SOSC 1340 Lecture Notes - Friedrich Engels, Feudalism, The Communist Manifesto

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6 Apr 2012
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SOSC 1340 October 19, 2010
“*The Division of labour+ is the necessary, though very slow and gradual consequence of a certain
propensity in human nature...the propensity to truck, barter and exchange one thing for another
“Give me that which I want, and you shall have this which you want”
“It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer or the baker that we expect our dinner, but
from their regard for their own self-interest”
- Origin of the division of labour is within human nature
Lecture 1 Outline
- Smith’s critique of mercantilism and his Theory of Capitalism
- His view of human nature
- His conception of the division of labour
- Technological innovation
- Social consequences of D of L
- Library Research Assignment: Austerity
Adam Smith (1723-1790)
- Scottish political economist and considered a champion of capitalism
- Critiqued then dominant Mercantilist economic policy and practice
- Aware of power relations that are changing
- Claimed the public good would best be served by individuals pursuing their own self-interest
- Critique of ‘mercantilist economic doctrine’
- Wealth is not the amount of money held in the national treasury but depends on the
productivity of labour (labour theory of value)
o The more you expand the economy the more you increase D of L
- D of L presupposes the existence of markets
- What is the division of labour? Surplus Production
- Markets the expression of ‘man’s natural propensity to truck, barter and trade’
- Suggests an understanding of capitalism as ‘natural’ and that is has always existed
- Said ‘it is better to be good at one thing that you can produce very well’
- Traditional view: social position determined by/at birth but ideology of divine right of kings
eroded with the emergence of the modern state
- The emergence of the capitalist market: Smith proposes a new conception of human nature
consistent with this: self-interested individuals
- The ‘opulence’ of a “civilized country” is only possible due to the “assistance and cooperation of
many thousands” of workers
- How do we get self-interested individuals to cooperate? We need help to survive in a ‘civilized
country’. Where do we get it? Friends? Community? Exchange through the market
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