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Lecture 2

Geography 2410A/B Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Walmart, Equal Opportunity, Blu-Ray

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GEOG 2410A/B
Jeff Hopkins

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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
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:
Mixed Economy (Canada)
A capitalist economy in which government actively engages in managing, investing, profiting and restricting the
market place
oProduction (domestic businesses: tariffs and taxes)
Political Left versus Political Right
oA question of the role of government in the economy
More government regulation
Same/higher taxes
Spend surplus on social programs
Less privatization
Less government
Lower taxes
Return surplus
More privatization
Strengths & Weaknesses of Capitalism
Rewards individual initiative (when rich give back)
Efficiency (costing costs)
Prices (fair and competitive, allowing profit for
Efficiency has a price (homogeneity over
everything now)
If it doesn’t make money, it is not worth looking at
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Geography 2410B
January 14, 2014
Lecture 2
investors –whopper vs Big Mac)
Rewards risk takes (investors)
Competition rewards efficiency
Competition rewards innovation
Trade promotes common interests
Creates material wealth
Wealth ‘trickles down’
Individual over community interests
Profit over people and environment
Trade co-opts and dominates other cultures
oGlobalization = Westernization/Americanization
‘Natural’ Unemployment 3-15%
Exploits workers: do not share in big profits
Creates material wealth for owners
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’
oSelf directed
Professional occupations
oDoctors, 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’
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