Lecture 1 POLS 1090.doc

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15 Apr 2012
AS/POLS 1090 – Intro to Business, Gov, & Society
Bruce Smardonbsmardon@yorku.ca
Lecture 1 – What is Capitalism? – January 10th, 2012
- Capitalism is a specific way of organizing social relationships.
There is both a historical, and a social component.
- Capitalism is seen as a way to fulfill functions such as trade,
production, etc, to fulfill broader requirements that all societies
- Will focus on the way in which capitalism involves specific
historical arrangements with deep social context.
- At the core of these social relationships is a class relationship
between capitalists and workers.
- “Capital Accumulation" occurs through the organization of
production and its connection to this class relation.
Characteristics of the Working Class:
1. Mobility – the working class can move around depending on job.
2. Segmentation – many decisions in the class based on ethnicity,
race, gender.
Stages of Capitalist Production:
M (money) C (commodities, materials, labour) MP (means of
LP (labour power)
MP/LP = C1 (transformed product) M1 (sales of the
production/profit) = realization on the market of what is
Capital refers to the money invested during the various stages of
Consequences of organizing this way of production:
- There is a conflict between capital and labour of workers over the level
of wages (business’ can lower the cost of wages which will affect the
labour powers cost’s)
- The working class wants more money, but they have no say in it as the
capitalists wants a greater return in their profit so they lower the amount
of wages paid to the workers.
- Potential – One area of labour breakdown is that labour is misplaced by
cheaper sources. Rising unemployment in areas that have higher wage
levels. This then puts higher pressure on wages for workers in rising
unemployment areas. Declining Demand
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