In order to move from a theory of alienation to a theory of exploitation, Marx develops a concept of class and of the capitalist mode of production. He developed these in The Communist Manifesto, the Grundrisse and Das Kapital. Marx argues that what sets the capitalist mode of production apart from the commodity mode of production is not only the accumulation of money; the capitalist mode of production is characterized by the use of labor power as a commodity to create more value. The capitalist compensates the laborer enough for his labor power to reproduce the commodity (the labor power), but the laborers' power produces additional value: a surplus value for the owner. The worker is exploited when he does not keep or control the value created by his own labor power. Marx argues that the capitalist system forces people into one of two classes: the capitalist bourgeoisie or the proletariat class of wage laborers. However, this is not empirically accurate historically or in our contemporary moment; experience has demonstrated that a middle classâ€”including artisans and agricultural workers who control their own labor power and productsâ€”that do not fit into Marx's model of the capitalist mode of production.
00:00 - Chapter 1. The More Familiar Karl Marx 09:14 - Chapter 2. Theory of Exploitation 38:49 - Chapter 3. Classes in History 45:00 - Chapter 4. How Many Classes?
Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website: http://open.yale.edu/courses
This course was recorded in Fall 2009.
This course provides an overview of major works of social thought from the beginning of the modern era through the 1920s. Attention is paid to social and intellectual contexts, conceptual frameworks and methods, and contributions to contemporary social analysis. Writers include Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Montesquieu, Adam Smith, Marx, Weber, and Durkheim. This Yale College course, taught on campus twice per week for 50 minutes, was recorded for Open Yale Courses in Fall 2009.
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