Aspects of the Rise of Economic Individualism: A Criticism of Max Weber and His School

Aspects of the Rise of Economic Individualism: A Criticism of Max Weber and His School

Aspects of the Rise of Economic Individualism: A Criticism of Max Weber and His School

Aspects of the Rise of Economic Individualism: A Criticism of Max Weber and His School

Excerpt

This book is an attempt to provide a more realistic treatment than has been found hitherto of a topic which has of late years been widely discussed. It is an attempt to use a historical instead of a sociological method to solve historical problems. It was first written in 1928-9 as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the University of Cambridge, from material mostly collected during the tenure of a research studentship at Emmanuel College. It was written in such leisure time as I was able to afford while lecturing at the University of Leeds, and has now been revised and rewritten in leisure moments at Cape Town. Access to libraries has been a little difficult during the actual period of writing, and I am conscious that there are some gaps in my bibliography. I regret especially my non-access to certain German works and Continental periodicals. Despite this, I venture to claim that my essay does make some new contributions to the literature of the subject.

My indebtedness in matters of detail is acknowledged in the appropriate footnotes. But I should like here to acknowledge some major indebtednesses and thank those who have played a leading part in my work. To Dr Maud Sellers, who gave me my early training, I owe whatever merit I may possess as an economic historian. I have gained much from contact with my supervisor of studies, Mr F. R. Salter, with my tutor, Mr E. Welbourne, with Dr G. G. Coulton, with Professor R. H. Tawney, with Professor J. H. Jones and with Principal J. F. Rees. Dr H. F. Stewart very kindly lent me a rare book of Jesuit casuistry. I am also tempted to add the names of the late Professor Unwin and of Professor Henri Pirenne, whose influence on my historical outlook has been so great that I cannot regard it in an impersonal light.

I regret that the work of Ernst Beins, Die Wirtschaftsethik der calvinistischen Kirche der Niederlande, 1565-1650, appeared . . .

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