Marx and Weber

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Although there were several differences between Marx and Weber, their most important point of

view shared in modern capitalism is the fact that impersonal objects replace personal relations of

dependence. In this essay I will discuss Marx's central question, his method of historical analysis and

his concept of class, class struggle. With Weber, I will also discuss his central question, his method of

'verstehen,' why his questions of are important to the foundations of sociology and the central point in

“ The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.”

Marx's central question was “why has the modern revolution not led to a better life for the

masses? According to Marx, class struggle is the catalyst for social change, and is what moves history.

Using dialectic analysis, Marx found that bourgeoisie are locked in conflict with the proletariat.

Dialectic analysis insists that in order to understand the nature of things, it is extremely important to see

them interconnect with other things within a larger totality. In this case, Marx's dialects outlined two

central theories: surplus value and the materialist conceptions of history.

Ideology is a system of ideas and ideals, especially on that forms the basis of economic or

political policy. The function of ideology using Marx's perspective would be that continual

reproduction of the means of production. This, in turn, ensures the continuous dominance of the ruling


Weber's overarching question was “why do rational rules result in a double-bind? Verstehen or

“interpretive understanding” is a method of empathy that relies on the sociologist's ability to

subjectively understand the meanings and motives of th...

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...ling' in modern society, it is still

important to study Weber. His thinking about the nature of developments like rationalizations in the

modern Western world led to the development of critical theory, which remains a vital philosophical

tradition in normative discipline of social and political philosophy.

Although I cannot say I completely understood Marx's ad Weber's point of view regarding

capitalism, I think I have a bit of understanding with the 'iron cage.' To me, Weber's 'iron cage' refers to

the increased rationalization of social life in Western capitalist societies, which traps individuals in

systems bases on goal/purpose efficiency, rational calculations and control. In the view of modernity, I

think Marx would stand by his words regarding alienation and push for a revolution that would dispose

of all social 'classes.”
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