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Midterm 2 Review

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Darryl Burgwin

1. What is materialism? What is a materialist theory of history?  Materialist perspective o Able to show that the very first acts of all societies was always economic because human beings had to satisfy their everyday material needs before anything else  Hegel –Idealism o Philosophic perspective put forward idea that the ultimate condition of human existence and development can be arrived at only through the examination of abstract philosophic categories o Interconnectedness between humans and historical realm  Reason,history, and existence o Believed that the primary form of subjection is self imposed (slaves consciously agree)  Marx Objection o Categories put forward by Hegel refer neither to concrete human activity nor physical reality , but abstract processes grasped as ideas o Ideas do not live or act, they do not have needs, only humans o Inequality and hardship not natural outcomes of history but resulting from social disadvantages o H: it originates from conscious thought existing in the minds of individuals  M: material obstacles to hinder individual freedom o Economic necessity binds slave to master  Materialism o Overcome the problem posed by idealist philosophy and its abstraction of society and history o The very first things that human beings must do is satisfy their material needs by obtaining food, shelter, and clothing o Must satisfy needs through labour and productive activity o Produce to satisfy material needs  Theory o History begins in a series of economic acts leading to different economic epochs in which the structure of society takes the form of the productive relations  Theory should change history  The German Ideology o Two principle/aims  Outline the conditions of the break with German speculative philosophy and to settle accounts with Hegel  Develop and expound the materialist conception of history by setting out the views of materialism in opposition to Hegelian philosophy o Three main premises which shaped his understanding of society and economic history  Human beings must be in a position to obtain food, shelter, and clothing to live (production of the means to satisfy human material needs  Humans need to distinguish themselves from the animal world to the extent that they must produce the means to satisfy their primary material needs  The way in which human beings produce depends on what they find in nature and what they must produce to survive o All societies tend to divide themselves into unequal classes o 2. Clearly distinguish between: the means of production, the relations of production, the mode of production, and the forces of production. How are they related to each other?  Core of the materialist theory of history  Means of Production o Every stage of history there are certain productive forces of land, animals, tools and machinery o Anything in the external world which is used to obtain livelihood, produce, income and acquire material needs o Economic necessities cannot be produced on one’s own, must have access to the means of production o One class tends to always owned or monopolized the means of production  Leads to the division of society into economic classes  Between owners and non-owners o Non owners  Direct producers of physical labour  Inability to obtain unobstructed access to the means of production o When fall into private hands a reversal occurs, workers no longer employ the means of production freely on their own, but rather the means of production employ them o Restrictions  Hiring policies, work schedules, wages, and wage levels  Some never hired, racial/ethnic bias, untrained workers  Penalize the worker in terms of infractions related to the hours of labour, the conditions of work and the rules regulating the conduct of the worker during the work day  Reducing wages for faults or mistakes  Slackness, lateness, dismissa;  Push wages below level of means of subsistence  Constant supervision  Restrictions imposed on how the MoP were to be used provided a direct advantage to employer, dis to worker  Relations of Production o economically bind one class to another in the production process o connection between the way a society produces and the social roles allotted to individuals in the production process o ownership residing in one class created tow distinct roles in production  producers  non-producers  compelled to enter into relations in order ot satisfy their material and economic needs o subordinated to the class who are dominant over them o labour for both themselves and for their bosses in terms of economic value through labour  relations entered into against the will of the worker, level of compulsion that did not exist for other classes o Three elements which make them conceptually key to the MTH  Ability to be transformed into relations of dominance and subordination  Ability of the relations of production to become a physical and economic disadvantage for one class  Ability of relation of production to be backed up by coercive sanctions legitimated by the political and legal institutions of society o Tend to appear in all societies in stage of production  Mode of Production o In acquiring new productive forces human being change their mode of production; and in changing they change their way of earning their living and all their social relations o Different ages form epochs  Forces of Production  Instruments, equipment, etc for producing livelihood  Can only be put into operation through human labour o Relations of Production  Always about how the forces of production are to be used to produce and one key idea is that one class are always the proprietors over these forces o Ability to determine the system of social relations arising from it 3. Compare and contrast Marx’s analysis of feudalism as a mode of production with his analysis of capitalism as a mode of production.  Marx thought that the division of society into distinct and separate classes was a law of social and historical development  Divided history into three main economic stages/EPOCHS o 4 central tendencies  Perpetuate the division of society into classes  Confer prerogatives and privileges to the dominant class  Economic, political, and social inequality between classes  Unequal class relations are supported by religious legal and political institutions  Laws of Historical Development o Wanted to confirm his thesis that the historical development of society tends to be economic in nature o Tribal o Ancient o Feudal  Agriculture is the main source of economic production and ownership of MoP in hands of land owning class  Sole proprietors over the land as the principle means of economic production  Landed property, class system where peasant perform the labour, landholders social prerogatives  Europe and England 9-17 centuries  Legal backing for landholder rights, power of coercion of serfs o Capitalist  Development of industrial society  Destruction of feudal society o Peasants divorced from the land o Class of wage labourers  Transition from economy of country to city  Widespread emergence of private property and developed class system of capitalists and labourers  Means of productions consist of machinery, technology, and industrial means  Wealth drawn from working class who are primary producers  Focused on economic stages/epochs instead of religious  Each stage, has three characteristics o System of production and division of labour; different forms of property; and a system of class relations that emerge from the ownership over the means of production giving rise to the productive relationships 4. Outline and discuss Marx’s theory of value and his theory of surplus value. What are the implications of these theories for the analysis of society?  The Theory of Value o Origin  The commodity has a dual nature in that it is both an object of utility and bearer of value in exchange o the value that a commodity has does not exist in the body of the commodity as a substance o relative form value  value must be an expression of something else, not in the commodity  the value of a commodity can only be arrived at in relation to other commodities which are seen to have value  in relation to another commodity o value emerges at the moment when one commodity is compared with another commodity product of social relations o exchange value  emerges only at a historically given epoch, when capitalist production, the value of a commodity is brought into a relation of exchange with another commodity o relative value  value determined in relation to some other commodity o Equivalent value  What the commodity is equal to o Fetishism  Display of unusual devotion toward material thing or object in the belief that it has extraordinary abilities and powers  Excited intense feelings of attachment and desire  First used to describe totemic religions, setting some objects apart from other because of religious powers  Northern Australia o Totem object of desire and subject to religious worship  The tendency in capitalism for it to be possible that value appears to be a substance inherent in commodities, point in history when we are inclined to assign value and power to the things we produce, greater value in the relations we have with these objects  Only arises in societies whose commodities enter into exchange, acquire powers of desire, prestige on those who posses  Brings about fantastic reversal of the value of form  Interaction of things assumes human qualities o Reification  Reverses the process the human beings make society by making it appear as if society gives birth to human beings  Belief that society and human behaviour stem from the categories of production, when it is the other way around  Characteristic of thinghood become standard of objective reality o System of Exchange  Objects circulate market with other objects of value  Theory of Surplus value o Free labour o Important aim of capitalism is to make profit  Must be able to find a commodity on the market which has the property of creating more value than it costs to purchase  Human labour has two attributes that fill this demand o It is found one the market and can be purchased as if it were a commodity o It produces more value in the production process than the price it is purchased at o LABOUR POWER IS THE COMMIDITY THAT CAPITALISTS BUY o Labour  Human activity o Labour power  Capacity to add use value to commodities  Two attributes  Found on market, purchased as if commodity  Produces more value than the price purchased o Human Labour  Is the actual work and physical activity incorporated in the body of the labourer o To find labour power on market as commodity two conditions  Worker must be in position to sell labour  Must seem to be free proprietor of his own labour capacity, being able to dispose of as see fit o Free labour  Ability to dispose of labour  Appearance of freedom  The worker is compelled to offer labour and cannot exist without doing so o Reproduction of the Worker  Process by which the worker must use part of their wage to maintain their actual phys existence as workers  Must be replaced o Necessary Labour  The time in the work day it takes fr the worker to produce wages the cost of his or her own maintenance  50% of work hours produce the cost of maintain the self o Surplus Labour  The other part of the day , expend labour but no value to self  Adds value to products, value created belongs to capitalist not worker s  Exploitation of the worker o Surplus value  The value created by surplus labour o History  Not a new phenomena  Feudal society  Work for self, must give some to the landholder  Corevee requirement  Ancient  Slave labour is all free labour  Capitalism  Only time where it appears paid o Wages  Industrial wage form was a deceptive method of compensating the worker, make unpaid labour appear as paid 5. Outline and discuss Marx’s theory of alienation. How is his theory of alienation related to other aspects of his theory?  A state of disruption and change taking place in the human labour process and system of social relations as a result of the development of modern society  Hegel o Human beings essentially strive for self realization in history, a process Hegel referred to as 'self actualization'. o individuals do not realize themselves directly but, in fact, always encounter obstacles which act against them.  'oppositions' in which the external world acts to negate the individual by "shutting out their existence." o that human beings can experience their own activity as something external to them, something that is 'not self' and described this moment in human experience as alienation.  Marx o Human beings define themselves in nature and history primarily through their labouring activity. o labouring was so central to human existence that it was a part of their being or essence, part of what defined them as human beings. o Labouring, was the primary means by which human beings realized themselves in nature and history. o Labour defines human beings in at least three specific senses:  (i) first, through it individuals exert control over nature and natural obstacles and therefore feel themselves to be active rather than passive agents in history;  (ii) second, labour is the source of human existence in that it produces material necessities of food, shelter and clothing; and  (iii) third, labour is part of human self definition since through it individuals control their circumstances and actively feel confirmed in their activity. o Marx went on to reason that labouring activity connects human beings to existence in three distinct ways.  (i) First, it connects them to nature so far as they are reliant on the means of production to fulfil themselves by producing food, shelter and clothing. Thus, they are connected to the means of production in terms of economic subsistence and survival.  (ii) Second, labour connects them to the means of self affirmation since it helps them gain control over nature and obtain well being and existence.  (iii) Third, it connects them to the product of their labour to the extent that the product has a use value which is directly used as a means of existence. o According to Marx, alienation breaks the essential connection that human beings have to the self defining aspect of their labouring activity.  Alienation from the Product of Labour o Product alienation occurs when human beings become estranged from the things they produce o In a feudal society what the labourer produces belongs to them directly, and they consume it to satisfy their immediate e
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