2002). During his writings, Catholics in Germany sensed disempowered as Protestants seemed more likely to attain, which created political agitation. This is also seen in Kashmir where Hindus placed almost all and Muslim’s felt they might lose governance, which led to many innocent civilians dying and needing to relocate within their designated area.

One of Weber’s primary concepts is social action; this is thought to be the interaction with another and "meaningfully oriented" (Weber & Parsons, p.113 1964). Weber elaborated on the types of social action, the first is known as means-end linked to one getting motivated to complete a goal for the outcome. Social action can be quite a result of behavior or being emotionally regular (Parsons, 1978). The ultimate www.testmyprep.com explanation is acting due to a strong belief with linked meaning and the consequence is definitely irrelevant. For instance, the Evangelist church demonstrates intense beliefs on the devotees particularly kids and have an impact on their perception of the environment. A documentary outlined the unorthodox reasoning used on followers. For instance a mom in the documentary was documented telling her child that there surely is no such thing as global warming, simply being present in the world until God would like us (Jesus Camp, 2007).

The religious framework is hierarchical and an explanation of how social category will probably oppress, providing a great for fellow lay males. Weber requires a more rational approach than Marx, he outlines the inequalities which are evident in community religions. Weber described the bureaucracy instilled in religious beliefs in which a religious devotee will need to have "charisma" acquiring a definite quality to participate (Turner, 1996). As an illustration the caste program works in Hinduism, you will be born right into a particular class in both religion and society. Weber’s main concept of capitalism can be applied as the features of the society happen to be fulfilled. Weber argued that there surely is a "stratification of charismatic potential," people are categorised according with their commitment to a religious beliefs (Turner, p. 114, 1996). For instance Catholic rituals show inclination for many who have possession of "athletic, mathematical or musical talents" (Turner, p.114, 1996). Weber is usually competent in the fact that faith is hierarchical and linked to social status as it seems more innate to get a high standing member of society in an extremely ranked position within the church. That is also known as "spiritual inequality" where folks are differentiated after their beliefs where some enjoy a higher role in religion than others (Turner, p. 112 1996). Weber likewise backs his findings up by seeking at Christianity, Judaism and Buddhism. This religion started in the fact that Muhammad was a Prince before he gave up this to devote his life to salvation. Weber likewise makes reference to that Muhammad’s teaching of salvation "globe domination and interpersonal prestige" are linked to the army’s values (Turner, p. 110 1996). This stratification can be within Judaism as the Torah declares that every man should commit himself to prayer yet only a go for few can in fact do this as a result of their finances (Turner, 1996).

The important distinction between both perspectives is certainly Marx believes that disempowered individuals escape alienation and hook up with a greater power, heaven will give a person salvation and features as a way of coping. In comparison Weber is critical of the framework of faith as he indicated the inequality which is existent in the system. Weber stresses the conversation between your religious institutions and contemporary society, as it provides a foundation for capitalism. I feel Weber’s research is extra indepth particularly in his analysis of globe religions as he validates his principles in a larger basis. The main reason why he went in to such details on these religions was due to World War II Weber could be thought of being pessimistic, yet criticism can bring about switch. Weber takes the strategy of understanding the result it has on the average person, but as well on the collective group. Since religion is based on one’s beliefs, gaining understanding of this meaningful action is necessary. Marx additional emphasis the techniques and functions of religious beliefs.

I generally would be additional orientated toward Weber, as I favor the interpretivist stance by understanding behaviour and the complexity of our world. For example Marx is general in how structures and teams interact and conflict with each other. In comparison Weber recognises that people are motivated triggering both anticipated and unanticipated effects. Many have referred to his writing just as pessimistic where he hardly ever outlined a progression of culture or ‘happy closing’ unlike Marx. Marx believed communism was a means to create a harmonious society and be an alternative to global capitalism. It would evolve from the "proletariat world" who maintain their individual subsistence (Marxists.org 2010).

Overall both show a clear knowledge of the world, Personally i think it is necessary to blend both approaches to gain full knowledge of capitalism and religion. For example I remain compliant to one theory it may cause ignorance of another part of social fact. There is clear evidence that capitalism and faith both interact with one another, and these theories are still relevant to present day.

References

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  • Jesus Camp, 2007 [film] Directed by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady USA: Magnolia Pictures.
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  • Turner, B., (1996) For Weber- Essay on the Sociology of Fate. 2nd Ed., London: Sage Publications
  • Weber, M., Baehr, P., R., & Wells, G., C., (2002 www.testmyprep.com). The Protestant ethic and the "spirit" of capitalism and other writings. [e-book] Penguin Books, New York. Offered by Google Books http://books.google.ie/books?id=5iQCF3I1jmIC&printsec=frontcover&dq=weber+and+capitalism&cd=9#v=onepage&q=&f=false [Accessed on the 22nd of March, 2010].
  • Weber, M. & Eldridge J. E. T. ed (1975) An Interpretation of Max Weber. New York: Nelson.
  • Weber M., & Parsons, T., (1964). The idea of Social and Economic Organisation. NY: The Free Press.
  • Wolff, J., (2002) Why read Marx Today? NY: Oxford University Press
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