Evolution Of Society Jeffrey Dachman Sociology 485 Rubenstein 9/12/00 The Evolution of Society During the time of the feudal system, the government was at a standstill. The Catholic Church had the final word on how things would work. People were born into a certain role in life, and there was nothing the citizens could do about it. The king ruled over everyone, the lords over the knights, and the knights over the serfs. This all changed through the works of Martin Luther.
Martin Luther was the man who started the religions of Protestantism. He was a member of one of the Christian churches deriving from the Reformation. The Reformation started in the 16th century when Martin Luther came to the Catholic Church and challenged their rule. He thought that people should be able to increase their production in life. The fact is they were able to work because that is what G-d wanted them to do, and also to be able to make money because this was a sign of grace.
Max Weber explains the resulting Protestant Ethic in his book The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism in which he shows how the Protestant reformation changed our society into the capitalistic regime it is today. Everything was stable in the Catholic regime. People had their jobs. People would grow up knowing they would be a locksmith or a shoe man, and that was the job that they accomplished. No locksmith made more than any other locksmith though.
The Catholic Church found it sinful to make more of a profit than anyone else in the industry. If a carpenter decided to raise his cost one-day the Catholic Church would reprimand them. If a shoe man decided he would open an hour early and close an hour late this was also looked upon in shame. This was a rigid society in which people could not achieve more even if they wanted to, because their lives were predetermined. Remember, time is money.
He that can earn ten shillings a day by his labour, and goes abroad, or sits idle, one half of that day, though he spends but sixpence during his diversion or idleness, ought not to reckon that only expense; he has really spent, or rather thrown away, five shillings besides(48). This was a problem for many people in traditional times. Time is money, and if people are not allowed to work longer, or work on days when others dont, like on a Sunday, then they are not making money. Throughout history one man will always try to beat the rest. It was shameful in traditionalistic views but that is what capitalistic society preaches to us. Work as hard as they can and they will make more than everyone else.
If a man could work seven days a week at ten hours a day to make more than the man that works nine hours a day than he would. Why was it so hard for traditionalistic views to be changed into capitalism? Capitalism violates many human sensibilities in many ways. It violates some of our natural attitudes, provokes criticism, and troubles many people. For the medieval Catholic, purpose in this life is for salvation in the next. The Protestant said people could work in this world and use it for salvation in the next world.
There was a virtue in amassing wealth. Work for the sake of work. Weber identifies the key turning point in the change of views of Martin Luther. Martin Luther came up with the doctrine of ones calling. He looked at ordinary work as a task set by G-d.
The absolutely essential feeling of obligation to ones job, and a cool self-control and frugality which enormously increase performance provides the most favourable foundation for the conception of labour as an end in itself, as a calling which is necessary to capitalism (63). People dont have to work because they want to. It is a task set by G-d Himself. Work had this religious value to it, and a big problem with capitalism was the fact that medieval Catholics looked at the idea of capitalism as evil. Anyone who makes a profit without accomplishing any manual labor is committing a sin. The medieval Catholics looked upon merchants and money loaners as illegitimate.
They were being rewarded for no good reason. This also led to the birth of the middle class, which also challenged feudalism. According to John Calvin, who was the man who devised Calvinism, which came out of Protestantism believed that All creation, including of course the fact, as it undoubtedly was for Calvin, that only a small proportion of men are chosen for eternal grace, can have any meaning only as means to the glory and majesty of God. To apply earthly standards of justice to His sovereign decrees is meaningless and an insult to His Majesty, since He and He alone is free, i.e. is subject to no law (103). Not every man in this world is going to live a glorious life after death.
No man can escape the law of his present life. Work as they can, live their lives now and be free, because when they pass on it may be all over. Calvinists thought they were the chosen people. They lived their lives looking at predestination. What this means is that they believed their lives were determined before they were born.
If a man grew up to be successful then this was a way of saying that they have been blessed by G-d. Everyone wanted to be looked at as being accepted by G-d so everybody worked the best that they could so they would be chosen by G-d. If someone were not successful, this would create great anxiety. Calvinism was a very religious version of Protestantism. Work for G-d because work gives the people a way to better themselves, and money was G-ds way of assigning grace.
If theyre doing well its because theyre blessed by G-d. What is the problem with capitalism? Why was it looked down upon? The capitalistic world is an evil one. Out of the seven deadly sins: lust, …