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7A - Early Challenges to Legal Positivism - Marx.docx

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University of Waterloo
Legal Studies
LS 101
Susan Brophy

Marx A. Biography - 1818 – 1883, Prussia (Germany) - Political approach to economy - Class struggle Das Kapital (or Captial) 1867 – 1894 - 3 volume study of capitalism - “natural laws” of capitalism o Exploitation, private property, profit, commodities, exchange, value, labour Marx helps us understand WHY… …the establishment of the “legally fixed working day” was so contentious …some labour laws go unenforced …people work in unsafe conditions …the idea of “free” labour is artificial …law and its relation to capitalism is more complex than we think …these concerns matter to us today Factory Collapse in Bangladesh – April 24, 2013 (refer to learn for video) - Shows that building/working is unsafe yet people still go to work = in order to feed family - Shows there is an aspect of free choice but also other duties (free choice to starve ourselves, but some things we just HAVE to do) Struggle for Better Working Conditions - Article talks about an increase in minimum wage B. Claims WHY…the establishment of the “legally fixed working day” was so contentious - Dead/exhausted worker hurts productivity - Workers wanted more humane treatment - Even with Factory Acts, shortcuts taken o Pay less for same hours worked o Work more hours for same pay o Encroach on break time (Time is money) WHY…some labour laws go unenforced - “dead letter”; labour laws up to 1833 - Legal loophole & selective enforcement - “judicial farces” (court systems where people were tried to
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