General Economic History

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Overview

In General Economic History Max Weber focuses on the industrial enterprise for the provision of everyday wants, oriented toward profitability by means of rational capital accounting, as the institutional foundation of modern Western capitalism. This type of enterprise integrates into one institutional complex a constellation of six factors, including: formally free labor; free market trade; appropriation of the physical means of production; rational commercial practices; rational production of technology; and calculable law adjudicated and administered by the state. General Economic History traces the historical development of each of these factors from their informal rational points of origin through the feudal era to their emergence as formal rational elements in the modern capitalist industrial enterprise. The chapters on the history of modern citizenship and the modern rational state are of special significance as otherwise unavailable resources for an integrated view of Weber's work.

The new introduction by Ira J. Cohen is an original scholarly work of interest to all who study Max Weber's conception of modern Western capitalism.Theessay situates the institutional and cultural aspects of Weber's view of modern capitalism in the context of his overall vision of the emergence of formal rationality in the Western world. Both aspects of modern capitalism are shown to be defined by economic formal rationality, a type of orientation which is distinct from the legal formal rationality characteristic of Weber's conception of modern bureaucracy.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Max Weber (1864-1922) belongs to the German school of historical sociologists and ranks with Werner Sombart as a leading exponent of the historical development of social life…. The expression of a natural wish that Weber had actually written this book with his own hand must not be construed as ingratitude to the editors and students who, with commendable enterprise, took pains to pass on so much important and scholarly work to those who had not the privilege of hearing the lectures.”

—Alfred Plummer, The Economic Journal

“This volume contains a collection of lectures on economic history by Max Weber, who laboured for many years to fashion out a system of sociology and won the highest renown in Germany…. [S]o well worth study is this book that it must surely inspire its readers with the desire that Weber’s principal works should be also rendered into English.”

—R. F. Harrod, Journal of the Royal Institute of International Affairs

"The special student will find all manner of delight in the illuminating treatment of particular points. The general reader will plow through the book with increasing pleasure."

—Max Lerner

"Succinct and suggestive . . . will compel specialists to think."

London Times.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781602066878
  • Publisher: Cosimo
  • Publication date: 6/28/2007
  • Pages: 428
  • Sales rank: 1,160,285
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.95 (d)

Meet the Author

Max Weber (1864-1920) was one of the founders of contemporary social science and arguably the greatest influence on the evolution of sociology—its theory and historical linkages. His work focused on the areas of the history and theology of religion, political systems, and organizational theory and behavior. He studied at the University of Heidelberg followed by the University of Berlin. After completing his advanced studies, he became professor of economics first at Freiburg University and then at the University of Heidelberg.

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