Anti-Politics and the Spirit of Capitalism: Dissidents, monetarists, and the Czech transition to capitalism

Eyal, Gil

This article sets out to investigate a problem, which in some respects is parallel to Weber's famous thesis on the origins of the ``spirit of capitalism.'' What Weber found in need of explanation was the sense of moral duty, or a ``calling,'' which accompanied the profit-seeking activities of capitalist entrepreneurs, and played a major role in rationalizing their conduct. Almost a century later, and in the radically different context of the post-communist Czech Republic, I find a similar sense of moral duty imbuing not so much the pursuit of profit, but the construction of capitalist institutions. As I show in this article, Czech economic policies, while obviously guided by pragmatic considerations, are also oriented toward a distinctively ascetic complex of meanings.

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January 21, 2022