1st Edition

General Economic History

By Max Weber Copyright 2024
    328 Pages
    by Routledge

    328 Pages
    by Routledge

    Sociologist, historian and political economist, Max Weber is one of the most important thinkers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. His astonishing range and penetrating insights resulted in many influential books spanning religion, society, politics, and economics, permanently affecting the direction of the social sciences.

    General Economic History, published in 1923 (three years after Weber's death) and compiled from meticulous notes taken by his students, ranks as one of his most important books. It is a landmark work in economic history. From early forms of exchange in pre-capitalist households and villages, through industry and the beginnings of commerce, to the evolution of trade and money, Weber tells the epic story of the development of Western capitalism. At its heart, he argues, capitalism is driven by two immensely powerful forces: the basic, material needs that human beings seek to fulfil; and the fundamental but intangible spirit that sets capitalism in motion.

    This Routledge Classics edition includes a new Introduction and, for the first time in English, a translation of Weber’s original "Conceptual Preface" to the German edition, both by Keith Tribe. Also included are some corrections to the main text.

    Introduction to the Routledge Classics Edition Keith Tribe

    Conceptual Preface

    Part I: Household, Clan, Village and Manor

    1. Agrarian Organization and the Problem of Agrarian Communism

    2. Appropriation and Verband – the Clan

    3. The Economic Development of Seigniorial Property

    4. Manorial Rule

    5. The Situation of the Peasantry in Various Occidental Countries Before the Penetration of Capitalism

    6. The Capitalistic Development of the Manor

    Part II: Industry and Mining before the Development of Capitalism

    7. Principal Forms of Industrial Organization

    8. Developmental Stages of Industry and Mining

    9. Craft Guilds

    10. The Emergence of Occidental Guilds

    11. The Disintegration of the Guilds and Development of the Domestic System

    12. Workshop Production. The Factory and its Fore-Runners

    13. Mining Prior to Capitalist Development

    Part III: Commerce in Goods and Money in the Precapitalist Era

    14. The Origins and Development of Trade

    15. Technical Preconditions for the Carriage of Goods

    16. The Organizational Forms of Trade and Transport

    17. Trading and Forms of Economic Enterprise

    18. Merchant Guilds

    19. Money and Monetary History

    20. Money and Banking in the Precapitalist Era

    21. Interest in the Precapitalistic Era

    Part IV: The Emergence of Modern Capitalism

    22. The Concept and Presuppositions of Modern Capitalism

    23. The External Features of Capitalist Development

    24. The First Major Speculative Crises

    25. Free Wholesale Trade

    26. Colonial Policy from the Sixteenth to the Eighteenth Century

    27. The Development of Industrial Technology

    28. Citizenship

    29. The Rational State

    30. The Evolution of the Capitalistic Spirit

    31. Rational Economic Ethic and the Rational Spirit (Gesinnung)



    Max Weber (1864–1920) has had a major influence on the development of the social sciences and humanities, and is today widely regarded as a leading analyst of modernity. His father was a National Liberal politician in Berlin, the family of his mother were in the textile business. This latter connection enabled him to resign his Professorship at Heidelberg in 1903 and live as an independent scholar until 1919, when he was appointed to a chair in Munich. A figure of national significance even before he was appointed to a chair in political economy and finance in Freiburg in 1894, his extensive contributions to newspapers and journals, speeches on politics and scholarship, and editorial work is only now being fully appreciated. Even his most famous book, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (also available in Routledge Classics), was originally two linked essays published in the journal he edited with Werner Sombart and Edgar Jaffé in 1904–1905. His public lecture "Politics as a Vocation," given in Munich in early 1919, remains a landmark statement of party politics and the demands of modern political life.