GNED 1202 Study Guide - Final Guide: Putting-Out System, Wage Labour, Proletariat

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Study Guide
1. Background information on Engels: life and times in which he wrote (ie. The
society that he was critiquing)
a. Pre-industrial cottage industry capitalism
a.i. Cottage industry capitalism- ppl involved in business have their own
shops, wives, and children, everyone had ownership in means of
production. Economy worked in a rational way, main mechanism that kept
it all in BALANCE was the INVISIBLE HAND- idea that I will make my
shoes, I won’t sell them cheaply because I am maximizing profits, I won’t
sell them so expensively or I will lose business. On its own market will do
what is best.
a.ii. Understanding the ways by which individuals act out; they act out of self-
interest, steering society into the direction of the greatest good ->
“Cottage industry capitalism” – what he is writing about ( village -> in
village there is a baker who owns a shop -> in another part of the village
someone makes shoe in basement and lives above his shoe spot ->
another part of village someone makes beer -> If one of them charges too
much the neighbor is going to open up a shop to meet interests of other
a.iii. What puts these cottages out of business? INDUSTRIAL SCALE
a.iv. Transition to Urban industrialization, away from cottage industry
b. Conditions of the working class
b.i. Urbanization (poor sanitation, lack of affordable housing, unemployment)
what comes with this is crime according to More
b.ii. Depressed wages- supply &labour (too many people unemployed).
People willing to work for least amount of money for a job = labour supply.
b.iii. Crime
b.iv. Problems existed in factories that were highlighted by Parliamentary
committee for royal commission
b.iv.1. Excessive hours
b.iv.2. Shortage of mealtimes
b.iv.3. Poor conditions of work: dust, heavy lifting, filth
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Study Guide
b.iv.4. Dangers to health: constant bending, exhaustion, deformity
b.iv.5. Cruelty of overseers: strapping, heavy penalties for
unpunctuality and so on
b.iv.6. Fear was engendered in a culture of violence
b.iv.7. Complicity of parents in promoting child labour
b.v. Inevitably leads to class struggle
c. The class struggle
c.i. The ‘haves’ solidifying their advantage over ‘have-nots’
c.ii. The evermore-efficient exploitation of labour by capital is the only means
to realize greater and greater profit
c.iii. Converting personal worth into exchange value- labourer left with nothing
but labour to sell, their personal self-worth is their exchange value or the
wage you can make.
c.iv. Recognized labour is source of value- it is labour you input to put value
on a product. Value of commodity (everything put into making product).
c.v. But what is the exchange value of personal worth as labour (average
price of wage-labour)? MINIMUM WAGE- base wage for a labourer under
supply conditions set by oversupply of workers- which is the basic
smallest amount to pay someone to bring them into work the next day.
d. Bourgeoisie vs proletariat
d.i. Bourgeoisie- the social class owns capital and its associated culture, part
of the ruling class(es), own means of production, control means of
coercion (army, law, police, prisons)
d.ii. Proletariat- the social class that only has labour to sell.
d.iii. Therefore this sets us up for an understanding of the central conflict in
CAPITALISM (CAPITAL VS LABOUR)- not same as saying rich vs poor.
Under capitalism labour produces capital for someone else -> the capital
is reused and put into economy to produce more capital. Labour produces
capital for capital owners in which they are able to reinvest wealth to
produce more capital -> further use of more labour.
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