An epic battle: Karl Marx vs Max Weber

Chat-GPT, the latest interface/application for GPT-3, has educators worried, because it writes short essays that look at least plausible. It will happily produce text that looks like (various brands of) actual social science, showing us and the world how redundant we are. Ask it to write a few paras for a “grievance studies” journal, or for something in the style of Ronald Inglehart, and you will see what I mean.

And, while still producing stuff that reads well and looks plausible, it will happily invent sources in non-existent journals (whose names sound plausible, too). Some clever people have called it “mansplaining as a service”, while some seriously clever people are thinking about useful applications in science.

Meanwhile, people of a more puerile disposition are asking different questions. What if Rap had been invented in the 19th century? What if Marx and Weber had been actual contemporaries (Marx died when Weber was just 19)? What if Karl and Max had been just two dudes (very white, very old and by now also very dead), battling it out for supremacy in sociology?

An epic battle: Karl Marx vs Max Weber 1
Pick your champion

Half a year ago, the answer would probably have been “we shall never know”. But thanks to the million dollar machinery behind GPT and the zillions of unpaid hours that went into producing all that content on the Internet on which it was trained, we can simply ask the bot. And so it begins:

Write a short rap battle involving Karl Marx dissing Max Weber

Karl Marx:

I'm the father of communism, the one they call the mastermind 
While you're stuck in your bureaucracies, I'm a revolutionary kind 
I've got the theory of surplus value, you can't deny it's true 
While you're stuck in your Protestant work ethic, I'm makin' moves

Max Weber:

I may not have your revolutionary flair, but I've got my own mind 
I've got the theory of rationalization, it's one of a kind 
You may talk about the proletariat, but I see the bigger picture 
I'm all about social class and status, I'm a true sociological mixture

Karl Marx:

You may have your theories, but they're all just empty words 
I've got the substance, the evidence, the facts to back up what I've heard
I'm the original socialist, the one who started it all
While you're just a copycat, tryin' to stand tall

Max Weber:

You may think you're better than me, but you're just full of hot air 
I've got the brains, the knowledge, the wisdom to take you down, I swear
I may not be a revolutionary, but I'm a thinker and a doer
While you're stuck in your ideology, I'm out here making progress, dude

I should think that Weber won that one. Give it another go?

An epic battle: Karl Marx vs Max Weber 2
What happened to Karl’s head?!?
Karl Marx:
Hey Max Weber, you think you're so smart
But your theories are weak, they just fall apart 
You talk about capitalism like it's divine 
But I'll show you the truth, that it's just a crime

Max Weber:

Karl, you're just a socialist, full of lies 
Your theories are outdated, they don't apply 
Capitalism's here to stay, it's what we need
Your ideas of class struggle will never succeed

Karl Marx:

But Max, you're missing the point, you can't see 
That capitalism's a system built on inequality 
It exploits the workers, leaves them in the dirt 
While the bourgeoisie reap the profits, it's just not fair

Max Weber:

Karl, you're living in the past, your ideas are old
Capitalism has evolved, it's not so cold 
It's a system of opportunity, it's what drives progress 
Your socialism will never work, it's just a mess

Karl Marx:

But Max, you're blinded by the system's charms 
You don't see the suffering, the social harm 
Capitalism will never be the answer, it's clear to me 
It's time for a change, for equality and liberty.

Hard to disagree with that last verse, so a draw, all in all. And this, boys and girls, is what we need all this computing power for.

An epic battle: Karl Marx vs Max Weber 3
And so they agree to disagree

21 thoughts on “An epic battle: Karl Marx vs Max Weber”


  • 💬 Jürgen P. Lang

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