Theories on Culture
Every culture has differences, as shown in Human, a film by Yann Arthus-Bertrand. Each individual has their own needs, goals, and hardships. Proving we all have the ability to create, to preserve, and to evolve. However, vast economic inequality creates winners and losers. For the global South, the terms of the global market are not in the interests of preservation of humanity. Instead, as Emmanuel Wallerstein suggests, nations with lower gross domestic product are economically dependent on the top producing countries.
In many instances, Neocolonialism still holds a firm grasp on development efforts in poor countries. If we focused on localization and created trade networks through social media channels, societies could have the ability to focus on preserving their heritage through economic growth. There are various factors working against heritage preservation, but with the rise of the information age, one of the biggest factors is that heritage preservation efforts have almost no way of accumulating any capital. In terms of heritage arts, they simply cannot be produced without any demand.
Max Weber’s Theories
Max Weber spent his life analyzing capitalism. As he grew out of the industrial revolution, he had witnessed the aristocracies of his time, as he watched them be replaced by the bosses of the new capitalist economic system. He believed the spirit of capitalism was a direct result of Protestantism and Calvinism. He viewed followers of these religions as bearing an immense amount of shame, assuming anxious positions to please the judging eye of a silent monolith. Weber’s writings on the Protestant Work Ethic stated that Protestants value working hard as a way to please their god. This ideology translates into Protestants working continuously; earnest to prove their holiness.
Protestantism blend in Capitalism
Unlike Catholics, Protestants believed any profession could be holy. As long as it is done “in the name of God”, and with a lot of hard work. Weber viewed these ideologies, along with the Protestant belief that there are no miracles. The perfect concoction for capitalism to take root. Through hard work, and the absence of miracles, people began to rely more heavily on science. This led to breakthroughs in technology, which furthered industrialization and the ability to make more products faster. In time, this process created consumerism in humans. As well as climate degradation on the Earth. One can see an obvious path back to Weber’s analysis.
If Weber were alive today, he would undoubtedly argue against economic foreign aid. He would argue that economic capitalist intervention will never work in societies with traditionally different societal structures and religions. Could this be true? Research suggests societies without this inherent anxiousness, one may not adapt well to capitalism. In fact, societies dictated by any strict religious principles other than Protestantism, would probably not achieve capitalism with the same amount of economic “success”. However, in order to view the U.S. version of capitalism as successful, one must disregard the countless lives lost to the industrialization of peripheral countries.
Modern Take on Capitalism
In Thomas Piketty’s, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, he states, “Modern economic growth and the diffusion of knowledge have made it possible to avoid the Marxist apocalypse but have not modified the deep structures of capital and inequality—or in any case not as much as one might have imagined in the optimistic decades following World War II.”
I agree with this point about the diffusion of knowledge. In fact, without the internet completely changing the landscape of the global market, one could theorize that the downfall of capitalism would have already happened. Yet it will be our adaptability, and willingness to evolve, that will save or destroy nations on the brink of change.
Currently, our society can easily relate to the research and predictions of Marx and Weber. Marx offered a fair prediction of consumerism and it’s hold on society. Our proof he was right lies in the countless brawls of Black Friday sales, and the “fashion hauls” of white teenage girls on Youtube.com. However, the real question remains; how does this negatively effect our human qualities? Since it is proven that some people are so poor, all they have is money, is it too late to stop consuming?
“Frugality is founded on the principal that all riches have limits.”