Lecture 7

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Published on 29 Sep 2011
School
UTSC
Department
Sociology
Course
SOCB42H3
Professor
Required tutorials tomorrow!
Comte readings are on BB – look at announcements for what pgs to read
Historical Causes of Wealth:
-Natural Progress of Opulence (Smith’s word for wealth) inhibitors
Feudalism
Mercantilism (will be discussed next week)
-Gov’t and its duties in regards to:
Defense, justice, education, religion
Conflict + inequality built into society
Smith – first emergence of a society. Up until him, the two main branches of knowledge were physics and
morality/ethics.
He said the market has its own ‘gravity’ that runs it.
Market is independent of people’s moral decisions
Class conflict – be suspicious of what the owner says [they are only interested in making profits]. Ignore their
qualities, but examine their social standing/qualities.
Universal vs. historical causes?
Natural progress of opulence according to Smith:
- agriculture manufacturing foreign trade
farmers manufacturers merchant
country side cities international
why is this the natural way:
-Reason 1 – subsistence (means take care of basics first) before luxury (pg 482)
-Reason 2 – moral claim – farming is the best kind of life (pg 483 he talks about the beauty of nature and the
country). As you go up the scale, you lose more control of your life, production, have less stability. Smith
says if one had the choice, they would rather be a farmer.
-Reason 3 – country- city interdependence – growth of city is dependent on growth of country. Country has
farms which grow crops, livestock and they get shipped to cities, ‘refined and fixed’ and sold for profit.
That way, cities can grow.
-Smith realized no one in history followed his. It actually developed backwards. This raises the question
what blocked the natural progression in Europe? The two inhibitors.
Feudalism
1) The fall of Rome – very complex civilization; road systems; engineering (plumbing, buildings); military
structures; arts and culture. 16/17 C Europe was seen to be lesser than Rome.
500 AD? Rome collapsed. They were defeated by Barbarians aka Germans. Europe went into the Dark
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Ages after. The markets dropped [allowed to trade within small communities], lost literature/literacy, very
violent time.
2) Warlord Landgrab – many people fight, few rich people claim certain plots of land belongs to them. Their
descendents became the aristocracy of Europe. This made land a source of power and not economic
development.
King Lords (peseants, knights) Barons (peseants, knights)
- Landlords never let their land get subdivided. Primogeniture (land goes to first born son), entails (illegal
to sell any part of land).
- Retinue (knights protect land of Barron or Prince)
- Had peasants to farm and did not keep their goods. They were ensured protection for their produce
- connected by personal connections (authority right above them)
- consequence? It is bad for agriculture.
- Peasants only produce what is needed to protect them since they do not have much incentive. Barons like
to party and fight
3) Towns rise – cities were born. Everyone was equal citizens. Democracy developed.
Elites were off in the country and the ‘scum of the earth’ lived in cities.
How did the towns end up rising to be so high?
- King versus everyone else -- King versus lords & barons – they have an overview, try to consolidate their
power. Kings try to get everyone to serve them and not have o deal with people in between. Aristocracy
feels that knights + peasants are loyal to them and not King.
- If King’s people don’t listen, he goes outside to the towns to bargain for their help (ex. France). He gave
them long term leases to own the land as a group [therefore they were equal citizens]. They got the land and
developed it to their liking.
4) Foreign trade – towns developed and were ready to trade for things that they did not have. Couldn’t trade
with King’s citizen, so they had to trade with foreign countries.
5) Towns started to do manufacturing, build factories.
6) Agriculture:
- As cities grew, market for raw materials expanded. People in country can now sell raw materials to the
towns so that they can manufacture goods.
- Merchants stated buying land.
- Baron’s power was reduced. Barons start buying things from the towns. They spent less money on knights
and more on goods and luxuries. The retinue was reduced. Retinue became less loyal to Barons. In order to
get money, Barons gave peasants longer leases; they made more stuff and sold them.
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Document Summary

Comte readings are on bb look at announcements for what pgs to read. Natural progress of opulence (smith"s word for wealth) inhibitors. Gov"t and its duties in regards to: Up until him, the two main branches of knowledge were physics and morality/ethics. He said the market has its own gravity" that runs it. Class conflict be suspicious of what the owner says [they are only interested in making profits]. Ignore their qualities, but examine their social standing/qualities. Natural progress of opulence according to smith: agriculture manufacturing foreign trade farmers manufacturers merchant country side cities international why is this the natural way: Reason 1 subsistence (means take care of basics first) before luxury (pg 482) Reason 2 moral claim farming is the best kind of life (pg 483 he talks about the beauty of nature and the country). As you go up the scale, you lose more control of your life, production, have less stability.