(un)common ground

a commonplace book

Born Into Capitalism

The capitalistic economy…is an immense cosmos into which the individual is born, and which presents itself to him, at least as an individual, as an unalterable order of things in which he must live.

Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1905)

I like how Weber captures what ideology does to a person. You’re born into this “immense cosmos” without knowledge of anything else. It’s not that this “order of things” is actually unalterable, but it presents itself as natural and even universal–unalterable on principle. As Debord puts it, the spectacle, the ideology, this embodied worldview is the opposite of dialogue; it’s just the way things are.

But this conceptualization denies history, denies that things are in fact different in different places (though decreasingly so?). It seems to me that even if, after critical reflection, the individual here described comes to satisfaction with this order of things, it’s still better than going through life assuming it’s natural or best. (Not that such a case doesn’t have its own problems…)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on February 18, 2016 by and tagged , , .
%d bloggers like this: