Marx’s economic interpretation of history and social change is amply clear from the following quotation from Marx, “in the social production which men carry on, they enter into definite relations that are indispensable and independent of their will; these relations of production correspond to a definite stage of development of their material powers of production. The sum total of these relations of production’ constitutes the economic structure of society—the real foundation on which rise legal and political superstructures and which correspond definite forms of social consciousness.
There is yet another respect in which Weber differed from, or rather enlarged upon, Marx. In accord with his focus on the sphere of economic production, Marx had documented in great detail how the capitalist industrial organization led tot eh expropriation of the worker form the means of production; how the modern industrial worker, in contrast to the artisan of the handicraft era, did not own his own tools and was hence forced to sell his labor to those who controlled him. Agreeing with most of this analysis, Weber countered with the observation that such expropriation from the means of work was an inescapable result of any system of rationalized and centrally coordinated production, rather than being a consequence of capitalism as such. Such expropriation would characterize a socialist system of production just as much as it would the capitalist form. Moreover, Weber argued, Marx's nearly exclusive concern with the productive sphere led him to overlook the possibility that the expropriation of the workers from the means of production was only a special case of a more general phenomenon in modern society where scientists are expropriated from the means of research, administrators from the means of administration, and warriors from the means of violence. He further contended that in all relevant spheres of modern society men could no longer engage in socially significant action unless they joined a large-scale organization in which they were allocated specific tasks and to which they were admitted only upon condition they they sacrificed their personal desires and predilections to the impersonal goals and procedures that governed the whole.