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date: 30 November 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Distinguished by extreme, systematized rationalism, Weber argued, bourgeois culture makes the social world in some ways more predictable and more comfortable but precludes a widely shared good life and social justice. He stressed emphatically that free-market capitalism, by maximizing formal rationality oriented to capital accounting and profitability, produces substantively “irrational” consequences that undermine the sociocultural and material fabric needed to sustain it. More than forty years of neoliberal restructuring, designed to accelerate capital accumulation at almost any cost, has generated massive corporate scandals, extreme economic inequalities, and global environmental problems that threaten its political legitimacy and social and ecological foundations. This chapter explores how Weber anticipated the types of substantive irrationalities suffered by today’s neoliberal regimes.

Keywords: bourgeois culture, Protestant ethic, spirit of capitalism, free-market capitalism, adventure capitalist, neoliberalism, plutocracy, climate change

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