By John R. Love
This formidable booklet addresses questions referring to an previous subject - the increase and fall of historic civilization - yet does so from a particular theoretical point of view via taking its lead from the paintings of the nice German sociologist Max Weber.
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Additional resources for Antiquity and Capitalism: Max Weber and the Sociological Foundations of Roman Civilization
In the context of the present work, this later book by Weber is of particular interest because it marks his first serious excursion into the new discipline of sociology; despite their originality, his earlier pieces had essentially remained within the framework of conventional historical analysis. The Agrarian Sociology is noteworthy for the extended theoretical discussion of the economic character of antiquity with which it opens. Thus, in what follows we shall be primarily concerned with the longish Introduction to the work where this is chiefly contained.
Ra Rather than being primarily oriented to the market and the satisfaction of consumption needs, the profits of political capitalism are dependent on opportunities arising directly in the political domain. , private ownership of the means of production is ultimately secured by the coercive power of the state), whereas ‘predatory incomes and related modes of acquisition are the return on actual violence’. 54 Thus, there can be no question that the theory of political capitalism must entail a rejection of any view that defines capitalism solely in terms of commercial, market- Max weber and the theory of ancient capitalism 37 oriented exchange.
42 In Weber’s view, on the contrary, capital by its very nature is indifferent to the social characteristics of labour. But this position seems no less arbitrary than that Weber attacks; for it merely asserts, as if it were a self-evident truth, that the concept of capitalism must take only economic factors into consideration. Weber’s dogmatism here arises from his desire to reconcile two assumptions about capitalism and antiquity which are at first sight in contradiction. On the one hand, he wishes to counter the view (espoused by Marx amongst others) that capitalism is utterly unique to the modern world.
Antiquity and Capitalism: Max Weber and the Sociological Foundations of Roman Civilization by John R. Love