Key Question
Max Weber's Interest in Studying Capitalism
A key question for Max Weber, at least in his early works, was the following:
Why should the same economic development that is capitalism have a more authoritarian nature in one state than elsewhere. The only form of modernization at the time, capitalism was interesting for Weber because it was a universal economic trend proceeding under differing circumstances, such as liberal and authoritarian, in different nations, such as Britain and Germany. Why?
The question and its answer form a fundamental part of Weberian theory.
It's important to come to grips with how Weber accounted for why capitalism had a more authoritarian nature in Germany and other places in Central Europe than it did elsewhere, such as in the United States and Britain.
In addition, Weber saw that Germany was becoming increasingly modern, and that this modernity was forcing changes among the people. This led him to become concerned with the nature of industrial society and the humanity of the individual within it. Weber believed that the humanity of the individual within modern industrial society was being obliterated.
More: Weber was interested in not only the fate of humanity but also the fate of humanity within the modern German Nation-State as it was being transformed by political revolution and industrialization into a modern nation. What, Weber might ask, is the future for the individual within this emerging modern state?
What forms of political systems are the new modernized nations compatible with -- democracy, authoritarianism, monarchy?
Weber's also concerned with the increasing bureaucratization of life.