Jan 26 ENV222 lecture format.doc.docx

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School of Environment
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Kenneth Mac Donald

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ENV222 Jan. 26Capitalism Lecture format 1. The phenomenon Definition of capitalism from the Bottomore reading p. 79 . “commodity-producing society”; manufacture of material goods is a dominant societal goal, seen as an important way of achieving happiness . “means of production… class”: factories, farms, other things needed to produce material goods are owned privately, not by the state, and in general terms by the rich (but not exclusively) . “labour power … bought and sold”; they buy-sell contract, rather than feudal relations based in birth, is the main way of organizing production . “self-expansion through ceaseless accumulation”; the capitalist economy continues to grow because there is no limit to demand for material goods – perhaps has to grow . capital funds science and technology so they can be used for wealth creation (see below) in the production process . “Weber’s interest… sociological … religious”; explaining the evolution from European feudalism to capitalism as driven by more than just economic factors; sociological = emergence of new merchant class to challenge landed aristocracy; religious = Protestantism, based in individual relationship to God, and so individual self-reliance (instead of feudal reliance on social hierarchy) . “large corporations”; late 19 c. evolution to market control by large firms (private organizations) p. 80 . “increased state intervention”; evolution to co-dependency large firms and large governments (public organizations) . Keynes; evolution to belief, put in practice after 1945 that governments could and should influence economic growth . welfare state; the expansion of the state after 1945 p. 81 . “most successful period … 1950s and 1960s”; golden age of capitalism, in terms of economic growth rates, coincided with growth of the state, supporting thesis market and state are locked in co-dependency . thus we are defining a total society (state, market, civil society), not just an economic system; . definitions of those terms as used in this course . state - authority relationships . market - buy-sell contract relationships, with right of exit . civil society - kin, identity, other relationships . contrast with feudalism; which was a system of land holding, vassal and tenant; mutual obligation - protect and serve; fixed, static; main organizations, kingdom and church . origins, emergence from feudalism; through merchant class; tied to technology, transportation, trade; but also tied to emergence of the modern state and modern firm, both means of organizing human activity . as noted in the reading, capitalism is marked by state-market interdependence . state needs the market to generate revenue to support the state . market needs the state to solve the collective-action problems it cannot solve itself 1 (collective-action problem defined as “tragedy of commons” – rational self-interest cannot achieve its objective by acting alone, eg in the market; need co-operation, eg rules provided by the state) . plus, we have capital-labour interdependence; again, each needs the other, even though locked in conflict over division of the wealth produced together The basic dynamic of capitalism and wealth creation . combine factors of production: capital, labour, land (nature) + demand . increase productivity of labour by technology, different machines mean each worker can produce more in the same time; . thus replacing labour by machine (capital) . and replacing land/nature by capital, through creation of synthetic goods n
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