Concepts from Max weber

Max Weber (1864 – 1920), who died in the last global pandemic, is the father of modern sociology. His approaches to research and methodology were ground breaking within academia. His definitions have been exceptional, for example, the state as having a monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force and defining charismatic leaders, bureaucracy, methodological individualism and controversially the Protestant Work ethic. Max Weber also had some anti-Polish views which is bizarre and potentially evil. Below are notes on his theories in relation to nationalism, war and strategic ends.

Weber’s Theory of Nationalism: power & prestige

Facts & Figures                                                                                                        

List of previous final exam questions:

How did Weber define and explain nationalism? What role did prestige and power play in his understanding of nationalism?

Why is there no sociological definition of nationalism according to Weber?

Discuss the constructed ethnicity Weber argued.

  1. To what extent, if at all, Weber developed clear concepts and theories of ethnicity, nationality, nation-state and nationalism.
  • Guenther Roth & Claus Wittich (eds), Economy and Society (2 vols., Berkeley & Los Angeles, 1978). vol.1, `Ethnic Groups’, pp.385-398
  • H.H.Gerth & C.Wright Mills (eds), From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology (New York, 1946). `Structures of Power’, pp.159-179 (most of which is also to be found in Economy and Society, vol.2, pp.910-926).
  • Beetham, D. (1974). Max Weber and the Theory of Modern Politics. London. Chapter 5 `Nationalism and the nation-state’
  • M. Guibernau, Nationalisms: The Nation-State and Nationalism in the Twentieth Century (Cambridge, 1996), chapter 1 `Nationalism in classical sociological theory’.
  • Defining, Background, Foundations
  • Of all the writing undertaken in Max Weber’s 56 years, only two significant passages use social science to address the question of nationalism. In order to ascertain why Weber never explicitly formulated a theory of nationalism, this paper will do the following.

Posthumous Works Should Be Questioned: MAJOR point about his papers on Nations and Ethnicity: We would never have known about Weber’s thoughts on ethnic groups and nations had his wife not published it posthumously by Marianne Weber in Economy & Society. It wasn’t his finest material. He says at the end of ethnic groups that there is no ideal type for ethnicity. It is fragmentary like Economy & Society in general.

Nation & Ethnic Group: Weber would never have had it published because there is no ideal type here.Weber’s ethnicity text is associated with a Gemeinshaft concept: it is a belief not a fact: it is a belief in relationships that are rationally calculated: it is pre-modern: it might not work in large scale societies. NOTE that he did study subjective texts

  • Outline the Nation and Ethnic Groups papers and argue Weber forwards an instrumentalist view of these phenomena.
  • Argue that Weber’s ultimate value is informed by the same value-laden pursuit: political power and prestige of the German nation-state.
  • Conclude that Weber never formulated a sociological explanation of nationalism for two reasons,
  • a) the concept had not fully developed as central in the modernization process during his lifetime AND
  • b) he recognized the subjectivity and amorphous tendency of this field of study.

Robert Moses | The Power Broker | Notes On An Epic Pulitzer Prize Winning Book

The Power Broker is a Pulitzer Prize Winner

  • Robert A. Caro’s The Power Broker is a Pulitzer Prize winning epic that was widely read by the politicians and civil servants in the US and abroad;
  • The keypoints are my interpretation of the events in the corresponding chapter; take with a grain of salt;
  • My opinions are subject to change at any future date as an intellectually free person; so if new information shows Moses to be even less “impure” I am free to change my opinion without judgement, thanks!;
  • Writing about Moses does not equal endorsing Moses obviously;
  • This article is my attempt to provide a chapter-ized summary so that you don’t have to read this 1255 pager. The physical book weighs a lot, too, as is Robert Caro’s way. Enjoy; 

Hero, Villain or Mixture of the Two? Probably a Mixture. He is both repugnant and visionary. Hate-able and laudable for “getting things done.” Moses famously responded to this Caro book by saying a) he wasn’t responsible for public transport (read: probably not of interest fee-wise), b) he wasn’t that powerful, c) Moses never addresses the racism he is accused of peddling…can we separate the progress from the possibly very repugnant man?

Part One – The Idealist

Chapter 1 – Line of succession

Robert Moses was born on December 18th, 1888. His mother Bella was the strong willed, daughter of Bernard and Rosalie Cohen. Bernard was among many German Jews who longed to escape repression and emigrate to the USA. Eventually he settled with his brother in New York and marrying his cousin, Rosalie Silverman. Bernard became interested in civic affairs. And became known as a decisive and visionary analyst of social problems. Rosalie Silverman bullied her husband. She was intellectual rather than maternal and as Granny Cohen was imperious, treating other people as underlings.

Bernard died in 1897 of pneumonia. Rosalie carried on energetically, marching around New York and dismissive of the soft life. In 1919 she calmly finished her crossword puzzle, got out of bed and rang the bell to summon her maid before calmly announcing “Martha, summon Doctor –, I’m dying”.

Bella, quiet and unassuming but thoughtful, spoke French and German fluently and retained the sharpness of her mother. In 1886 she married Emanuel Moses, a Jew from Cologne. Although he built a successful business, Bella was thought to have “married beneath her.” They settled in Dwight Street, New Haven, Connecticut, an elm lined street with substantial houses.

Bella disliked the lack of cultural activity in New Haven so eventually they moved to New York in 1897.

By 1907, 1 million Jews had fled to the USA to escape persecution. By 1917 this was 1.5 million. In the Lower East Side, settlement houses sprang up to cope with the influx, and Bella became involved. There was a certain snobbery exercised by the settled Jewish community towards new Jewish immigrants, many from Russia. They called them “Kikes” because of the endings of many Russian surnames. German Jews had a patronising attitude to the new influx of Jews from Eastern Europe. Bella’s attitude towards those under her wing were thought to be “You’re my children, I know best.”

Bella however, was more interested in urban planning than integration. Her proposals were well mannered but steely. She was known for getting her way. Once she became involved in a project, she became obsessed with the detail. Bella could always count on Emmanuel’s support, at work and in the home, an obvious parallel with her own parents. Bella was not religious, and although Emanuel was attached to the synagogue, her views prevailed.

In New York the family lived just off 5th Avenue; a large oak panelled brownstone at the centre of a rich Jewish sector. With assets of $1.2M and walls covered with Rembrandt and Durer prints, they were among the elite.

Bella was strict with children, organising their lives in minute detail. She was particularly interested in their education. All the children were sent to expensive schools, Robert eventually ending up at Yale.

Bella’s sons, Paul and Robert, were often mistaken as twins. Both were considered “stunningly” handsome but haughty, even arrogant. They were popular with both girls and boys. Although both were considered athletes, Robert was more of a loner, attracted to sports, but not team sports.

Both brothers were dismissive of their father but Robert and his mother formed an inner circle. Bella catered to Robert’s every whim, “doting” on him. Robert flattered his mother by praising her work in the community and mimicking her movements and deportment. The line of personality was clear: from Robert’s grandmother, to his mother, to him.

Factfulness by Hans Rosling (A Synopsis)

The following is a synopsis of Factfulness by Hans Rosling. It’s a great read on the Ten Reasons We are Wrong About Everything and Why Things are Not as Bad as We Think

Introduction: Why I Love the Circus

Hans Rosling was a physician, academic and public speaker. Together with his son, Ola Rosling and his daughter in law Anna Rosling Ronnlund, he founded the Gap Minder Foundation in 2005 to fight ignorance and encourage what he calls a more factful approach to life. Although this book, like his TED Talks, was written in his voice it is a collaboration between the three of them.

Although he pursued a career in medicine and became a leading academic, Rosling’s true passion as a child was the circus. He loved everything about it and was convinced he would one day live his dream and run off to become a performer. His parents had other ideas; they wanted him to enjoy the first-rate education they didn’t have and so he studied medicine instead.

Key takeaways from Steve Jobs’ life based on Walter Isaacson’s biography

This is an analysis based on Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson and other sources of research. Enjoy.

Location Really Does Matter For Entrepreneurs:

You need to be in the right place at the right time. Being exposed to many ideas, variables, and potential inputs for accidental discoveries is better than living in a risk averse environment. In High School, Jobs took an electronics class which would have been less likely in most other cities in the US or Canada. Steve Jobs was fortunate to be raised in Silicon Valley, and because of that location it is less of a mystery as to why Jobs is who he was. Defense contracts in Silicon Valley during the 1950s shaped the history of the valley, military investment was used to build cameras to fly over the USSR, for example. Military companies were on the cutting edge, and made living in Silicon Valley interesting. In the 1930s, Dave Packard moved into Silicon Valley, and his garage was the core of the creation of Hewlett Packard. In the 1960s, HP had 9,000 employees, and it was where all engineers wanted to work. Jobs was ambitious enough at a young age to phone Dave Packard and ask for some parts. That’s how he got a summer job there. Moore’s Law emerged in Silicon Valley, Intel was able to develop the first micro processor. Financial backing was made easier to acquire where rich New Yorker’s retired to…By having the chip technology that could be cost measured for projections, Jobs and Gates would use this metric to revolutionize the technological world.

Continue reading Key takeaways from Steve Jobs’ life based on Walter Isaacson’s biography

Running a Company from the Financial Perspective | Accounting Analysis

Accrual Accounting versus Cash Accounting

Accrual basis = immediate recognition.

Cash basis = when the case is received.

Before we dive into earnings management as a subtopic within business analysis and valuation, it is helpful to understand the difference between Accrual and Cash Accounting. The cash basis is only available for use for companies has no more than $5 million sales per year.

The accrual basis is used by larger companies because matching revenue and expenses in the same reporting period so that the true profitability of an organization can be discerned.

Cashflows are harder to manipulate. The big difference between the two is when the transactions are recorded.

Continue reading Running a Company from the Financial Perspective | Accounting Analysis

Nintendo Business Strategy Analysis for 2017 and Beyond

The following is an analysis of Nintendo’s strategic position in the marketplace. What we’re looking at here is analyzing how they performed in the past, what are the strategic challenges? What is the challenges of their industries, because they are in several industries actually if you think about it, and how can they improve the performance? So hopefully, you enjoy.

Nintendo-Strategic-Analysis-for-2017-&-Beyond-Infographic

As I said, it’s a strategic analysis of the consoles and handheld devices industry with Nintendo and where it fits within that. So it’s a hardware dedicated video game platform that we’re interested in understanding. That means we’re not interested in necessarily at the core of the software, which is where Nintendo actually does really well and they sell quite a lot of licensing etc. around their products and characters. It’s not the core focus, it will be on consoles. So just give an introduction, the team here, this is the team that we had and their names are below. I’ve just kind of made everyone anonymous. Because I thought it was more appropriate to do so.

Soviet Union to Russia: Understanding what Russia wants through an Academic Lens

Communism, Post-communism & Nationalism

The following are in depth research notes on Communism, Nationalism and Russia from the perspective of both Eastern and Western academic thinkers.

Politics, history, psychology are complicated. When the Soviet Union collapsed, the territorial maps were redrawn. Many Russian nationals become minority citizens of new countries that were formed. The following is an analysis of that story. It’s implications for nationalism studies today and in the future. And in some ways an answer to what Putin wants.

Continue reading Soviet Union to Russia: Understanding what Russia wants through an Academic Lens

Synopsis of Capital in the 21st Century by Thomas Piketty

Slides from Capital in the 21st Century, Thomas Piketty

Piketty’s Thesis: Thomas Piketty’s thesis is that the rate of capital returns is greater than the rate of economic growth in developed countries. The message is clear “forget about income/salary inequality, take a look at wealth inequality!” Wealth is getting collected and retained at a faster rate than economic growth is occurring in the overall economy. This assertion is a much more sophisticated argument than the classic “the rich are getting richer.” Private wealth is increasingly concentrating in the hands of ‘the few’ which is troubling since it’s doing so at a faster rate than the rate of new wealth creation. It’s also troubling (if it’s true) that ‘the few’ are just lucky & riding compound interest into a promising future instead of creating true value through their own productivity. This trend has been tracked over the last 250 years and with increasing accuracy since developed countries have implemented income tax. Piketty’s challenge is to address the issue that wealth concentration will grow relative to economic growth in the future without any significant policy changes. Continue reading Synopsis of Capital in the 21st Century by Thomas Piketty

Niall Ferguson The Square and the Tower

Niall Ferguson “The Square and the Tower”

There is the Square and the Tower; both are networks. The tower is the intellectual elite and the square is the general public in this metaphor. Ferguson’s findings are that there is a continuum of hierarchical structures as well as social networks. History repeats itself in many ways with the social media of today. Hierarchically organized family prevail, but then social networks are empowered to challenge the hierarchical order within each era. Continue reading Niall Ferguson The Square and the Tower

Synopsis of Thomas Friedman’s THANK YOU FOR BEING LATE

Chapter 1

We start off with some comments by the author – Thomas L. Friedman, on why he decided to become an explanatory journalist.

Many, in today’s world, believe that the more complicated they sound and behave, the more impressive they are. Breaking things down into a simple language, which can be understood and, perhaps applied, by the readers, if useful, is a more important task since most people aren’t deeply involved in academia: enter the Orwells, Gladwells and Friedmans of the world.

While driving a car at high speed might be thrilling, it is not what we would like to get habituated to. This is because we also have the tendency to keep ourselves safe and speed guarantees anything but that. Similarly, knowledge and technology may be jumping in leaps and bounds, but ethical challenges that come from new technology has a lagging day in the court.

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