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1) How is it possible to change society, for Marx, by using the relationship between the economy on the one hand and the political invirenment on the other. What conclusion did Marx reach for the mid 19th century and why were the components incompatible? According to Das Kapital (1865) how is capitalist profit derived? What was the specific economics crisis that Marx saw? What is the significane of the Labor Theory of Value?
2) Why was accumulated wealth more important in America than in Europe? What was the starting point for Veblen, and why was this important? According to Veblen, what was the real purpose of economic analysis? From his book, The Theory of the Leisure Class, why was the leisure class important for society, and how did it contrast with Marx's view of class conflict? Explain how, according to Veblen, the business people must resort to "sabotage" in order to make profits.
3)What is the essential problem concerning economics, specifically regarding the analysis of economists prior to as opposed to after Marx? Explain how Frederic Bastiat thought of the world as making no logical, economic sense. According to Henry George, what was the primary problem within the economic system and what was his solution? Why was Savings the cause of the economic problem for John Hobson, and how was this problem "solved
by imperialism? For Alfred Marshall, whay was time the cornerstone of his analysis, even though it did not take into account any real events?
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Marxism and other facets of economic history are presented.
1a. The term political economy originally meant the study of the conditions that determined the relative wealth or poverty of nations or states. Communism in its original meaning is a social theory and political movement for the direct and communal control of society towards the common benefits of all members, the society being the communist society. Communism, or communist society is the name of the social formation, which, according to Marxism is a classless society in which all property is owned by the community as a whole and where all people enjoy equal social and economic status.
Marx believe that just as society has transformed from feudalism to capitalism, it will transform to socialism and eventually communism. Communists believe that this will be accomplished by revolutionary means. Marx believes, that the domination of the bourgeoisie will be replaced by the domination of the working class. According to the Communist Manifesto, all history can be explained in terms of class struggles. In each society, a small ruling class owned or controlled the means of production; the rest was constituted of the vast majority of people who owned and controlled very little.
During the current stage, capitalism, the dominant bourgeoisie (capitalists who controlled the means of production) exploited and oppressed the proletariat (industrial workers). Karl Marx in his work Das Kapital explains in detail how capitalists buy labor from workers, giving them the right to sell the productive result of labor at a profit. This, Marx believed, creates class stratification and an unjust, unsustainable distribution of wealth. Marx thought it was only a matter of time before the working classes of the world, realizing their common goals, would unite to overthrow the capitalists and redistribute the wealth. He felt the establishment of communism would be the inevitable outcome of a historical process.
1b. The philosophical basis of Marxism dialectical materialism. It uses the concepts of thesis, antithesis and synthesis to explain the growth and development of human history. The thesis (idea) needs its contradiction (antithesis). They interact as ideas to formulate another idea. The three laws of dialectics are:
The law of the unity and conflict of opposite
The law of the passage of quantitative changes into qualitative changes
The law of the negation of the negation.
1c. According to Das Kapital capitalist profit is derived from 3 main sources of income
a. Capital (“profits” for the capitalists)
b. Land (provides land owners with rent)
c. Labor (earns wages for workers)
A laborer sells his "labor-power" as a commodity. According to Marx, "the value of labor-power is the value of the necessaries required to sustain its proprietor." Therefore, the Capitalist purchases a laborer's work in exchange for a “fair” wage. Because the Capitalist must make a profit and the simple exchange of commodities does not produce any profit, Marx claims that the Capitalist is then forced to extract his profit from the labor of his workers; this means that he must “lower ... the wages of the laborer below the value of his labor power."
Profit can be increased in a number of ways. The most common method was to lengthen the word day for workers while paying them same wages. A second method would be the "more intense utilization of labor power" and the emergence of large-scale cooperative enterprises which subjected the Proletariat to a "serfdom" of wage-slavery, according to Marx.
A machine allows for round-the-clock use. "The longer a machine works, the greater is the mass of the products over which the value transited by the machine is spread, and the less is the portion of that value added to each commodity." The machine running at full capacity day and night will probably wear out sooner, but this is desirable because more profit can be extracted before the machine becomes obsolete.
Manufacturing with the use of machines gave Capitalists a huge advantage in that employees now had only one task to complete (for example if shirts were being produced one person would make the sleeves, another would make the collar and one would put in the buttons). Therefore, many skilled artisans were forced into less skilled, lower paying jobs. Capitalists sought the employment of women and children, therefore limiting the opportunities for men. With more and more family members entering the workforce the subsistence level for each worker could be gradually lowered. As labor-power became cheaper, the perceived value of individual workers was further diminished, fostering a cavalier disregard for their safety, health and comfort in the grim factories and workshops that they worked in.
1d. Marx believed that tension between the capitalists and the proletarians would lead to socialism. The stated would take over means of production and manage it. However this dialectic does not end. Because beauracrats are in charge now and workers/citizens work there will be a final revolution which will lead to the withering away of the state. No ...
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