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Poltics Lecture Notes.docx

Political Science
Course Code
Jeffrey Kopstein

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Politics Lecture Notes
Sept. 26, 2011
The rise of the West and Marxism lecture three
- Economic development north west Europe i.e. Germany, Netherlands
Origins of the modern economy
-twin revolutions, 16th and 19th centuries, agricultural and industrial
-Agricultural revolution; may be hyperbole to use the word revolution; very slow, not many people
recognized that the revolution was occurring
-Case of Flemish and British farmers; surplus is the key no surplus no wealth
Industrial Revolution
- Moving west to east, noticing the economic regression; countries getting poorer, farmers having
less wealth, less clothes, pattern existed also in the 16th and 19th centuries
- Originates in the late 18th century England
- More appropriately designated as a revolution
- Example: raw cotton processed in British factories: 1760 = 22 million pounds; 1787 = 22 million
- Amounts of Iron processed into steel in English factories; 1788 66000 tons, 1806, 250,000 tons;
tenfold increase of production of steel
- Produced huge changes in domestic consumption patterns
- Everyone knew that the revolution was happening
- Luxuries came to be seen as mere “decencies” and decencies cam e to be seen as “necessities”
- Distribution highly uneven but now creation of middle class that had risen from manual labour to
professional or entrepreneurial status i.e. beer, underwear, changing fashion, knives, etc.
Social Results
- Capacity to produce surplus creation of the middle class; industrial revolution, more
consumption (ECONOMICS)
- Increasing complexity of division of labour; society became more complex; state needed to
regulate the complexity which ensued (SOCIETY/SOCIOLOGY)
- New forms of social consciousness; people started thinking differently, no longer believed that
they were confined to the jobs into which they were born; the notion of a right to have a say in the
exercise in the public inquiry; contributing to society, educated, adding to wealth, political
implications (ANTHROPOLOGY)
Karl Marx
- Student of capitalism, German
- How to analyze a society?
- What does one look for first?
- Queens and Kings? (Hegel)
- Dominant ideas?
- What kind of food they eat, alcohol they drink? How to produce the means of their own material
- Trying to figure out a method for figuring out society how he started
Marx and Materialism
- Feuerbach and critique of german idealism (Hegel). “the philosophers have only interpreted the
world, in various ways; the point is to change it” Marx
- Materialism: what is God? (Feuerbach)

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- Hegel is more religious, Feuerbach questioned it; what do we mean by God? When we think of
God we take everything good inside of us and put it outside of us; transform it into an alien being;
and then it rules over us; Man created God
- For Marx this doesn‟t go far enough – agreed with Feuerbach, believed we make up our spiritual
life, not liberating enough, why do we need religion? Because there is injustice in the world
- Why do we need religion? Injustice. You must go to the material causes: why people think the
way they do. How people live determines what they think; those who have nothing, the poor, the
meek, the desperate.
Critique of Hegel: historical materialism
- Hegel: Consciousness creates society
- Marx disagrees: consciousness does not create being, “being creates consciousness”. How we live
determines what we think; and how we live is MATERIAL
- Materialist conception of history
Materialist Conception of History
- Humans make their own means of survival make our own housing, grow our own food etc.
- Work is natural, humans are creative creatures, work is good.
- History is the history of class struggle and forms of domination: history is struggle, but material
struggle the means of production
- Class conflict: either you own the means of production, or work for the people who own the
means of production- Bourgeoisie and Proletariat
- History is the struggle of the people who do not own the means of production to own the means
of production
- Culture, ideas, art, law, morality , religion…all determined by mode of production
- Culture determined by needs of capitalism
Critique of Hegel
- Slave, feudal, capitalist, socialist/communist, each culture and history have their own
means/modes of production “ revolutions are the locomotives of history” Marx, Capital
- History moves from one stage to the next, like Hegel it has meaning, movement and an END.
- If history is the history of class struggle, when does history end?
How does history unfold?
- Exploitation; of lower classes
- New classes grab power for their particular interest but claim it is in the universal interest
- They create an ideology and exercise state power; ideology = mask behind which power hides
- But they too (new group) exploit labour and eventually their power is brought into questions by
those who are being exploited
- So history will end when class struggle ends
When does history end?
- When does this come about?
- Marx‟s analysis of social orders: feudalism to capitalism and then his analysis of capitalism
- Immiseration (becoming poorer) and class consciousness, wages lower, higher competition,
working class will grow and become poorer and poorer, and go to become a class of their own
Marx: History and Politics
- Presenting democracy as in the interest of all but actually in the interest of the ruling class.
Formal freedoms versus substantive reality (how can you exercise your freedoms I you are poor?)
Contradictions of Capitalism
- Production is a public activity but is held in private hands
- What is a revolution? Political versus social revolution ultimately alters society
- When will the revolution happen? Free will versus determinism; capitalism will deteriorate and
there will be a new society

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- Problem of false consciousness (what if the workers don‟t want a revolution?)
- Theories about why revolution doesn‟t occur (after Marx): hegemony (Gramsci), corruptibility
(Lenin), Global capitalism (dependency theory)
- “American dream” party of Marxist ideology to get people to continue to work really hard even
though there is little chance to improve situation; poverty will strip away the illusions of
- Consciousness is a product of material life? Marx
- People always want more; we lived in a society of scarcity and abundance capitalist mentality
a “fetish of commodity”
- Marx wasn‟t against capitalism, it creates all this technology and abundance, and the only
problem is that it does not distribute the wealth and technology evenly
- Whole idea of communist contradictory?
The state is the executive community of the ruling class
- Is a vote politically equal to that of Kevin O‟Leary? No! He can use his money to advance the
candidate of his choice
- Serving that of the “ruling” or “richer” class
- Coercion is the centre of the democratic state
- Who decides who‟s in power of a communist state? *Prof doesn't know*
- There will be something along the lines, Marx‟s says but cannot see the future.
- Source of motivation of need to work won‟t work
- Just as feudalism had past so will capitalism the motivation for being creative
the desire to do his publishing is not tied to the income of money
- Proletariat are wage workers
- People are always materialists
- Urban poor in France and Rural of the Americans and their revolutions they were being led by the
new bourgeoisie
Oct. 3, 2011
Modern Democracy (Wong)
- Apartheid in South Africa (1978) sexual relations between races were illegal; people were
physically segregated on the basis of race - no mixing; passes needed in order to visit other
segregated places; blacks forcibly removed from certain areas. Example of official racial
- Black =19 million (80%) White = 4.5 million; land allocation white = 87%; share of national
income 75% ; ration of average earnings 14-1 (white to black); annual expenditure white= $700
black = $45
- Democracy is a relatively new idea for the world taking democracy for granted
- Increase in democracy from 1975 -2010; the “third wave of democracy”; post-war modernization;
rapid economic growth, social development, modernization theory growing they would become
politically modern, a natural progression
- Nonetheless in principal, democratic virtues are appealing participation, how our government is
run, collective decision making, no oligarchies, democracy is about collective decision making
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