What is the distinction that Reading 4.3 makes between owners and employees? Give an example of each.

  • Owner is someone who makes money off of the labor of his/her workers.
  • Employees are people who work for an owner, and whose labor provides value. The employees themselves only sees about 2 hours work of the value that they have provided, the rest goes into the owners pocket.
  • A good example would be the owners of Starbucks vs the barista that works at Starbucks.

How do you understand the quote by Adam Smith on pg. 28? What is it saying about labor?

  • “Adam Smith, one of the founding theorists of capitalism, noted in 1776
    that ‘labor … is alone the ultimate and real standard by which the value of
    all commodities can at all times and places be estimated and compared. It is
    their real price; money is their nominal price only.'”
  • My understanding of the above quote by Adam Smith is that the labor needed to create or obtain a commodity is directly related to the cost/worth of said commodity; more labor equals higher cost/worth.
  • This essentially means that when purchasing anything, we are essentially paying for the labor that was put into creating/obtaining our purchase. This would make the workers one of -if not the- most important part of this exchange.

What are your thoughts on the main argument of Reading 4.4 that class is NOT an identity?

  • The main argument for why class is NOT an identity in Reading 4.4 is that class is not about “common status”, but is about “interests and actions”. Now, before going further, we have to acknowledge that Heideman does not state that socialists do not believe that class is NOT an identity, instead they believe it to be MORE than that. I, personally, can see how class can be viewed in such a way. Even though class can be something that we are born into and, some might believe, unable to change like other forms of identity, Heideman points out that socialists DO believe that class can be changed if only the workers stepped into their power and stood up against the capitalists. Since the capitalist systems is so interdependent -the workers depend on the capitalists and vice versa- this gives the workers some form of power if only they are brave enough to take it.

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?

  • The close from of dependency between class structures that is mentioned in Reading 4.4 is the dependency between the workers and capitalist that employ them. The capitalists have control of the societies productive assets which forces society to depended on them at any cost, at the same time capitalists count on workers to be willing to produce for them. An example of this interdependent relationship would be that of a boss and his/her worker. The boss requires the workers to be willing to work for them while creating a surplus of profit, and the workers need the boss to be willing to hire them while agreeing to work for the wages the boss negotiates.

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