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Lecture 4

Lecture 4.docx

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Zaheer Baber

Lecture 4 “Historical materialism” and “commodities” under capitalism Historical materialism means through history to under change, is to understand any system Humans cannot survive without using their We transform the environment around us, the more we produce the existing relationship cannot occur A dramatically change Example: slavery There comes a point that production becomes too much that, slavery becomes inefficient Certain class of people becomes to understand that there is a limited to a system The markets become to dominate society and the feudal lords are not really for this, the serfs Commodity is any object that has both use value and exchange value at the same time Under capitalism everything can be sold on the market The mode of production under capitalism tries to commodity everything, abstract though (labor power) can be commodity as well How commodities are a feature in capitalism The commodification of everything, including social relations and “labor power” Hire someone for ten hours, is to make them work slightly more and make sure you get value (or extra value) in those ten hours What is constant is that the production of surplus value Labor theory of value: “surplus” value; “exploitation” The creation of surplus value Workers are selling their capacity to work; there is a relationship in which workers have to choice, but to work. There is a relationship of unequal power The serfs are free from the land and are now forced to work in the factories because it is the only way to earn a living, they aren’t actually free Mature Capitalism: key features 1. Crisis due to “overproduction” The strength of capitalism to produce more, overproduction itself leads to recession When there is an overproduction, prices tend to fall The notion that a product might be obsolete 2. Concentration of capital (website top ten corporations) Corporations that have the ability to stay strong through a recession and have the ability to buy out other corporations and become even stronger than even before There is an immense concentration 3. Falling rate of profits: cutting the cost of production – labor (offshoring, outsourcing) The capitalism aren’t are able to survive and force to sell out to another corporation Offshoring – relocating their companies elsewhere because of labor cost are cheaper and wages are cut in half Outsourcing – the idea that other companies deal with the labor and supply the product on time, but the brand is placed These three features are interconnect with each other The concept of class Marx is not anti-capitalism Marx defines class as relationship to the “means of production” Under capitalism workers do not own the factories, workers own: “labor-power” – capacity, potential to work not a fixed amount of labor – Capitalists own: capital, land, industry land – agricultural, industrial Two- class model: You either own the means of production or you don’t own it Mature capitalism: “class polarization” There are different kinds of capitalist and are in competition with each other Industrial bourgeoisie: own factories Financial bourgeoisie: invest Landowners use agriculture to make more capital They share in common that they own their means of production Petit bourgeoisie the small time enterprise owners they are in between workers and
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