Elina's study guide class & capitalism
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  • 1. CLASS:  shared  social  and  economic  position;  shared  life  chances  for   prosperity.   How  are  certain  ‘classes’  of  people  created?   Let’s  take  the  example  of  capitalism  and  its  agents  (capitalists)  in  the  West:   Max  Weber,  1905.  “The  Protestant  Ethic  and  the  Spirit  of  Capitalism,”  pp.  499  -­‐  505.     Blackboard.     How  are  the  protestant  ethic  (Calvinism  is  the  sect  of  Protestantism  that   Weber  connects  to  capitalism)  and  the  spirit  of  capitalism  connected?     17th  century  Protestant  ethic  was  key  in  spearheading  capitalism.  Hence,  a  change  in   the  institution  of  religion  created  a  change  in  the  institution  of  economy.  Hence,   Weber  is  arguing  that  before  Calvinism  and  its  partner  work  ethic  (Protestant   ethic)   CAPITALISM   DID   NOT   EXIST   IN   THE   WORLD   !!!   A   change   in   the   institution   of   religion   created   Capitalism.   To   reiterate,   Capitalism   like   all   other  economic  systems  is  socially  constructed.  Weber’s  theory  is  contended   and  we  will  discuss  this  in  the  context  of  ‘Globalization’  towards  the  end  of  the   semester.     Synopsis  of  “The  Protestant  Ethic  and  the  Spirit  of  Capitalism”  &  Definitions:   You  will  not  be  tested  on  the  synopsis;  it  is  provided  as  a  useful  contextualization  of   Weber’s  theory.   Weber   begins   with   the   puzzle   of   distinction   between   the   modern   and   traditional  world.  He  writes  that  the  modern  world  operates  on  the  basis  of   rationality,   focused   on   the   most   efficient   means   to   accomplish   an   end.   He   argues   that   Protestantism   was   necessary   for   capitalism   to   take   off.   Weber   conducts   a   case   study   of   Germany,   demonstrating   that   different   rates   of   economic   activity   correlate   with   religious   affiliation,   central   Germany   being   most  protestant  and  highly  economically  active,  and  Northern  Germany  being   mostly  Catholic  and  minimally  politically  active.     Rationalization  (know  the  first  definition  for  the  exam):  Defined  in  2  ways:  1.   Process  of  most  efficient  means  to  accomplish  an  end.    2.  Etymology  (origin  of   term):  reason;  means  by  which  we  cognitively  organize  reality  and  our  universe  for  the   purposes  of  cognitively  structuring  an  environment  that  is    manageable  &  predictable.   Concept   developed   in   the   Middle   Ages   in   Europe   by   means   of   the   Bible   &   Greek   philosophy.      In  1904,  Weber  visits  the  U.S.  on  a  2  month  tour.  He  is  struck  by  industry  and  by   Benjamin   Franklin-­‐   Poor   Richards   Almanac   which   becomes   a   regular   publication   with   wide   readership.   Franklin   proverbs/aphorisms-­‐   “time   is   money”,   “a   penny   saved  is  a  penny  earned”,  “money  begets  money.”    
  • 2. Weber  is  confounded  by  the  philosophy  of  avarice;  greed  for  wealth,  that  he   observes.   He   notes   that   Americans   feel   a   patriotic   duty   to   make   money   through  a  profession,  sustaining  a  ‘Cult  of  Money’.     After  he  returns  to  Europe  her  writes  “The  Protestant  Ethic  and  the  Spirit  of   Capitalism”  where  he  argues  that  capitalism  has  a  moral  basis.     He  traces  the  ethic  of  working  hard  for  G-­d’s  glory,  and  not  enjoying  the  fruits   of   one’s   labor,   remaining   austere   (plain   without   luxury),   and   avoiding   spending   money   to   the   17th   century   Protestant   sect   of   Calvinism.   Calvinism   emphasized   self-­discipline,   choosing   a   profession   as   your   calling   in   life,   subverting   your   personal   desires,   and   pursuing     desires   for   G-­d’s   glory.   Calvinism   taught   that   we   are   hand   picked   by   G-­d,   we   are   predestinated   for   salvation;  however,  one  does  not  know  if  one  is  predestined  for  salvation,  and   this   leads   to   extreme   worry.   Hence,   to   resolve   this   problem,   Calvinists   reinterpreted  the  scripture  as  the  following:  one’s  lot  in  this  life  is  suggestive   of  predestination,  if  successful,  have  self-­discipline  in  this  life,  then  there  is  a   likely  corollary  in  other  world.     There  is  a  somber  tone  at  end  of  Weber’s  essay;  he  is  critical  of  the  modern  world   which   is   ‘rational’   and   justifies   action   on   the   basis   of   efficiency   (know   that   highlighted  in  grey  for  the  exam).  Weber  writes  that  the  world  has  become  de-­‐ mystified,  stripped  of  magic,  by  process  of  rationalization;  quintessential  form  of  the   new  rational  world  is  bureaucracy:  action  on  the  basis  of  rules.  Weber  wrote  that   people  become  titles,  credentials,  and  numbers.  People  fall  into,  are  trapped  into   the  Iron  Cage  (or  Iron  Shell,  depending  on  translation)  of  bureaucracy.  This  is  a   somber   and   sad   assessment-­‐   original   beliefs   falls   to   the   wayside,   become   inconsequential,  now  belief  in  money  has  become  belief  in  itself,  and  we  no  longer   understand  why  we  are  accumulating  money  for  the  sake  of  accumulation  itself.   Iron   Cage   (know   for   exam):   Weber’s   concept   for   being   trapped   in   modern   ‘rational’   bureaucracy-­‐   devoid   of   magic   and   mystery,   where   the   environment   is   reduced  to  highly  organized  structure  and  the  person  reduced  to  a  credential  (easily   replaceable).     Weber’s  definition  of  class:  Economic  and  social  status.     Karl  Marx  and  Friedrich  Engels,  1888.  “Manifesto  of  the  Communist  Party.”     Blackboard.     In  Marx’s  conception  of  the  modern  world,  there  are  2  classes  of  people   based  on  ownership  of  capital:       1.  Proletariat  are  composed  of  the  masses  who  DO  NOT  OWN  CAPITAL  AND   ARE  DEPENDENT  ON  WAGE  LABOR;  they  are  dependent  on  those  who  own   capital  to  supply  them  with  work.    
  • 3. According   to   Marx’s   definition,   the   following   are   examples   of   Proletariats:   Bill   Gate’s   wife   (unless   she   herself   owns   capital),   most   house   wives,   BU   students,   academics,   factory   workers,   McDonald’s   workers,   pilots,   lawyers,   police  officers,  physicians,  secretaries,  teachers.       2.  Bourgeoisie  are  OWNERS  OF  CAPITAL  and  rule  over  the  P.  According  to   Marx’s  definition,  the  following  are  examples  of  Bourgeoisie:  Taxi  drivers  in   Boston   (required   to   own   their   own   taxi   cab),   factory   owners,   CEOs,   deli   owners,  flower  shop  owners,  Angel  investors  (invest  their  own  capital),  stock   holder  of  Airbnb.       The  Bourgeoisie  and  Proletariat  are  in  conflict.  The  B.  dominate  the  P.  The  P.   are  subservient  or  enslaved  by  the  B.     Marx  writes  that  the  Bourgeoisie  dupe  the  masses  by  inculcating  them  with  a   false   consciousness   (false/perverted   value   system).   For   this   exam,   you   have  to  be  familiar  with  the  false  consciousness  of  commodity  fetishism:  an   obsession   with   consumer   goods   which   leads   to   alienation   (a   sense   of   disconnection,  isolation;  also  translated  as  depression)  from  the  products  of   labor,  process  of  labor,  from  fellow  man,  from  self.       Example  of  commodity  fetishism:     The  ‘magic’  ‘special’  quality  we  assign  to  designer  shoes,  purses,  etc.     Example  of  alienation  from  fellow  man:       Working  long  hours  and  not  having  time  to  connect  with  others.     Example  of  alienation  from  the  products  of  labor:  A  worker  who  is  ‘a  cog   in   the   machine’   is   responsible   for   gluing   the   sole   of   Nike   sneakers   for   16   hours  a  day.  This  is  his  only  role.  He  does  not  have  ownership  of  the  final   product   and   feels   disconnected   from   it.   He   feels   disconnected/alienation   from  the  product  of  partially  his  labor.       Equality  of  opportunity=  fair  game     Equality  of  condition=  level  playing  field   Equality  of  outcome=  equal  rewards         Meritocracy=  rule  by  those  why  have  greatest  effort,  rule  based  on  merit.     Aristocracy=  rule  based  on  inheritance     Democracy=  rule  by  people  
  • 4. Shamus  Khan,  Privilege  &     Lauren  Rivera.  2012.    “Hiring  as  Cultural  Matching:    The  Case  of  Elite  Professional   Service  Firms.”    Vol  77  pp.  999-­‐1022.    BU  Library  Online:     Capital:  Resource   Cultural  Capital:  non-­financial  social  asset,  such  as  education,  intellect,  style  of   dress,  speech,  posture,  accent,  aesthetics  (physical  appearance),   extracurricular,  etc.         What  beliefs  and  phenomena  lead  to  cultural  reproduction?     1.   Social   closure:   opportunity   or   resource   hoarding,   excluding   others   from   opportunities  and  resources.  Examples:  1.  High  fee  for  joining  a  country  club;  those   who  cannot  pay  are  not  granted  entry.  2.  High  cost  of  private  university  education;   those  who  cannot  find  the  funds,  do  not  attend.  3.  Cultural  standards  (certain  ‘classy’   extra-­‐curriculars)  for  entry  into  elite  law  firms;  those  who  do  not  list  sailing,  are   excluded  from  candidacy,  denied  the  opportunity  to  work  at  referent  firms.       2.  As  Paulie’s  demonstrate,  a  belief  in  meritocracy,  hard  work  leading  to  success   perpetuates  a  certain  culture,  and  with  it  inequalities.       3.  Culturally  omnivorous  -­‐  consuming    both  ‘high  brow’  and  ‘low  brow’  culture  and   justifying  exclusion  on  the  basis  of  others  being  close-­‐minded.       3.  Habitus:  set  of  dispositions,  tastes,  etc.  that  are  second  nature;  embodied  class;  for   example-­‐  the  posture  and  gait  of  an  athlete,  dancer,  actor,  etc.       4.  Elite  firms  hiring  on  super  elite  college  affiliations  and  on  elite  extracirriculars;   social  closure  via  elite  credentials;  super  elite  graduates  get  jobs;  elites  looking  for  a   cultural  match  when  granting  entry  into  their  institutions.       What  facilitates  social  mobility?   1. Monetary  and  cultural  capital     2. Formal  and  informal  education  (the  unofficial  curriculum  of  St  Paul’s)   3. The  strength  of  weak  ties-­  those  with  larger  social  networks  have  more   people  to  tap  when  climbing  the  status  ladder.     4. Being  a  cultural  match  for  the  institution  you  are  planning  to  enter.       The  Social  Construction  of  Poverty:  What  causes  poverty?   We  covered  racism  and  primary  and  secondary  deviance  in  the  last  study  guide.  The   rest  is  an  addition  and  overlaps  with  the  social  construction  of  deviance.     Post-­‐Industrial  Change  
  • 5. • William  Julius  Wilson,  1996.  “When  Work  Disappears:    The  World  of  the   New  Urban  Poor.”    Blackboard.     Synopsis:   Pockets   of   poverty   (Urban   poor;   underclass)     develop   in   urban   settings   following  a  large  transformation  of  cities  in  1970’s.  Middle  class  expands  into   suburbs  in  50’s-­70’s  and  cities  lose  capital.  Driven  by  transformation  in  work,   globalization   of   economy,   erosion   of   manufacturing   base,   plants   (steel,   weapons,   paper,   commodities,   cars)   first   move   to   the   suburbs   and   then   off-­ shore;   factories   become   vacant.   In   their   wake,   disorder,   waste   land   city,   middle  class  whites  disappear-­  WHITE  FLIGHT,  then  black  middle  class  leaves,   less  educated  remain,  low  skills  and  little  work.     Before,   a   $5   a   day   wage   was   a   highly   coveted   job;   for   that   wage   one   could   support  a  house  wife  and  family.     Wilson   is   making   case   for   the   power   of   globalization   and   subsequent     deindustrialization  creating  a  culture  of  segregation.     To   reiterate,   Wilson   argues   that   deindustrialization   and   the   flight   of   manufacturing  jobs  created  city  poverty.