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Final Examination Study Guide

Final Examination Study Guide - Final Examination Study...

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Final Examination Study Guide/Sociology 101/Summer Session A 2008 1. Karl Marx a. Structure of capitalist mode of production – the capitalist social order i. Forces of production 1. Division of labor, or the organization of the production process. Under capitalism, the specializations of tasks are advanced through factory methods. The aim is to replace skilled craftsmen working alone in their shops with the semi or low-skilled assembly-line laborers working together in a factory. The result is that more products can be made more cheaply, and in less time. Production becomes infinitely more efficient, and wealth/profit grows exponentially. ii. Relation of production 1. Proletarianization - capitalist must create a class of workers, or of "free" or dependent laborers, who have no means of subsisting except for selling their labor for wages. a. Surplus army of unemployed 2. Legalization of private property - workers consent to their own exploitation through legal job contracts, enforceable by law. Employers have the legal right to use the workers' labor, and the product of that labor, as they see fit. iii. Commodity fetishism : "Consumption" society in which consumer consciousness overshadows producer consciousness. Production and producers become invisible. The masses are indoctrinated with the illusion that the value of a product derives from its market or exchange value (i.e., its supply and demand), when, in fact, value is created in production by the labor of workers. Thus, production and producers become "alien" under capitalism; the true source of wealth remains hidden by the status allure of consumer goods (i.e., status symbols). b. The Crisis of Capitalism i. Growing contradictions between the forces and the relations of production 1. Cycle of overproduction/under consumption: Capitalist forces of production create a highly efficient productive system that constantly produces more products in less time for less cost. But at the same time, the capitalist relations of production (private ownership of property) concentrate the increasing wealth into the hands of fewer and fewer capitalists. Workers are impoverished and cannot afford to purchase the products they make. That
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