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SOSC 1000 - 21st Century Capitalism (Comprehensive)

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York University
Social Science
SOSC 1000
Terry Conlin

Robert Heilbroner – Twenty-First Century Capitalism (1993) I. Capitalism from a Distance (Pg. 1) Types of societies: A. Traditional As a ruling principle, people are obedient to the ways from time immemorial. The !Kung people Heilbroner describes outline this form of society because they are hunters and gatherers that train their labourers as a form of socialization. He further highlights that these societies are primitive and are “sleepwalk[ing] through history”(Heilbroner, 18). Example: !Kung Tribe B. Command Order of society is derived from a higher power that organizes and solves problems of productions and distribution through enforcement and coercion of its people. Unlike traditional, command requires the coercion as an enforcement mechanism because of the lack of internalized pressures of socialization. Example: Dahomey Kingdom C. Market Organized production and distribution based on a laissez-faire paradigm that everyone does as they please in the interests of the market. The dynamism (continuous growth and change) of the market economy, controlled by constant forces of change in the interests of the market, gives this form the title of economics. Example: Western Civilization Capitalism (Powerful tendencies towards change) i. Industrial Revolution ii. Mass Production of Steel iii. Electrification iv. Automobile II. The Drive for Capital (Pg. 23) “That larger purpose obviously hinges on an understanding of the energy that capitalism generates as a battery generates electricity. Everyone knows the source of this unique social voltage. It is the activity that lies at the heart of the order – the drive to get ahead, to make money, to accumulate capital” (Heilbroner, 26) What is Capital? Wealth whose value does not inhere in its physical characteristics but in its use to create a larger amount of capital. Use = Money  Raw Materials  Finished Goods & Services  Sold on Market  Repeat Social Cost? The power of purchasing controls a certain command over labour. Thus, those such as the bourgeois of society, with affluent (abundant supply) purchasing power, control the organization and distribution of production, and therefore labour. In this way, growth generates both wealth and misery simultaneously because the working class are at the whim of the conditions the upper class bestows upon them. Competition The drive for accumulation invariably requires two capitalists hitting head to head. When this happens, both must create the most efficient system to generate the cheapest goods, to achieve the most capital. Example: Pin Factory can create more goods than separate pin makers Creative Destruction Definition: Displacement of one process or product by another at the hands of a giant enterprise. This term is identified with Joseph Schumpeter. Capitalism: Success and Failure Success Failure Indispensable for material well-being Inseparable from adverse social effects III. The Politics of Capitalism (Pg. 47) – Capitalism as a Political Order Relationship between economy and the state Economy State Appearance Factories, Stores, Banks Law & Order, Military Roles Produce & Distribute Govern Sovereignty International (Bound to no single Domestic political authority) Divided & United Duties of State A. Protect society from violence and invasion B. Protect from oppression from other members within it C. Public works and Institutions Two Realms A. Private Realm – motivation: drive for accumulation B. State Realm – motivation: national power & glory i. Assist & support accumulation because, as you cannot get blood from a stone, you cannot tax a dying economy. In summary… “Business stands behind government in emergencies, while government stands behind business between emergencies” (Heilbroner, 57) Keynesianism – John Maynard Keynes – 1936 New method to kick-start capitalism out of the depression Key Points include (As seen in my lecture notes)  100% Employment  High Government Spending  Positive Liberty (Freedom to reach potential)  Welfare State Capitalism as a Singularity No non-capitalist country has attained the levels of political, civil, religious and intellectual freedom found in all advanced capitalisms” (Heilbroner, 69) Why? Economy within polity allows its citizens to make their livings without interdiction by an all-powerful regime. IV. The Market System (Pg. 71) “Markets are the condu
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