Indonesia 77%, I know one of them is you.
Indonesia 77%, I know one of them is you.
In medieval Europe feudalism was a political and economic system during the middle ages from around the 8th century to the 15th century AD so it was a system that lasted for many hundreds of years feudalism involved four levels of society the king was at the top as he was a leader of the entire kingdom, beneath him with a feudal lords also known as Nobles or barons and these were the world these landowners.
Following the lords and knights or vessels and their roles of the fighting warrior who usually battled on horseback finally on the bottom of society where the peasants or service peasants or farmers who worked the land painting the crops and animals they were the poorest members of many of the world made up the biggest majority of the population.
In these for social levels feudalism worked through an exchange of land for protection money or food let’s have a look at this in more detail in the early Middle Ages Europe was very unstable due two wars and invasions the Kings were quite weak and struggled to rule their entire kingdom by themselves the system of feudalism arose as a matter of security for these European kings who decided it would be best to divide their land.
So that they do not have to look after such a large area alone if i strengthen my kingdom it would then be harder for foreign people to invade in the feudal system the King would keep share the land for himself this would be used for his talents and hunting forest for example the rest of the kingdom was divided between nobleman who have been loyal to the king the size of the land they received will depend on their personal ties with the king and the status of their family.
Those Lords would then keep some of the land of themselves and divide the rest up between lots of their choosing in turn the knights would give some of their portion of the kingdom to peasants who became serves to retire to the land and were not free to leave of course.
These Kings nobles and knights we’re not giving away their land for no reason as I said earlier feudalism was based on an exchange of land for protection, money and food looking at this flow chart you can see on the right hand side the granting of land to people of a lower social status as I’ve just explained but on the left hand side you can see what is being exchanged for this giving a land on the very bottom of society the peasants will work great food and tending to animals they were the background of society as all the food they grew was not just for themselves and their families who would actually feed the entire kingdom.
So the Knights would give land to peasants, so that I had farming area to grow the food in return the knights would protect the peasants this was the exchange of land for labor next up on the scale we can see that knights we give a land by the nobles on the condition that the Knights would be loyal to the Lord in fighting battles were needed this again was an exchange of land for labor on the top of the scale the nobles were given land by the king.
So that they would provide these knights to the king the role of the nobles was to build up an army be loyal give money to the king and this is what they had to do an exchange for their land so the feudal system is quite beneficial to the king of the top all he had to do was share some of his land and in return he would receive food military protection money and knights at this strength in the kingdom and allowed him to remain in power to summarize what we have learned Europe in the early Middle Ages was weak and under threat from foreign invasion teams needed to share their lens among their people to lessen their responsibilities and so the feudal system was established the order of society was the king of the top than the nobility followed by the Knights than the peasants on the bottom the system was based on an exchange of land for money loyalty and protection and food this helped to secure Europe.
Labour and class. So we’re talking about production, making products, and in order to make any product you first need two things: you’ll need the “means of production.”.
This video is like a product, which I made, and I can show you some of my means of production right now, it’s my camera, my microphone, my tripod, lighting, the backboards I’ve got in my little studio here, and of course – the talent! – as well as the editing software and so on. All of these things I own. But that only gets me a video; in order to get a YouTube video, I need YouTube, the website. That’s the most important means of production for me, and it’s owned not by me but by Google.
This means that making YouTube videos is what Karl Marx called “capitalistic production,” where the means of production are privately owned, rather than owned by the labourers, and the products are sold in a market for profit – in this case Google sells ad space on my videos.
The second thing you’ll need is labour. And Labour for Marx is really important because it’s the only thing that can increase the value of what you have. If you a buy a block of wood and do nothing with it then its value will remain constant. But if you labour to carve that wood into a chair you will increase its value. Now you could try to rip somebody off and sell the wood for more than it’s worth, and supply and demand will come into it, but those things will only affect its price, which for Marx is not the same thing.
He thought that prices would generally be proportional to value, but value he thought was, definitionally, how much labour it takes to make something under normal circumstances. Labour is measured in time, hours and minutes: the more labour time it takes to make something under normal conditions, the more valuable it is. That’s why if you can automate a process then the products become cheaper, because it now takes less labour to make them. If you’ve got a job needs doing takes a lot of special training then it becomes more expensive because the time spent training is necessary labour for doing the job. Time is Money – literally.
This is called the Labour Theory of Value. The “normal conditions” caveat is important here: if you slack off and it takes you two hours to do something that would normally only take one well then the value of the product doesn’t double.
It stays the same ‘coz under normal conditions it would only take one hour to make that. Similarly, if you work really hard and get the job done in 30 minutes, the value of the product doesn’t halve.
Now the Labour Theory of Value is, at this moment in history, unorthodox. Mainstream economics prefers a theory of value called Marginalism: Marginalists say that the Labour Theory breaks down in certain circumstances; Marxists and Post-Marxists say that actually it’s Marginalism that beaks down in the right circumstances, so just bear in mind as we go here that a lot of this is very hotly debated, and as we’ll be seeing later in the series there’s a lot riding on it.
How exactly value becomes price is one of the big talking points, though some economists prefer to just ignore value altogether and just focus on prices, since you can model an economy and find out how to make that mad dolla just by looking at something’s price.
Value brings with it a whole bunch of questions about fairness and whether the price is right, and mainstream economics often prefers to just gloss over those issues. The other big talking point is the so-called “Great Contradiction;” if labour is the source of value then why aren’t the most valuable products made in the most labour-intensive industries?
Some people think this completely scuppers the Labour Theory; there might be ways of getting around it but we don’t need to worry about that, I’m just making sure you know where we are on the theoretical map.
Labour-power, the ability to labour, is, in Marxist economics, the most important commodity in the world. It’s the only commodity that when applied, increases the value of what you have. Labour power is found only in people, and when you go to work you rent out your labour power for the day.
But your ability to work, your labour power, doesn’t just grow on trees. It takes a certain amount of food, and shelter, and clothing and so on, to sustain your labour power from 9 to 5. Now, all of those things have values that can be measured in labour time as well.
So let’s assume that it takes, say, 4 hours of labour to produce everything you need to work for one day. You go to work at 9am, and by 1pm, four hours later, you have paid for yourself for that day. The amount of labour going into you is the same as the amount of labour coming out of you. But you don’t go home at 1pm. You have to stay the rest of the day.
So your boss gets 4 hours labour out of you during which time you are generating what Marx called “surplus value.” Value on top of the value it took to get you there. Profit, essentially. But because the means of production are privately owned, anything you make belongs to your boss or to your company, and they sell the products you make for profit and keep that profit. The surplus value goes, not to you, but to them.
And that right there, in a nutshell, is why Marx thought capitalism was unavoidably exploitative. Even if you’re making a great wage and you’re happy with your job, under capitalism he thought you are always being paid less than what your labour is actually worth. That’s how capitalism works: you hire other people to increase the value of what you have, and then you keep that extra value for yourself. Marx thought that capitalism, and everything that has come with it, is sustained only by exploiting the working class.
But hang on a minute, what was that about “class?” How can you take everybody working in very different jobs and lump them all together into one group called “the working class?” Well, the idea that society is made up of groups, which we call classes that struggle with each other is called “conflict theory.”
And it doesn’t mean that everybody within the same class has exactly the same experience. It just means that we can model society as being made up of those groups. A little bit like in meteorology: when we look at a weather front, we know that not every molecule of air has the same temperature and moves in the same direction, but we can observe trends in groups of them and model those trends.
Marx thought that we could model class conflict so accurately we could even predict the future with it: he thought that society would follow an inevitable progress towards Communism as the relations of the working classes to the means of production changed. This is called “Historical Materialism,” and as we’ll be seeing later in the series he may have been a little hasty there. But it’s not just the working class who get a raw deal, Marx thought.
Remember earlier on we said that capitalism is when the means of production are privately owned. So, how do capitalists get to own them? You’ve gotta have money in order to buy somebody else’s labour – you gotta have money to make money – so how does capitalism get started? Marx’s answer is that it’s usually violence. He lived in 19th Century England, where a lot of capital and property was either being violently confiscated from foreigners – there’s the link between capitalism and imperialism – or inherited from people who, at some point in history, got their wealth through Feudalism or conquest.
Even if people invent totally new inventions, as during the Industrial Revolution they did, the conditions that allow them to do that often come about through that violence.
Yeah, Mr. Green, capitalism just turns men into wolves.
Your purportedly free markets only make slaves of us all.
I’m going to disappoint you by being too capitalist. And I’m going to disappoint a lot of other people by not being capitalist enough. [100% guaranteed] And, I’m going to disappoint the historians by not using enough jargon.
Fortunately capitalism is all about efficiency so let’s do this, Me from College.
OKAY, LET’S TALK CAPITALISM.
So, capitalism is an economic system, but it’s also a cultural system. It’s characterized by innovation and investment to increase wealth. But today we’re going to focus on production and how industrial capitalism changed it.
So let’s say it’s 1,200 CE and you’re a rug merchant. Just like merchants today, you sometimes need to borrow money in order to buy the rugs you want to resell at a profit, and then you pay that money back, often with interest, once you’ve resold the rugs. This is called mercantile capitalism, and it was a global phenomenon, from the Chinese to the Indian Ocean trade network to Muslim merchants who would sponsor trade caravans across the Sahara.
But by the 17th century, merchants in the Netherlands and in Britain had expanded upon this idea to create joint stock companies. Those companies could finance bigger trade missions and also spread the risk of international trade. But the thing about international trade is sometimes boats sink or they get taken by pirates, [Aaarrr!] and while that’s bad if you’re a sailor because, you know, you lose your life, it’s really bad if you’re a mercantile capitalist because you lost all your money.
But if you own one tenth of ten boats, your risk is much better managed. [but is mischief managed?] That kind of investment definitely increased wealth, but it only affected a sliver of the population, and it didn’t create a culture of capitalism.
Industrial Capitalism was something altogether different, both in scale and in practice. Let’s use Joyce Appleby’s definition of industrial capitalism: “An economic system that relies on investment of capital in machines and technology that are used to increase production of marketable goods.”
Industrial capitalism developed first in Britain in the 19th century. Britain had a bunch of advantages: It was the dominant power on the seas and it was making good money off of trade with its colonies, including the slave trade. Also, the growth of capitalism was helped by the half-century of civil unrest that resulted from the 17th century English Civil War.
Now, I’m not advocating for civil wars or anything, but in this particular case it was useful, because before the war the British crown had put a lot of regulations on the economy— complicated licenses, royal monopolies, etc. —but during the turmoil, it couldn’t enforce them, which made for freer markets.
Another factor was a remarkable increase in agricultural productivity in the 16th century. As food prices started to rise, it became profitable for farmers, both large and small, to invest in agricultural technologies that would improve crop yields. Those higher prices for grain probably resulted from population growth, which in turn was encouraged by increased production of food crops.
A number of these agricultural improvements came from the Dutch, who had chronic problems feeding themselves and discovered that planting different kinds of crops, like clover that added nitrogen to the soil and could be used to feed livestock at the same time, meant that more fields could be used at once. This increased productivity eventually brought down prices, and this encouraged further innovation in order to increase yield to make up for the drop in prices. Lower food prices had an added benefit – since food cost less and wages in England remained high, workers would have more disposable income, which meant that if there were consumer goods available, they would be consumed, which incentivized people to make consumer goods more efficiently, and therefore more cheaply.
You can see how this positive feedback loop leads to more food and more stuff, culminating in a world where people have so much stuff that we must rent space to store it, and so much food that obesity has become a bigger killer than starvation.
Thanks, Thought Bubble. So this increased productivity also meant that fewer people needed to work in agriculture in order to feed the population. To put this in perspective, in 1520, 80% of the English population worked the land.
By 1800, only 36% of adult male laborers were working in agriculture, and by 1850, that percentage had dropped to 25. This meant that when the factories started humming, there were plenty of workers to hum along with them. [humming < obnoxious than whistling] Especially child laborers.
So far all this sounds pretty good, right? I mean, except for the child labor. Who wouldn’t want more, cheaper food? Yeah, well, not so fast. One of the ways the British achieved all this agricultural productivity was through the process of enclosure. Whereby landlords would re-claim and privatize fields that for centuries had been held in common by multiple tenants. [they busted up hippie communes?] This increased agricultural productivity, but it also impoverished many tenant farmers, many of whom lost their livelihoods.
Okay, for our purposes, capitalism is also a cultural system, rooted in the need of private investors to turn a profit. So the real change needed here was a change of mind. People had to develop the capitalist values of taking risks and appreciating innovation.
But capitalism isn’t without its problems, or its critics, [“haters” in the parlance of our times] and there were certainly lots of shortcomings to industrial capitalism in the 19th century. Working conditions were awful. Days were long, arduous, and monotonous. Workers lived in conditions that people living in the developed world today would associate with abject poverty.
One way that workers responded to these conditions was by organizing into labor unions. Another response was in many cases purely theoretical: socialism, [gasp, clutch the pearls] most famously Marxian socialism.
I should probably point out here that socialism is an imperfect opposite to capitalism, even though the two are often juxtaposed. [consider that before commenting maybe?] Capitalism’s defenders like to point out that it’s “natural,” meaning that if left to our own devices, humans would construct economic relationships that resemble capitalism.
Socialism, at least in its modern incarnations, makes fewer pretenses towards being an expression of human nature; it’s the result of human choice and human planning. So, socialism, as an intellectual construct, began in France in the border between Egypt and Libya.
There were two branches of socialism in France, utopian and revolutionary.
Utopian socialism is often associated with Comte de Saint Simon and Charles Fourier, both of whom rejected revolutionary action after having seen the disaster of the French Revolution.
Both were critical of capitalism and while Fourier is usually a punchline in history classes because he believed that, in his ideal socialist world, the seas would turn to lemonade, [wut] he was right that human beings have desires that go beyond basic self interest, and that we aren’t always economically rational actors. [truth] The other French socialists were the revolutionaries, and they saw the French Revolution, even its violence, in a much more positive light.
The most important of these revolutionaries was Auguste Blanqui, and we associate a lot of his ideas with communism, which is a term that he used. Like the utopians, he criticized capitalism, but he believed that it could only be overthrown through violent revolution by the working classes.
However, while Blanqui thought that the workers would come to dominate a communist world, he was an elitist. And he believed that workers on their own could never, on their own, overcome their superstitions and their prejudices in order to throw off bourgeois oppression.
[interesting] And that brings us to Karl Marx, whose ideas and beard cast a shadow over most of the 20th century. That’s why hardcore Marxists are literally known as “Bearded Marxists.” [not to be confused w/ “Mulleted Marxists” from the 80’s] These days, that’s an insult. But you know what, Karl Marx, when I look back at history, I prefer the bearded communists.
Let’s talk about some communists who didn’t have beards: Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, Kim Jong-il, Joseph freakin’ Stalin with his face caterpillar.
So, yeah, Karl Marx’s beard, it’s my great regret to inform you that there are some paltry beards trying to take up the class struggle these days. Best Wishes, Marx was above all a philosopher and a historian.
It’s just that, unlike many philosophers and historians, he advocated for revolution. His greatest work, Das Kapital, sets out to explain the world of the 19th century in historical and philosophical terms.
Marx’s thinking is deep and dense and we’re low on time, but I want to introduce one of his ideas, that of class struggle. So, for Marx, the focus isn’t on the class, it’s on the struggle.
Basically Marx believed that classes don’t only struggle to make history, but that the struggle is what makes classes into themselves. The idea is that through conflict, classes develop a sense of themselves, and without conflict, there is no such thing as class consciousness.
So, Marx was writing in 19th century England and there were two classes that mattered: the workers and the capitalists. The capitalists owned most of the factors of production (in this case, land and the capital to invest in factories). The workers just had their labor. So, the class struggle here is between capitalists, who want labor at the lowest possible price, and the workers who want to be paid as much as possible for their work.
There are two key ideas that underlie this theory of class struggle. First, Marx believed that “production,” or work, was the thing that gave life material meaning. Second, is that we are by nature social [St] animals. We work together, we collaborate, we are more efficient when we share resources. Marx’s criticism of capitalism is that capitalism replaces this egalitarian collaboration with conflict. And that means that it isn’t a natural system after all. And by arguing that capitalism actually isn’t consistent with human nature, Marx sought to empower the workers.
That’s a lot more attractive than Blanqui’s elitist socialism, and while purportedly Marxist states like the USSR usually abandon worker empowerment pretty quickly, the idea of protecting our collective interest remains powerful. That’s where we’ll have to leave it for now, lest I start reading from The Communist Manifesto. [noooooo!] But, ultimately socialism has not succeeded in supplanting capitalism, as its proponents had hoped.
In the United States, at least, “socialism” has become something of a dirty word. So, industrial capitalism certainly seems to have won out, and in terms of material well being and access to goods and services for people around the world, that’s probably a good thing.
And this, I would argue, is where Marx still matters. Is capitalist competition natural and good, or should there be systems in place to check it for the sake of our collective well-being?
Should we band together to provide health care for the sick, or pensions for the old? Should government run businesses, and if so, which ones? The mail delivery business? The airport security business? The education business?.
Those are the places where industrial capitalism and socialism are still competing. And in that sense, at least, the struggle continues.
“The general gist of the article is about Monsanto putting vast amounts of articles to debunk all of the suicides that have been committed by farmers in India, due to the company’s control over the cotton seed supply. It goes into the idea that, when a corporation controls seed, it controls life, including the life of farmers worldwide. It was written and published in 2013.”
The love of money/capital is what ruins this world. The government does what companies want when the corporations buy off the politicians. Not into over de generalization. This is addressing profit by any means necessary, ethics has no place in business)… If you aren’t making a profit then you aren’t surviving as a business.