Started on: 2/6/14 9:40AM
C LASS N OTES FOR : P OLI S CI 3Y03
McMaster University, Winter 2014
FRIDAY , FEBRUARY 14, Y
• Capitalism is a progressive force
o It is expanding and doing things more efficiently.
• It also has some fundamental flaws, and some of these are the ones that justify the Marx,
Engels and many writers who have constantly made references to this unique quality if
capitalism which is the constant exploitation of the working class
o INTRODUCTION: Defines the kinds of words that we will be using, the words
that we will be defining in the introduction.
o The reader / T.Aknows exactly how we will be using these controversial words. If
we are going to use these words we need to know from the beginning.Always end
the introduction of the research paper with the research question. Which question
are we addressing?
o The concept and notion of capitalism is similar to democracy.
• Democracy is a concept with a family resemblance structure.
o Conclusion If you take democracy as a concept with family resemblance
structure, there’s not just one democracy but there are several different types of
o In different societies you will find different people who are committed to do
o In different societies there are individuals who seek to gather wealth and profit,
and the effort made to obtain the objective will depend on the kind of society
within which these efforts are taking place. If societies are different, then the
efforts will be different and capitalism will be different.
o CAPITALIST - individual who seeks to gather wealth, a means for obtaining more
• Capitalism, like democracy is a concept with a family resemblance structure
• ACapitalist is an individual who seeks to gather wealth not as an end in itself but as
means for obtaining more wealth
• Capital is not a material object (money) but a process. When this process does not take
place, capital does not exist
o What is the process all about?
The never ending process / of transforming money into commodities,
goods or services which then bring in more money.
This process consists of the constant transformation of money into
commodities, which, in turn, are later converted into more money.
Angie © McMaster University 1
Winter 2014 Person who gathers wealth to continue making more money
This process of transforming investment money into profit money is unlike
Marx or Adam smith would like us to believe, it’s not a self-sustaining
• There’s no such thing as invisibility
• It requires investment money to be transformed into other money
• Requires a whole web of relations and a particular class called the
• Cannot proceed with process of transforming money unless there is
• Need the state to ensure there’s a judicial system in place to
entrench and defend private property! Someone has to provide the
infrastructure (roads and educational system that makes it possible
to transform investment to capitalist money)
• Making reference to capital implies acknowledging the networks of social relations and
activities that allow this transformation to occur, at the same time that they condition it.
• These networks are never self-sustaining systems, they do not arise spontaneously: they
require the actions of the State in order to organize markets, administration of justice,
security, contracts, currency, interest rates, labour relations, infrastructure services,
financial regulations, urbanization, etc.
• As societies are different, so are the modal