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LABRST 1C03 Lecture Notes - Enclosure, Wage Labour, Mercantilism

Labour Studies
Course Code
David Bush

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A Brief History of Capitalism
A Brief History of Capitalism
Jan 15/13: Lecture 2
How has work has changed and how work is conducted, organized and seen in our
What is it? Basically trying to maximize profit with very little input as possible
How does it operate?
Pre-Capitalist Economics
Most production was for use (even in slave societies such as Rome).
Commodities were exchanged ultimately to get other commodities
Economic system were primarily based on relationships of personal domination
(Feudalism, Slave Societies, etc.)
A political system in which the land is dispersed by a lord to their vassal for a fee and
promise of loyalty
The social hierarchy is rigid- lords, vassals, clergy, merchants, artisans and serfs
This system begins to breakdown in Europe in the 15th century
The merchant class begins to acquire more power
The Age of “Discovery”
The Enclosure Movement
Intro European trading feuds push
some European states to look for new
trading routes
Start of European colonization which
lays the groundwork for mercantilism
Former serfs now free peasants in
England are forcibly evicted by the
nobility to raise sheep
This in time creates the conditions for
a wage labour system in England
Accumulation by Dispossession
The taking or expropriation of land, resources, and/or cultural knowledge
It divorces people from their means of production.
It concentrates those expropriated resources in the hands of a few.
These factors create the conditions for capitalism
A closed system of trading between colonies and a colonial country in which colonies
shipped resources to the “home” country and the “home” country shipped back finished
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