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Japanese Studies Programme Paper
Ideology and Economic Activity
Michio Morishima
January 1986
Paper No' JS/1986/142:
Full Paper (pdf)

Tags: ideology; economic activity; social groups; religion; institutions; confucianism; marx; weber; historical process.

In considering ideology and economic activity, ideology is defined as a system of beliefs which binds people together into a social grouping. This is synonymous with religion as defined by Durkheim (1912) and, as a definition of religion, it may be too wide; but if this definition is adopted, both Confucianism and Marxism are 'religion'. In any case, there are two broad-based classes of approach to this problem, Marxian and Weberian. The former regards ideology which, together with such institutions as the state, family structure, etc., constitute the superstructure of the society, as being no more than a reflection of underlying basic material conditions. The latter, on the other hand, approaches from the superstructure to the base and establishes the reverse relationship. As will be seen later, neither of the two approaches alone can serve for the intepretation of a social historical process. To achieve this we must use both approaches and examine interdependence and interaction between materialistic or economic factors, and ideological or religious ones.