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SOC102H1 (285)

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Deirdre Flynn

Exploitation -Marx and Engel’s thoughts on capitalism: these system works in their infinitely more complex forms. / They argue that in most industrial societies, capitalism divides the population into two opposing societies. - Under the capitalist system, workers are provided with access to this machinery and capital, and they produce goods in exchange for a wage. -The mere threat of unemployment guarantees that workers and their union representatives will comply with the capitalists’ wishes. -This set of economic arrangement: the bourgeoisie can rule and exploit the proletariat, or working class. -Proletariat has three choices: they can work for the capitalists, more or less on the conditions they dictate, and they can form unions and try to change the conditions set by the capitalists, revolt, overthrow the capitals, and create a new, egalitarian, classless society. -Worker cannot do the last option, which is revolution. Making compliance is easier. - The means of production mediates this dynamic between the capitalists and the proletariat. -Marx: In every society, the means of production determines difference in social position: who is in power and who is not. / However, as the technologies of production change over time the means of production also change. ex) from horticulture to framing to industrial work. -In the end, these ever-evolving means of production cause constant shifts in power relations. - Class conflict is an inescapable feature of any society beyond the smallest and least developed, such as hunter-gatherer societies. - But capitalist industrial societies are particularly prone to class conflict, since the interests of the bourgeoisie and the workers are so fundamentally opposed: lower wages and worse working conditions for the proletariat mean higher profits for capitalists, and any concessions by the capitalists to the workers mean lower profits. -Proletariat is forced to work for capitalists in order to survive. -According to Marx, the only way to change this situation is for working-class people to recognize how similar their economic experiences are. -Marx distinguishes two types of class awareness: a class that is aware in itself/ a class that is aware for itself. -False consciousness: - a belief in the ideologies perpetuated by the dominant capitalist class that blame people for their own troubles, rather than the system as a whole. -To oppose and overthrow capitalism, workers need to develop a revolutionary class- consciousness and believe that they are on the winning side of history. - As Marx and Engels declare in the Manifesto: “Workers of the world unite! You have noting to lose but your claims.” < A whole Lot more for a Whole Lot less> -Democratic socialism: comprising small improvements and timely social reform, has dealt with many of the working-class that Marx and Engels put forward. - Capitalism-> Globalization: Workers after all divided by other factors that make them unlikely to come together as a single revolutionary group. - The Great Depression of the 1930s, and the world recession that begin in 2008 have failed to set off a class revolution. -Despite Marx and Engel’s predictions, capitalism has survived. - It has endured thanks to a combination of protection by Western governments, and to the war making that has yielded profits, increased productivity, and a boost to employment rates. - Our modern version of capitalism has introduced factors designed to appease working class. th -Since the mid 20 century, Western workers (especially in the US and Canada) have lost their class-consciousness and shifted their focus to identity politics (inequalities based on race, sexuality, and even age) - An unionized manufacturing job have been lost to overseas workers, Canadian and American workers have lost their political voice. -Today, few workers have read The Communist Manifesto -Today working class: remains unlikely to revolt since its lack of class-consciousness. -But, as Marx recognized, the development of such class-consciousness has always posed a huge challenge. -Successful mobilization requires successful organization -Protest and revolution need tight organization and loyal membership: everyone must share the risks and dangers. -This expelling so called free rider. -Class based organization such as trade unions needs to be able to mobilize their members behind strong leaders-> must ensure that the group exercises self-control (not self-expression)and work toward collective interests( not individual ones). -Class mobilization forces people to blindly trust union and party leaders; to value equality over liberty; and to work toward long-term, instead of short-term, goals. - Workers will only agree to this kind of self-sacrifice if they have ominous, repellent enemy. -In Marxian theory, that enemy is exploitation. -The control and use of an economic resource- be it capital, property, or technology-to profit at the expense of the workers. -Marx, however, based his theory of exploitation (* Labour theory of value) , which focuses on the forced extraction of surplus from workers. It is this labour theory of value that allows capitalists to exploit and benefit from the poverty of the workers. -In capitalist societies, workers-who lack access to or control over the means of production-are focused to sell their labor power to whoever owns the means of production. -Workers are forced to survive from paycheck to paycheck, and meal to meal. -Viewed this way, surplus value is the difference between the wages a worker receives and the value of the product he produces. -The idea that labor is the supreme source of all wealth was not a unique Marxian contribution. (common belief shared by most early political economist: Adam smith) - Adam smith: if workers own their own means of production goods would be priced in proportion to the labour needed to produce them. -h/w later neo-classical economists backed away from theory of surplus value because it was too abstract; no one could measure the surplus value workers were producing. - Today, the notion of surplus value remains widely rejected. Mainstream economists, and even many Marxists, recognize its technical defects. - Marx’s original theory: used the term exploitation to refer to economic unfairness, including notions of disadvantage, trickery, greed, and dehumanization. -Today sociologists: used the term exploitation in a more general sense( Max Webber, another founder of sociology, ) -Among modern sociologists, exploitation means profiting unjustly form the labor of others. -In wirght’s analysis, there are three principles or criteria of exploitation: inverse interdependence exclusion, exclusion, and appropriation. - Marx’s theory: adopted the problem of alienation. -Marxist: meaning that it follows Marx’s classic theories. -Neo-Marxist: meaning that it is a reinterpretation or reworking of those classical theories. -The book, Labour and Monopoly Capital, published in 1974 by Harry Bravermen: Braverman was able to provide an insider’s perspective on working-class experience. -He proposes that modern work, while demanding ever-higher levels of education and expertise, has become increasingly mindless, bureaucratic, and alienation. It has been divided economically and intellectually, with one class of people acting as robots, merely operating machinery, and another class acting as experts and mangers. ; Barverman’s argument for the ever-increasing mindlessness of works seems to have been correct. (Technology advance have made work even more meaningless, underpaid, and exploitative.) -Third world workers who toil in conditions similar to those seen during the Industrial Revolution, global capitalism has meant exploitation. -In Canada, many of the jobs that were considered white-collar and middle-class during Braverman’s time are now becoming more repetitive and unfulfilling than before. ex) simply require monotonous data entry into a computer file. -Ultimately, theses changes to employment opportunities are meant to increase profits. -One managerial strategy used to this end : often disguised as “job enlargement” or “reorganization”. -Fever ppl produce the same output, reducing the money that goes toward wagers, thereby yielding greater profits. -Another management strategy creates the illusion of employee decision-making that gives workers a chance to produce to participate by choosing between fixed, insignificant alternatives. (Theses strategies are often framed as helping to humanize work by creating an interesting fast-paced environment in which there is never a dull moment.) -Studies of consumerism, addiction, and religious fundamentalism consistently find a trend toward people’s continued, desperate search for meaning. < A Life long Debate > - Marx’s theories were revolutionary both in his time and in our ideas. (the basis for an entire socialist empire: the so-called communist Block of nations, centered on the USSR and China in the 20the century. - Marx’s economic theory seems too simplistic for today’s world. -Marx’s economic theory > all of social cultural life (economic relations are thus the structure of society, while socio-cultural relations are merely the superstructure over this economic foundation.) - In Principle, Marx denies that ideas and beliefs can shape social and cultural life, except to the most superficial degree.( this is the different from Max weber, another founder of sociology whom we mentioned earlier. ) < Max Weber > - It is in this respect that Marx differs most from Max Weber. - Max weber born in Germany. His mother= Calvinist orthodoxy. - Theses biographical facts would later influence Weber’s intellectual development. - He believed that Calvinist Orthodoxy who adopt the hard work and he would be able to overcome a natural tendency toward laziness and self-indulgence. - While he was professor, he wrote lots of books: about spanned geographies and epochs. - Even though Weber was only 19 when Marx died Weber’s biographies have often said that these two scholars appear to be in debate with one another in terms of their ideas on class and power. - Unlike Marx, Weber considered ideas-whether they were political, economic, or religious-to be just as important as economic relations. - This belief forms the basis of Weber’s most influential work on the topic, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. - In his book, Weber proposes that religious ideas played a key role in why the East developed differently. -Weber argues argue that values associated with ascetic Protestantism and especially Calvinism-like the emphasis on hard work, sobriety, and frugality all of which Weber himself held dear- stimulated and supported the development of capitalism, bureaucracy, and the Western rational-legal state. -For Weber, capitalism is not a purely material phenomenon, as Marx claimed. Instead, he argues that capitalism rests on certain production, some of which cannot be solely explained by relations of production. Theses include religious ideas; capitalist relations of production reflect uniquely Protestant beliefs about working hard and striving for success. - This explains, according to Weber, Why the most sophisticated form s of Capitalism arose in northwestern Europe and not in India, china, ancient Israel, or the Roman Catholic Mediterranean areas of Europe. -Weber’s earlier work on comparative religion supports this thesis, providing evidence based on a deep analysis of faiths both within beyond European borders. -Weber also extended Marx’s definition of class, incorporating some non-economic aspects of social life. - Weber: class position is not only about economic relations of ownership, but it is also about education and skills, making it more broadly a social position. -Marx: a class is a group of people who share a certain relationship to the means of production, be it as capitalist-owners or powerless wage-laborers’. -So, Weber would define a class as a group of people with similar economic interests opportunities, and condition, whose material wellbeing is significantly affected by their education and skills. (Nuanced definition than the one Marx provided, as it takes into account the complexities of modern economic life) - Weber’s definition may therefore be more easy applicable to the Canadian class system. eg. Not like a neat layers in a cake- they are more like an Italian Sandwich. - Making calss distinctions may not be as simple and clear-cut as Marx seems to have believed. - Marx was correct in arguing that social class is fundamentally linked to the work people do, but he seems to have been less correct in his argument that this work-status connection is only mediated by people’s relation to the means of production. -The linke is more complex than that, people in similar relations to the means of production may differ widely in their earnings, the nature of the work they do. - A self-employed business worker, for instance is a different kind of capitalist than the larger-than-life factory owner Marx imagined. -Weber’s definition becomes helpful: In the Weberian sense, class is determined by people’s market position in the economy- that is, by how much money and status they gain from their occupation-not by their relation to the means of production. -Weber also expanded on Marx’s idea of class formation. -In addition to the processes of exploitation and class- consciousness that Marx put forward, Weber saw that classes from through exclusion. -> By this he meant that classes fight to keep their distinction and privileges, often subdividing into smaller status groups, or sets of people with a shared social position with similar ideas of prestige, esteem, and honor. -Viewed another away, class is a special kind of status group organized around a variety of social differences. (Religion, ethnicity, nationality, regional location, or even race, -The chief feature of a status group just like that of a class is the practice of drawing bo
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