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By John R. Love

This formidable e-book addresses questions referring to an previous topic - the increase and fall of historical civilization - yet does so from a particular theoretical point of view by means of taking its lead from the paintings of the good German sociologist Max Weber.

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Additional info for Antiquity and Capitalism: Max Weber and the Sociological Foundations of Roman Civilization

Sample text

All these forms of capitalism relate to spoils, taxes, the pickings of office or official usury, and finally to tribute and actual need. 46 From the more conceptual point of view of Economy and Society, Weber deals with this problem by creating definitions of ‘profit-making’ and ‘economic action’ which allow a more consistent classification of the various types of acquisition known in history. He defines ‘economic action’ as essentially pacific: as the ‘peaceful use of an actor’s control over resources, which is rationally oriented, by deliberate planning, to economic ends’.

By this stage, according to Weber, the army controlling the Empire had become little more than an undisciplined horde maintaining only very weak ties with Rome. The process of ‘inner barbarization’ was already so advanced that for many provincial Antiquity and capitalism 22 inhabitants the invasions constituted little more than a change in the personnel of the force being billeted on them; in parts of Gaul the barbarians were apparently welcomed as liberators, so onerous had the burden of Roman administration become.

46 From the more conceptual point of view of Economy and Society, Weber deals with this problem by creating definitions of ‘profit-making’ and ‘economic action’ which allow a more consistent classification of the various types of acquisition known in history. He defines ‘economic action’ as essentially pacific: as the ‘peaceful use of an actor’s control over resources, which is rationally oriented, by deliberate planning, to economic ends’. 47 ‘Profit making’, on the other hand, he defines more broadly: as ‘activity which is oriented to opportunities for seeking new powers of control over goods on a single occasion, repeatedly or continuously’.

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