Lecture 7 work and economy.docx

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23 Apr 2012
Outline March 7th, 2012
The Economy and Work
PART 1: A Brief History of Capitalism
1. What is unique about capitalism?
2. Creating a market system
3. The Industrial Revolution
PART 2: The Economy and Work Today
5. Where do people work? (brief)
6. The social organization of work (brief)
7. Reflections on the economy since September 2008: How did we get here and what now?
Aim of lecture
There is nothing ‘natural’ about the market economy (capitalism)
Nothing normal
Capitalist economy seen as common sense in Canada
Overview: key features of capitalism
What is unique about capitalism?
What made these societies (pharrohs, etc.) non-capitalist was what they lacked in common:
No private property
Recognize wealth, but none legally recorded the land ownership
Individuals did not have rights in any sense we had today
No market system
All had typical markets where food, pottery, etc. was available
Markets were the ornaments of society
Nothing bonding economy with other nations
No organized market to buy or sell land, buy labour, lend money
Tradition and Command were its iron structure
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Economic freedom was held to little regard (workers belong to employers,
peasants to family hired by)
Lacked economic instability (compared with capitalism)
Economic life was stable, no pursuit of profit to motivate our economic lives
Little material progress took place over a long period of time
Capitalism: a volcanic disruption to time honoured routines
Tradition and command were hardest to overcome
Tradition and command had organized economic life. Capitalism had to replace these with a
market system.
Creating a market system
Market system:
“free” to shop for a job (labour)
Not responding to dictates of someones command
Free to choose jobs
Land is for sale (land)
Farms can become shopping centres
Contrast: land used to be no more for sale than our county’s and provinces
Banks and other institutions lend, distribute and make money (capital)
Flow of savings, investments and wealth
Wealth of lenders (why you pay interest)
Profit made off of loaning money (did not exist prior to capitalism)
Land, labour and capital are the factors of production in capitalism
How are the factors of production put to use prior to market system?
There were no factors of production (land, labour and capital were not
commodities for sale)
Labour was for slaves
Capital was considered treasure
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