Archive for the ‘Weber’ Category
Despite their undeniable differences, Marx and Weber have much in common in their appraisals of modern capitalism: they share a vision of the capitalist economic system as a universe where “individuals are directed by abstractions,” (Marx), where impersonal relations and objects [Versachlicht] replace personal relations of dependence, and where the accumulation of capital becomes an end in itself and, by and large, irrational. Their analysis of capitalism is inseparable from a critical posture—explicit in Marx, more ambivalent in Weber. But the content and inspiration of the critique are very different. And, whereas Marx banks on the possibility of overthrowing capitalism by workers of socialist persuasion, Weber is a fatalistic and resigned observer to the mode of production and administration that seem to him to be inevitable.
While the meaning and possibility in modern times of democracy has been a central concern for Weber and Habermas, and both thinkers’ political theories have been the subject of several inquiries, there is a lack of comparative investigations on this particular subject. This may be surprising as Habermas is himself a Weberian scholar, and Weber has been one of his most important theoretical sources. Our first task will be to introduce the comparative literature on Weber and Habermas as thinkers of modern Parliamentary democracy. The democratic theories of these two authors will be then reconstructed; their ideological orientations outlined; and their conceptual definitions and theoretical propositions compared. This comparison, it is hoped, will not only fill a gap in the literature, but also contribute to contemporary democratic theory and political philosophy. This potential contribution will be dealt with in the last part of the article.