Thomas Hobbes (mentioned in: Schusky ‘The Hystory of social Science )p30
17 century English philosopher that did work on political philosophy. The background to his work was
political and social instability, which led him to study human behaviour.
Hobbes established the human behaviour as a legitimate area of studies. He stated that humans are
competitive by nature. The only way to achieve social stability is through partial limitation of personal
freedom and subjecting to a common power. He moved away from the idea of natural order that was
the backbone of classical philosophy and laid the groundwork for modern liberalism.
Hobbes also was engaged in a debate with some of Aristotle ideas on human nature. For Hobbes, unlike
for Aristotle, man is not a social creature, and tends to be an individualist.
Hobbes suggested that humans own their selves; self is a commodity. , the idea of owing ourselves was
revolutionary. It is one’s right to use his body/mind in any way he wants to satisfy his needs. Latter,
Adam Smith will be influenced by these ideas and write the Wealth of Nations.
Immiseration (Heilborner) p40-42
This word comes from misery and used by Heilborner. With the creation of the Capitalism, a new misery
has been created. The “new” misery is an economic side effect that resulted from wealth accumulation.
Wealth accumulation centre moved to manufactories that benefit the middle class consumers and the
owners but do not benefit the people working in them.
Manufactures workers perform repetitive operations, which, according to Smith, cause their intelligence
Workers are exploited and working long hours and getting a low wage.
Also connects to Reinhart’s thoughts on alienation (felling of powerlessness, meaningless and isolation
in workers). Alienation causes Immiseration.
There is an increasing number of workers that are miserable. Some of the reasons are: work linked
illnesses and the lack of personal life.
Capitalism has its price. That while benefitting some, it worsening other’s condition. Dominant Idiology (Marchack ) 61
Ideology to its types is explained by Marchack. It is a specific set of ideas, perceptions, values and beliefs
that are most widely shared and has the greatest impact on social action at any particular time in any
Ideology for itself is very important for social order as it functions as a guideline to understanding the
world and gives justification to power. Without ideology there would be no government.
It helps to understand and judge historical events. For example, the story of Columbus. As the dominant
ideology changed, so changed the perspective on the story. Columbus is no longer a hero that
discovered America, he is now a cruel man that brutally murdered innocent people to satisfy his
It defines the political right and wrong. Heilborner stressed that without a dominant ideology, the
economic world would have been chaotic. Without ideology, no one is protected from the greedy
Holmberg’s mistake (Mann, A view from above) 48-50.
Holmberg was an 20 century anthropologist that lived among indigenous people and studied them.
His work later was the guideline to evaluate other native populations. He stated that the natives were
an unimpressive people who had existed for thousands of years without innovation or progress. He
claimed that they had no real history prior to European contact. Holmberg's Mistake is the recent
realization that many of our assumptions about Native American life may be incorrect because most of
our observations of their cultures were made while these peoples were under occupation.
Significance: For many years, white people saw themselves as superior to all other races; it was the
dominant ideology. As time passed and new discoveries were made, it was clear that the white race is
not the only one that had a rich cloture. It shows how history is not always true and it’s shaped by
ideology. This mistake taught us to look for more evidence rather than forcing an ideology based
Westray (Comish, Glasbeek and the documentary)
Westray was a coal mine in Nova Scotia. In 1992 a methane explosion in the mine took the lives of 26
miners. After the disaster, it was discovered that the mine operated with multiple safety violations that
lead to the explosion. None of the mine managers got charged or sentenced as there were not enough
evidence. Company owners hid behind corporate mask and were not accused either. Significance:
1. It shows how the rich and the powerful can escape criminal charges because they have political
connections and money.
2. It illustrates how human life becomes worthless when money is involved. The corporation wanted to
make money fast and to minimize expenses; therefore, they never listened to the workers and were
cheap on equipment and training. Since the government was also benefiting from the mine, it closed it’s
eyes on how the mine operated.
3. It demonstrated alienation. The workers at the mine had no control over the safety violations as they
were afraid to lose their jobs. Most of them had no other job perspectives other than mining.
All these demonstrate the negative aspects of capitalism.
This combination of myth and history is suggested by McNeil. He stated that these terms are related as
they both tell how things got to be the way they are by telling a story. By combining these two words, he
suggests that history as we know it is not completely truthful.
Reading Zinn, one can see the significance of McNeil’s Mythhistory. Zinn tells the story of Columbus. It is
not the story that most of people were familiar with. Zinn wrote about the cruelty and the greediness of
Columbus and his people. People were astonished to hear that story since that was not what they
knew. They have been told a different story, in which Columbus was a hero, the negative facts were
omitted and the positive ones were emphasized.
It shows us that every story should be critically approached and there are many other historic events
that should be re-examined.
Dissenters (Documentary by Burke)
They were a group of people in the 18 century that separated itself from the Church of England, that
was the main authority at that time. As a result, they were rejected by the public, sanctioned,
discriminated and seen as dangerous rebels. Some of them moved to live in separated communities.
- The dissenters pushed themselves away from the conservative church. They began the modern,
liberal society. Where there is no one obsolete power, where people decide for themselves
- Since they could not buy land, work for the government or the public they had to find other
things to do. Some studied science, while othe