Weber, however, rejected the notion of inevitable historical stages in the evolution of modes of economic production and was more intent on historical comparison as a means of explaining the emergence of capitalism. He concentrated, therefore, on the multiplicity of factors that produced Western capitalism and his sociological ideas evolved in the effort to produce tools for the analysis of "the institutional underpinnings of the economy to show which forces fostered or hindered it in various societies" (Collins, 1994, p. 83).
Since Marx saw every aspect of society as necessarily shaped by economic forces Marxian sociological theories, despite a great deal of insight, tended to simplify the relationships among various social factors and, generally, to reduce the all-important concept of class struggle to opposition between a mere two classes--the owners of the means of production and those who owned nothing but their own labor. Because Marx began with the assumption of the historical inevitability of progress in human social organization he not only held that the eventual decline of capitalism was inevitable, he also believed that economic analysis would enable him to describe just how capitalism had "forged the weapons that bring death to itself" (Marx & Engels, History, 1994, p. 8). Marx's search for economic explanations began with his obser