- What is the distinction that Reading 4.3 makes between owners and employees? Give an example of each.
4.3 makes the distinction that employees provide labor, while owners make profit off of the labor but without adding much value themselves. For example, the owner of a restaurant franchise doesn’t make money off of their own labor; they charge franchising fees and may take a percentage of profits. An employee, however, is vital to creating the value of the company. Their labor creates the service and product that is being sold, and they are compensated below the value they have added by providing labor, with a large amount of this value going to the owner.
- How do you understand the quote by Adam Smith on pg. 28? What is it saying about labor?
I understand Smith to be saying that nothing has inherent value until labor adds value to it. Therefore we should appropriately value labor higher than we do, because without it, a commodity or service doesn’t exist or have value.
- What are your thoughts on the main argument of Reading 4.4 that class is NOT an identity?
Identity is something you choose to align yourself with; and are independent of action. Their existence may be in relation to something else, but they are not because of or in spite of what we do. Class is a way of dividing us based on the relationship between worker and capitalist, and it is only defined in relation to each other and by our actions.
- How do you understand the argument Reading 4.4. makes when stating that “class structures are built around a close form of dependency”? What is this close form of dependency, and can you think of an example?
“Class structures, then, rest on a particularly close form of dependency” (Heideman, 6) because the existence of one necessitates the existence of the other, and vice versa. That owner of a restaurant franchise makes no money without the exploitation of labor from their employees, and their employees rely on the owner to give them work, exploit their labor, and pay them for less than their value add. This exists because the worker risks lack of survival by not complying with the capitalist society and its exploitation of worker labor.