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Lecture 2

Lecture 2 - Class and Inequality in Canada

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Geography 2410A/B
Jeff Hopkins

Geography 2410B January 14, 2014 Lecture 2 Class and Inequality in Canada 1. Capitalism: Explained, Pros, Cons 2. Canada’s Economic Class Structure 3. Class Myths (January 21) 4. Class as Personal Attributes 5. Class as Geographical Capitalism Economic system in which all or most of the means of production are privately owned and operated for profit, and the investment of capital is privately determined: an in which production, distribution and process of goods, services and labour are determined mainly through the influence of the forces of supply and demand in the operation of a free market Capitalism Explained • Economic system • Means of production all/mostly privately own and operated for profit (land, labour, captal/materials) • Private investment & private profits • Supply and demand of free market determine: o Production o Services o Distribution OF o Labour o Prices • o Goods Mixed Economy (Canada) • Acapitalist economy in which government actively engages in managing, investing, profiting and restricting the market place o Production (domestic businesses: tariffs and taxes) o Distribution o Prices • Political Left versus Political Right o Aquestion of the role of government in the economy NDP CONSERVATIVES • More government regulation • Less government • Same/higher taxes • Lower taxes • Spend surplus on social programs • Return surplus • Less privatization • More privatization Strengths & Weaknesses of Capitalism PROS CONS • Rewards individual initiative (when rich give back) • Efficiency has a price (homogeneity over everything now) • Efficiency (costing costs) • If it doesn’t make money, it is not worth looking at • Prices (fair and competitive, allowing profit for Geography 2410B January 14, 2014 Lecture 2 investors –whopper vs Big Mac) • Individual over community interests • Self-organizing • Profit over people and environment • Rewards risk takes (investors) • Trade co-opts and dominates other cultures • Competition rewards efficiency o Globalization = Westernization/Americanization • Competition rewards innovation • ‘Natural’Unemployment 3-15% • Trade promotes common interests • Exploits workers: do not share in big profits • Creates material wealth • Creates material wealth for owners • Wealth ‘trickles down’ • Excessive & unequal distribution of wealth/income • More disparity, the more social problems there are (crimes, violence) • Growth stops at one point, therefore problems has to occur Capitalism’s Foe: Karl Marx • German philosopher (1818-1883) • Critical of capitalism • Boss exploits workers: Bourgeoisie / Capitalist Class Exploits the Proletarian / Labour Class Canada’s Economic Class Structure (Marxist Perspective) The Capitalist Class (aka. Bourgeoisie) • 3% of Canadian population • 1000 people own 80% of all corporate stocks and bonds; property owners Middle Class (aka. ‘Petty Bourgeoisie’) • About 17% of Canadian pop • Salaried employees (six figures) • Work place ‘autonomy’ o Self directed • Professional occupations o Doctors, lawyers, CEOs, accountants, etc. • Wealth from intellectual property –knowledge, admin skills; not... The Working Class (aka. ‘Proletarian’) • 80% of Canadian pop • Largest and most occupationally diverse: semi-professional to minimum wage • Salaried or waged • Little/no work place autonomy • Most jobs need no university/college education • Many in denial think they are ‘middle class’ Geography 2410B January 14, 2014 Lecture 2 Class Myths Myth of Class Equality • ‘Working’class – proletarians think they are ‘middle class’ o ~80% (4/5 people) •
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