Discussion 5.1- Jasmin Amigon

  1. Two key concepts in this video are the means of production and labor. In your comment, explain how you understand the means of production and labor. Give an example of each.

Means of production are privately owned rather than owned by the laborers and their products are sold in a market for profit. An example of means of production could be small business owners that promote their product on Etsy, the website provides workers a virtual workspace to promote their product which supports the seller by keeping their business running by providing materials to make a product. Since Etsy charges a monthly subscription fee of $15.00 USD and sales tax. This reveals that means of production are a material part of productivity and a tool used in the production of commodities. Labor is essentially the time it takes to produce a commodity and it’s the only thing that can increase the value of a product. This means, that the extensive time a worker spends on a commodity the greater the value.

  1. Another important concept in understanding social class is value. Based on the ideas presented in Video 5.1, what is value?  What gives “value” to value, what makes something valuable? 

A product’s value is increased by what you have and the amount of labor that went into it. For instance, Marx believes value is the ‘socially necessary abstract labor’ embodied in a commodity. Value is essentially what something is worth which could range from historical, high to low in price, or sentimental significance it brings. All these examples could impact something’s value. 

  1. How are labor and value related? What’s the relationship/connection between the two?

Labor and value are connected because labor can be measured to determine its value. The more extensive labor to produce a product the greater the value.  

  1. How do you understand the difference between labor and labor power? Hint: this is a key difference, give it your best shot based on what the video says about it, and your own ideas. We’ll clarify and develop it in our discussions, and in my video comments.

Labor is essentially the time it takes to produce a commodity and it’s the only thing that can increase the value of a product. Next, Labor power is what a worker sells to an employer. When labor power is applied it is the only commodity that can increase the value of what you have and is found only in people; the ability to work.

  1. Surplus Value: what is it? Why is it important to know about, in our study of social classes? Think about an example of surplus-value?

Surplus Value is the excess value produced by the labor of workers over the wages they are paid. the value of the commodities produced by the worker in the course of a day is greater than the value of a worker’s own labor power. The surplus-value doesn’t go to the worker but to the capitalist. Capitalists use the worker’s surplus value for profit essentially. For instance, capitalists can sell the commodities produced for a greater amount than that paid to the worker in the form of wages. An example of surplus-value could be capital gains from property sales. It is important to be informed about surplus value in this study of social classes because it explains the instability and how exploitative the capitalist system can be.

Discussion 4.2-Jasmin Amigon

  1. Owners are wealthy individuals who live on investments such as stocks, rents, and other property income. The wealth-owning class receives a large income that comes mostly from the labor of others. For example, owning a company can accumulate a considerable amount of wealth because employees are doing almost all the work. On the other hand, employees are working people who live on wages and salaries. The employees are paid substantially less than the value they produce. For example, garment employees are paid below minimum wage and work for long hours for big clothing companies. The distinction between owners and employees can be determined by the range of income within both classes. 
  1. Human Labor is a great good to society because it makes our daily lives possible. The more labor employed in production, the greater the value the item created in exchange with other items on a relative basis. Adam Smith’s theory of value is based on production rather than exchange. The more extensive human labor the more expensive a product is. Human labor is essential to making society function. 
  1. I found it really interesting how class is more than another identity. Class is conceptually symmetrical just like race or gender according to liberals. On the other hand, socialists see class as two things which are capitalists and workers. However, liberals deny that class concerns any particularly special kind of social power. It’s seen as an identity like any other, and any particular focus on it can only be the result of pleading or want to ignore other forms of oppression. 
  1. Close dependency is an intense dependency someone has because of their social class. The power capitalists’ have over class results in control over society’s productive assets such as the workers which force them to be dependent on them. For example, The U.S. depends heavily on China for providing low-cost goods and support its own exports. China and the US rely on each other’s supply chain for input into goods and services consumed within their borders.

Discussion 4.1- Jasmin Amigon

  1. Do you notice any similarities in the way social class is discussed in readings 4.1 and 4.2? Do you notice any differences in the way these two readings DIFFERENTIATE between social classes?

Income is a powerful determinant in where one lands on the social class. Age is also a factor in where one places themselves on the social class scale. I noticed that one’s urban, rural, or suburban residence aslo has a role in how social class functions in our society. For example, in the reading “Inequality and New York’s Subway” we were able to identify one’s medium household income depending on their residence on the subway map. 

  1. Pick the station closest to where you live. Using the concepts from Reading 4.1, what social class tends to live in your neighborhood? Are you surprised (or not) by the answer? Do you feel it is an accurate representation of the people living in your neighborhood?

The closest station to where I live is the N train Astoria Blvd. It appears on the chart to be a median household income of $56,154 which puts my neighborhood on the working and middle class. This information doesn’t surprise me because I have noticed The cost of living in Astoria is getting rather high due to the commercialization and new developments. I feel like the data is an accurate representation of the people living in my neighborhood. 

  1. Based on Reading 4.2, do you notice a general pattern about social classes in NYC?

I noticed that on the N train line ending uptown the incomes are relatively around 50 thousand but going towards downtown  Brooklyn the lowest median income is $26,719. The highest median income on the N line is on 5th av being $171,000 which isn’t surprising because it is in the city.

Discussion post 3.2- Jasmin Amigon

A repressive state apparatus are agencies that impose a punishment due to violence. The different fictions are the army, police, juror system, and imprisonment.

Althusser’s choice of the word “repressive” is to emphasize how the repressive apparatus controls you through the threat of violence which can be through police, courts, and prison.

Ideological state apparatus is a term used to designate the facilities like schools, churches, the media, and the law. These are state spaces controlled by individual beliefs that were applied to states. 

All the State Apparatus work both by constraint and by philosophy, with the distinction that the repressive State Mechanical assembly works enormously and dominating by restraint, while the Ideological State functions hugely and overwhelmingly by belief system.

Modern television is an example of ideology because it is a network that broadcasts entertainment to a board section of different people. When television features an act favoring a group of people the opposing group has a rivalry. For example, when a show includes favoring a male character with superior privilege over a female character this might be targeted more towards a republican party, opposed to a Democrat party whereas they would like to see a female playing a leading role, etc.

Discussion post 3.1- Jasmin Amigon

Ideology is an accumulation of different ideas and or beliefs that are shared among a group of people, culture, or individual. Usually, ideology refers to a collection of political beliefs or a set of ideas that describe a particular culture. It exists to establish certain political beliefs that, serve the interests of some people, or to make a working role in relation to social, economic, and political.

An example of ideology could be feminism and identity political views.

American conservatives believe that a large government poses a threat to individual liberty, they usually support and a strong national defense, traditional American values, and the free market are believed to provide great economic opportunity and benefit many people. On the other hand, Liberalist cherishes equality as the primary political view and they see the government as a necessary agent in promoting equality. Family and parents can influence one’s political outlook in positive or negative ways. Social groups can also play a role in where one stands politically. A big difference or dividing line is how Liberal policies generally emphasize the need for the government to solve people’s problems. While Conservative policies generally emphasize the empowerment of the individual to solve problems. An example could be the welfare system. Liberals support welfare because it provides for the poor without welfare life below the poverty line would be intolerable. However, conservatives oppose long-term welfare because they believe there should be opportunities to make it possible for poor and low-income workers to become self-reliant. 

Althusser’s definition of ideology is how ideology can be a very useful tool that exists primarily in school, media, and politics. Since school is mandatory for all kids the ideology in schools plays a huge role in our society. School is a powerful ideological state apparatus because they are forced and it’s a way to get kids to think in a certain way, behave and comply with authority that will prepare them for the future. 

Discussion post 2.2- Jasmin Amigon

  1. The language of “Law and order” is just a cover-up between racists and their targets. The advantage for racists and police by their choice of words covers up the fact they are stopping people of color with the  “law and order” which is just a cover-up of the fact they stopped their target because of their race and gives them the ability to enforce racial segregation behind the wording of “Law and Order”.
  1. I believe the Southern Strategy still influences American Politics because we witnessed it first hand during the presidency of Republican Donald Trump. For example, his beliefs and racial division won political support among white voters in the South by appealing to racism against people of color. His slogan “Make America Great Again” was a thin excuse that white supremacy could make resistance to movements that challenge systemic racism.

Discussion 2.1- Jasmin Amigon

1. M. Alexander claims that the main explanation of why so many people are sent to jail in the U.S. today is deeply wrong. She states states that many people are sent to jail in the U.S by the government’s “zealous” efforts to address rampant drug crime in poor, minority neighborhoods. This is why there is a major increase in mass incarceration in the United States. The media created negative racial stereotypes about poor city residents especially the poor African American communities.  

2. Racial disparities in rates of incarceration can’t be explained by rates of drug crimes because studies have revealed that people of all ethnicities sell and use drugs at essentially similar rates. Not only minorities use drugs, they can be consumed by anyone but we see media and society perceive minorities as only using or selling drugs. 

3. Social media has a strong influence on society and their perception of the black community and racist stereotypes have influenced the American Penal System. Governments mass incarcerations of the black community and use of punishment is a form of social control.

Jasmin A- Introduction

Hi! My name is Jasmin Amigon I am 19 years old and I am in my last semester at BMCC, and I’m majoring in Liberal Arts because I have not yet chosen a specific major. I am transferring to a senior college for the fall (Brooklyn College). I’m planning on choosing to major in Business- Marketing because it is what interested me the most. I work with children at a gymnasium which is interesting for me because children have always come to me and I enjoy working with them. My hobbies include dancing, spending time with family, baking, and drawing/painting.