Max Weber (1864–1920) was a German economic and legal scholar. Born in Prussia, Weber grew up in Bismarck’s unified German Empire (1871–1890) and went on to experience the New Course of bureaucratic administration instituted by Kaiser Wilhelm II (1890–1918). At this time, German society was dominated by a conservative and retrograde aristocracy (the Junkers); it also included a small and ineffectual middle class, a militant but incompetent labor movement, and weak parliamentary institutions. Weber, as a patriotic supporter of a modern and imperial Germany, saw the promise of Germany’s future in English and American political and business practices, which he regarded as exemplifying rationalized organization and culture, a robust capitalist class structure, and global political dominance. Following a brief account of Weber’s life, this entry ...

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