chapter  2
Capitalism and alienation
Marx and Weber
Pages 21

This chapter begins by looking at Marx's and Weber's theories of capitalism. Both are engaged in understanding capitalism as an economic system that characterises and dominates the society they live in. They see capitalism as a historically developed economic system, but find the roots of capitalism in different places. Weber claims that capitalism has religious roots, whereas Marx understands it in relation to a general theory of historical development, known as historical materialism. Weber links the rise of capitalism to the spread of Protestantism, more specifically Calvinism. The chapter looks at the main focal points of Marx's writings: alienation, historical materialism and economic critique. The distinction between methodological individualism and holism and between the historical-materialistic and ideal typical method has occasionally led to unproductive oppositions between Marx and Weber. The differences between Marx's and Weber's analyses of capitalism are often represented in terms of a difference between ideas and matter.