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POL101Y1 Lecture Notes - German Idealism, Class Conflict, For Marx

Political Science
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Sept. 27th, 2010
The Rise of the West and Marxism (Modernity)
Ways of understanding the rise of the west, when we speak of the west
we speak of the economic advancement that took place in the area
around Belgium, the Netherlands, & Great Britain (north-west
Origins of the modern world economy we speak of two revolutions:
agricultural and industrial (twin revolutions 16-19th centuries)
No political regimes were overthrown, big changes in economic life
occurred (use of the word revolution metaphorical)
Agricultural revolution took place over a very long period of time,
refers to radical changes
Industrial Revolution: changes happened very quickly
Originates in late 18th cent
More appropriately designated as a revolution
Ex. raw cotton processed in British factories
Amount of iron processed into steel in English factories = produced
huge changes in domestic consumption pattern
Luxuries came to be seen as necessities and necessities mere
We now see a surplus; mass productions in products (soap, furniture,
People didnt have seasonal changes in fashion
Rise of the middle classes distribution highly uneven but now there is
a creation of the middle class
Social results:
1) Capacity to produce surplus (Society of scarcity becomes society of
2) Increasing complexity of the division of labour (people could once do
everything, people now became more inter-dependant)
3) New forms of social consciousness develop in the modern world
feel that they have power, but they are not getting it. (State required to
regulate the complexity, people did not automatically confer to authority
anymore, people wonder what is going to happen in the future/distribution
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highly uneven but now there is the creation of a middle class that had risen
from manual labour to professional or entrepreneurial status)
How do we understand all of this?
What makes someone your social better? (For ex. Queen defined as our social
Where is this changing social consciousness coming from? -A combination of
these changes.
Karl Marx
Liked Hegel, many Germans thought a great deal of Hegel
Broke with Hegels ideas
Capitalists living like the aristocracy, but the middle class is the one
producing the wealth, they are the ones advancing society, want some
sort of power
How do you analyze a society?
What does one look for?
Queens and Kings?
Dominant ideas?
What kind of food they eat, alcohol they drink?
Where does Marx start?
What is a materialist?
Feuerbach & Critique of German Idealism (Hegel)
Whats real are not the ideas, one must understand the material basis
of all reality
Religion the big idea is the God idea, but what is God? God is all the
good that is inside of us, but we take all the good inside of us and take
it out
God did not create man, man created God real basis of life is the
material basis of life
For Marx, the materialist critique of Hegel did not go far enough, why
do we need religion, why do people go for this? People go to this due to
Go to the heart of the matter/material causes, NOT the peripherals
What makes us human is that we produce the means of our own
subsistence, our survival is material
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