German Sociologist Max Weber (1864 – 1920). Only with with Protestant rationalism could come capitalism. Following, Ernest Wolf-Gazo uses Faust to contrast the spirits of civilizations.
“Weber maintains that rationalism was prevalent in Confucian as well as Islamic civilization, but it was of a different kind or type of rationality than the one emerging out of the puritan ascetic Christian lifestyle (the German lebenfuehrung is more descriptive and apt at this point). It was the type of rationality that confronted the cosmos and transformed it into the laws of nature by the transcendental subject as scientific researcher. Hindu and Islamic civilizations found deistic powers in form of monotheism and godly spirits, but left nature to its natural processes and works. There was not an attempt at usurping a higher power in the figure of Dr. Faustus. Could we imagine an Islamic Faust? No, it was a specific puritan ethos of Calvinist Christian denomination that laid the foundation for a systematic rationalist approach to social, political, economic, and religious life emerging from western Europe. In that sense we can say, it was not a better rationality, but very different in intention and nature from the rest of emerging civilizations.”“Weber and Islam” by Ernest Wolf-GazoISIM REVIEW 16 / AUTUMN 2005. The International Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World (ISIM)https://openaccess.leidenuniv.nl/handle/1887/10076
In The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Weber put forward the thesis that Calvinist ethic and ideas influenced the development of capitalism. He noted the post-Reformation shift of Europe’s economic centre away from Catholic countries such as France, Spain and Italy, and toward Protestant countries such as the Netherlands, England, Scotland and Germany. Weber also noted that societies having more Protestants were those with a more highly developed capitalist economy. Similarly, in societies with different religions, most successful business leaders were Protestant. Weber thus argued that Roman Catholicism impeded the development of the capitalist economy in the West, as did other religions such as Confucianism and Buddhism elsewhere in the world.
“The development of the concept of the calling quickly gave to the modern entrepreneur a fabulously clear conscience – and also industrious workers; he gave to his employees as the wages of their ascetic devotion to the calling and of co-operation in his ruthless exploitation of them through capitalism the prospect of eternal salvation.” —Max Weber
Christian religious devotion had historically been accompanied by rejection of mundane affairs, including economic pursuit. Weber showed that certain types of Protestantism – notably Calvinism – were supportive of rational pursuit of economic gain and worldly activities dedicated to it, seeing them as endowed with moral and spiritual significance. Weber argued that there were many reasons to look for the origins of modern capitalism in the religious ideas of the Reformation. In particular, the Protestant ethic (or more specifically, Calvinist ethic) motivated the believers to work hard, be successful in business and reinvest their profits in further development rather than frivolous pleasures. The notion of calling meant that each individual had to take action as an indication of their salvation; just being a member of the Church was not enough. Predestination also reduced agonising over economic inequality and further, it meant that a material wealth could be taken as a sign of salvation in the afterlife. The believers thus justified pursuit of profit with religion, as instead of being fuelled by morally suspect greed or ambition, their actions were motivated by a highly moral and respected philosophy. This Weber called the “spirit of capitalism”: it was the Protestant religious ideology that was behind – and inevitably led to – the capitalist economic system. This theory is often viewed as a reversal of Marx’s thesis that the economic “base” of society determines all other aspects of it.