Lecture 3 - The Rise of the West and Marxism
Origins of Modern World Economy
Twin “Revolutions” 16-19 centuries, agricultural and industrial
Agricultural Revolution: may be hyperbole to use the “word revolution” here
Case of Flemish and British farmers
Originates in the 18 century England
We have cotton, iron processed into steel, tenfold increase in a small amount of time.
This produces huge changes in domestic consumption – luxuries came to be seen as “decencies”
and decencies came to be seen as necessities.
This lead to the creation of the middle class which has risen from manual labour to professional
or entrepreneurial status.
1) Capacity to produce surplus
2) Increasing complexity of division of labour
3) New forms of social consciousness
German from a Jewish background, brought up as a Lutheran
“The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.” –
Marx, Theses on Feuerbach
Feuerbach and Critique of German idealism (Hegel).
Materialism: What is God? Feuerbach said that God does not exist; we take everything that’s
good inside of us and it becomes an alien being, and Lords over us.
Marx follows this, but Feuerbach does not go far enough – why do we need God in the first place
Why do we need religion? Injustice. It is an answer to the injustice that economically poor people
go through throughout their lifetime.
Hegel: Consciousness creates society
Marx disagrees: consciousness does not create being, “being creates consciousness.”
Humans make the means of their own survival. Work is natural, humans are creative.
History is a history of class struggle and forms of domination: history is struggle, but material
Culture, ideas, art, law, morality, religion…all determined by mode of production:
Critique of Hegel: Historical Materialism
Slave, Feudal, Capitalist, Socialist/Communist modes of production.
If history is the history of class struggle when does history end? History ends when class struggle
ends. At each stage of history the ruling class exploits those that are underneath them. New classes grab power for their particular interest but claim it is the universal interest.
They create an ideology and exercise state power.
Eventually they too exploit, and later answer to those that they exploit.
So when does class struggle end? Marx’s analysis of social orders: feudalism to capitalism and
then his analysis or capitalism.
Immiseration and class consciousness
Contradictions of Capitalism
Production is a public activity but is held in private hands
What is a revolution? A real revolution fundamentally alters the structure of society. Political
versus social revolution
When will the revolution happen? Free will versus determinism
Problem of false consciousness (what if the workers don’t want a revolution?).
Theories why revolution doesn’t occur; hegemony (Gramsci), corruptibility (Lenin), Global
capitalism (dependency theory).
What is the state for Marx? It is the executive committee of the ruling class.
Lecture 4 – Modern Democracy
Apartheid in South Africa –
Great racial segregation along political, social and economic lines.
Blacks vs. Whites; 80% of the population is black.
Land allocation – White (87%) and Black (13%)
Annual Expenditure, education/pupil – Black ($45) and White ($700)
Apartheid ended in 1944
1975 – 46 democracie