March 31st, 2003

Vexen Crabtree 2015

Max Weber wrote this in 1906...

From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology

Max Weber, by far the most famous and unsurpassed sociologist, who founded sociology, wrote about just about every subject under the sun. I hadn't realized before this year just how much of a great that this man was! Anyway... I took the following quote where he warns about some of the now well-recognized downfalls of commercialism. He wrote this 100 years ago and he certainly hasn't been proven wrong!

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"The opportunities for democracy and individualism would look very bad today were we to rely upon the lawful effects of material interests for their development. [...] In the American 'benevolent feudalism' [...] everywhere the house is ready-made for a new servitude. [It] will make the masses 'docile'. Then man will move into the house of servitude.
[...]
In the face of all this, those who constantly fear that in the world of the future too much democracy and individualism may exist and too little authority, aristocracy, esteem for office, or such like, may calm down.
[...]
It is utterly ridiculous to see any connection between the high capitalism of today - as it is now being imported into Russia and as it exists in America - with democracy or with freedom in any sense of these words. [...] The question is: how are freedom and democracy in the long run at all possible under the domination highly developed capitalism? Freedom and democracy are only possible where the resolute will of a nation not to allow itself to be ruled like sheep is permanently alive.
"

Russia probably deviated from his precise forecast due to varied outstanding circumstances. His warning about American capitalism has certainly held true, seemingly even as much as he feared, but more so, for much of Europe and the developed world is going the same way.