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Kautsky and Weber: Common Problems and Different Approaches

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Weber believed that the essence of Marxism's "simplification" consisted in conceiving of the "superstructure" as, in the last analysis, dependent on the "base". And he regarded Kautsky as a typical representative of that Marxism against which his methodological critique was directed. For his part, Kautsky thought that Weber's most distinctive interpretations had the fault of overestimating the "superstructural" elements. Nevertheless, Kautsky had a deep interest in Weber's work, especially in his analysis of the origins of capitalism in relation to the role played by Calvinism and of charisma in ancient and modern politics. Even if on the whole rejecting Weber's conclusions, Kautsky was convinced that some Weberian contributions could be very fruitful and could also enrich Marxist theory.


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