THE great social transformation

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xploring Social Change There are around 190 states all over the world, covering almost the whole land. Except several states like Cuba and China, a large majority of states are capitalist states. Dose capitalism origin from each state Of course not. Capitalism originated in Europe, and then spread to other continents. Nowadays, apart from US, Europe is the most advanced continent in the world, in terms of gross domestic production, economic structure, civilian education, and their political institutions. However, before the 18th century, there is no doubt that Asia, especially China enjoyed the highest level of civilization. A vivid and great contrast shows up. Why eastern Asia countries, like China and India, lagged behind and some Europe countries moved forward In ancient times, because of primitive transportation, there was little communication between different regions. Thus, different areas were relatively self-reliant and there were few interactions. It is obvious that different areas exhibit different development paths. Capitalism was once born in China in Ming Dynasty. In theory, a new factor will arise, and then grow and develop. But in China, the sprouts of capitalism was killed and failed to thrive. As capitalism stands for advanced mode of production, its failure in China partly resulted in Chinas long-lasting poverty compared with the west. Capitalism arose in Europe at around the same time. By contrast, it is astonishing that capitalism gained a complete victory in Europe and then spread to almost the whole world. In the meanwhile, many European states succeeded in transforming to modern states. In vivid contrast, on the whole, China seemed to struggle hard to transform to a modern state but faced so many obstacles. As we all know, before 18th century, there is no doubt that eastern Asia was the most developed area. So why Europe succeeded in transforming to a new social system but China failed Alternative Theories Several alternative theories provide respective explanations to this question. 2.1 Class Struggle 2.2 The Role of Protestants Another German social scientist, Max Weber, explained the rise of capitalism from the perspective of religion. In 16th century, religion reform took place in Europe. After the religion reform, some new Christians, namely, Protestants appeared. According to Max Weber, the Protestants, especially ascetic Protestants, like Calvinists, possessed the spirit of capitalism. In his classic literature, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Max Weber explained this question in detail. The Protestants had a deep belief in the doctrine of predestination. Weber continued to argue that the Protestants believed that God loves money and wealth was a symbol of God. Whats more, in the Protestants opinion, wealth can serve to increase Gods glory. Therefore, the Protestants worked extremely hard in order to make huge profits and earn a large sum of money. Moreover, they were very thrifty. In this way, they were able to approve their identity as Gods chosen people. In a nutshell, it was the Protestants who greatly pushed forward capitalism. In the beginning, the sprouts of capitalism were very fragile in Europe, facing many strong obstacles. In addition, many Protestants believed that in the eyes of God, all men were created equal. So the Protestants also promoted equality which was extremely important for the mechanism and operation of democracy. These Protestants with spirit of capitalism made great contributions to modern social change. After analyzing European religion, Max Weber turned to the counterparts in East Asia. He argued that Buddhism and Confucianism didnt have similar roles as Protestantism did. 2.3The Rise of Modern Europe States Rulers pursuit of war involved them willy-nilly in the extraction of resources for war making from the populations over which they had control and in the promotion of capital accumulation by those who could help...
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