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Lecture 5

IDSB01H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Dialectical Materialism, Labour Power, Social System

International Development Studies
Course Code
Ryan Isakson

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IDSB01 Lecture 5 Feb 12, 2014
Midterm – everything up to the end of today’s class
- Study guide to be posted
- Definitions, compare and contrast (ex. productive labour vs. unproductive labour, ricardo
vs. marx’s labour theory)
- Review session, Tuesday before the exam – times to be posted
Marxian Political Economy
- One of the primary criticism of Classical PE -> failed to place capitalism in its historical
oDon’t talk about the evolution of capitalism out of previous forms of economic
- Concerned that classical political economists in their celebration of capitalism and its
flexibility and potential, ignore the exploitation and social theft accompanying it.
oSocial system allows the taking of something from somebody else is supposed to
provoke anger in society, much like individual theft does.
Dialectics and Historical Materialism
- Aka Dialectical Materialism
- Dialectics: epistemology of mutual causation (Hegel)
oIdea that all aspects of society are interconnected
oWest: singular direction of causation, A causes B…
oSociety is in a constant state of change
oSociety is characterized by contradictions
oSocietal contradictions drive change
- Economic processes shape- and are shaped by – political and cultural processes
- Historical Materalism: The material conditions of econ production play a key role shaping
- Two aspects of Society
oSuperstructure: the laws, rules, ideologies that structure society
oEconomic Base: activities and means through which humans transform nature
Ways to produce GnS to sustain human life
Include factors of production (capital goods) and social relations of
production (how society organizes economic production)
oWhat happens in the economic base is shaping the superstructure, but also the
superstructure affects the economic base (but this is a weaker connection)
oFactors of production shape Social relations of Production, and vice versa, to a
lesser extent
- Dialectics: economic conditions shape legal structures and culture, but culture and laws
also shape economic conditions
- Ex. Capitalist education in USA – workers mostly engaged in manufacturing work ->
contained a hierarchical social relations of productions, in turned shaped superstructure
in terms of educating people to be subservient and fit into the SRP.
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