Max Weber: the "Iron Cage" & the Commercialization Model

Charles Brown CharlesB at
Fri Dec 8 09:41:08 MST 2000

>>> furuhashi.1 at 12/07/00 06:55PM >>>
Weber was a liberal pessimist (as well as nationalist).  Ellen Wood,
in essence, argues that the acceptance of the commercialization model


CB: Does Ellen Wood claim that Marx agrees with or disagrees with her on not accepting
the commercialization model ?    Does she think that Marx commits the error of  the
commercialization model ?


-- even in its more refined forms, like Weber's -- as the explanation
of the origin of capitalism tends to be tied up with the equation of
modernity with capitalist modernity as well as naturalization of
capitalism -- hence Weber's resignation in the face of the "Iron
Cage."  For he could not see why modernity could be exist otherwise,
that is, without capitalism.

Moreover, the acceptance of the commercialization model tends to
reproduce asceticism even in critiques of asceticism (like Weber's
remarks upon Puritanism).  It is no coincidence that Weber draws upon
Werner Sombart in his analysis of capitalism; recall that for
Sombart, the origins of capitalism lie in love and luxury among the
aristocracy & in towns.  While Weber differs from & criticizes
Sombart, their shared acceptance of the commercialization model
inclines both of them to ascetic attitudes of their own.


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