Werner Sombart

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Werner Sombart.

Werner Sombart (19 January 1863 – 18 May 1941) was a German economist and sociologist, the head of the "Youngest Historical School" and one of the leading Continental European social scientists during the first quarter of the 20th century.

The early Sombart was an important Marxist, but later became extremely critical.

His most known work is Der moderne Kapitalismus (1902 through 1927). In it, he stated several stages in the development of capitalism from its earliest iteration as it evolved out of feudalism, which he called proto-capitalism to early, high and, finally, late capitalism in the post World War I period.

Sombart's 1911 book, Die Juden und das Wirtschaftsleben (The Jews and Modern Capitalism), is an addition to Max Weber's historic study of the connection between Protestantism (especially Calvinism) and Capitalism, with Sombart stating Jewish involvement in historic capitalist development and criticizing many of the effects.

During the Weimar Republic, Sombart moved toward nationalism, and his relation to National Socialism is still debated today.

In 1934, he published Deutscher Sozialismus, in which he claimed that the age of capitalism and proletarian socialism was over, with "German socialism" taking over. This was accompanied by a Volksgeist (national spirit), which was not racial in the biological sense. Thus, the antithesis of the "German spirit" was the "Jewish spirit", described as not a matter of being born Jewish or believing in Judaism, but being a capitalistic spirit, with the English people described as possessing the Jewish spirit.

However, his 1938 anthropology book, Vom Menschen, was anti-National Socialist, and was hindered in publication and distribution.

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