“Democracy in America” by Tocqueville (Book 1, Part 2, Chapter 8) (1835)

Chapter 8: What Tempers the Tyranny of the Majority in the United States

  • I – Absence of Administrative Centralization
    • 2 types of centralization – government & administrative
      • Only government centralization in the US
      • If directing power had both, there’s be no freedom because it have the right to command, & the faculty & habit to perform everything
      • US lacks the tools of tyrants
    • Central government only occupied with small number of matters & doesn’t regulate secondary concerns, nor has the desire to do so
      • wouldn’t expand absolute authority of central government
      • majority can’t make all citizens obey in everything & at anytime
    • Central government’s commands carried out by agents but retarded by city & county governments, who divide the popular will so that even with oppressive laws, enforcement is difficult because of decentralization
  • II – The Temper of the American Legal Profession and How it Serves to Counterbalance Democracy
    • Prestige & influence of lawyers are strongest barriers against the faults of Democracy
      • European political movements are led by lawyers either against authorities or on behalf of authorities
        • Extends power of the king or aristocracy
      • Lawyers have habits & tastes for formality, not the revolutionary spirit, & have privilege of intellectual class with aristocratic tastes
    • In free governments, lawyers are in the leading ranks of the parties, along with aristocracy
      • All democratic movements are led by lawyers
      • Aristocracy & lawyers make natural allies but lawyers have the ability to overthrow governments
        • Love ordered life -> authority is the guarantor of order
        • Less afraid of tyranny than arbitrariness
    • Democracy favors political power for lawyers because when the rich, noble & prince are excluded from government, lawyers take over
    • If they gravitate toward aristocracy & prince, the people can bring them back with the promise of powers
      • Lawyers don’t want to overthrow Democracies but to try to guide it with familiar methods
      • One with the people but aristocratic in habits – make natural liaison between the two
        • Aristocratic nature of the legal mind is largest in the UK & US due to common law & legal procedures
      • UK & US lawyers look at what’s been done while French lawyers look at what’s wished to be done.
      • French lawyers more interested in their own opinions than US & UK lawyers who defer to ancestors, tradition & precedents
        • French laws are opaque but clearly available for all to read.
        • US & UK laws require reading precedents & interpreting them like Egyptian priests
    • In UK, lawyers are the cadet branch of aristocracy. They value laws not because they’re good but because they are old, & don’t want to innovate
    • In the US, people distrust the rich but lawyers effectively make up the political & intellectual upper class & only stand to lose from innovation – making them fairly conservative
      • US’s form of aristocracy
    • Lawyers apply a brake to public passions & ideas
      • Judges are lawyers who like the stability of their office, where their knowledge gives them high standing among peers & political power gives him privilege
        • Judges can be removed by the legislature & some are even elected
          • May lead to bad results someday
    • Americans are reluctant to change civil laws
    • Hardly a political question that doesn’t turn into a judicial one
      • Legal language has been introduced into common speech because it infiltrates society
  • III – The Jury in the United States Considered as a Political Institution
    • Judicial Aspect – English started juries when they were barbarians & have grown attached to it, especially with Enlightenment & have spread it all around the world
    • Political institution – a jury is made of citizens selected by chance & given the right to judge. May have aristocratic members but juries have a republican element – real control is in people’s hands, not the rulers’.
      • True sanction of political law is penal sanction & when that’s missing, law loses power.
      • Man who’s judge in a criminal trial is true master of society
        • Jury puts control into people’s hands
        • UK uses aristocratic juries making it an aristocratic society
        • US – any citizen who votes can be a jury member -> sovereignty of the people as universal suffrage.
          • Responsible for execution of laws along with legislature who has the duty of making laws
    • Laws unsteady if unsupported by mores, which are the only tough & durable power in a nation.
      • Criminal & civil juries -> System infiltrates into business of life & has influence on national character by instilling habits of judicial on everyone’s minds & are the best way to prepare a people to be free
      • Spreads respect for court decisions & idea of right throughout all classes, teaching equity in practice & invests each citizen with magisterial office & a duty toward society & share in government
    • Greatest Advantage – effective in shaping a nation’s judgment & increasing its natural rights
      • it is a free school, always open, where the juror learns his own rights & comes in contact with the best educated & most enlightened members with practical lessons in laws
      • Judges & lawyers only aristocratic body to check people’s movements but without physical power & only influence on people’s mind
      • Civil suits – judge acts a disinterested arbiter but the jury is mostly incompetent & useless.

“Democracy in America” by Tocqueville (Book 1, Part 2, Chapter 7)

Chapter 7: The Omnipotence of the Majority in the United States and Its Effects

  • Democratic government’s essence is absolute sovereignty of the will of the majority
    • Legislature is chose to represent the majority directly for short terms – almost all government power is here
    • Laws weaken the executive to the point where it has no stability
    • Moral authority of majority rule is the number of representations is more important than how they’re chosen & there’s more wisdom in an elected body than in one man
      • power seems more legitimate it by majority
    • vs. ancien régime France – king could do no wrong & any blame was put on advisers, making obedience easier by exonerating the king of responsibility for outcome
    • Parties affect respect for majority because if nation is divided by irreconcilable differences, majority is disregarded as unpleasant to submit to
      • Aristocracy would have to give up its privileges to rule like a majority
  • I – How in America the Omnipotence of the Majority Increases the Legislative and Administrative Instability Natural to Democracies
    • Instability comes from turnover of representatives & Democracy is only applied to most important matters
      • laws & constitutions change, but activity never slows down which causes instability
      • omnipotence of majority & quick execution of laws make laws unstable because improvements are being made all the time
        • e.g. Prison reform was brought up, public got excited, prisoners & prisons were reformed due to the majority wanting it. Penitentiaries compared to old prisons & it became obvious new system was better.
  • II – Tyranny of the Majority
    • Majority shouldn’t have complete control
      • Justice forms boundary to people’s rights & majority is merely a representation of society – can’t go beyond justice & reason
      • Juxtapose majority to minority – no difference in character, only number
    • No such thing as a “mixed government” – society has some principle of action which dominates others
      • When contrary principles occur, revolutions happen & society crumbles
    • Necessary to place one social power over others but freedom is in trouble if that power can’t be restrained & moderated
    • When omnipotence in an authority, seeds of tyranny planted
      • in US, there’s a shortage of guarantees against tyranny
    • If you suffer injustice in US, where do you turn to?
      • All institutions are represented by majority
  • III – Effect of the Omnipotence of the Majority on the Arbitrary Power of the American Public Officials
    • Tyranny can use law as an instrument – no longer arbitrary but usually makes use of arbitrariness, can do without it
    • Arbitrary power can be non-tyrannical if used in public interest
    • Omnipotence of majority favors legal despotism of legislators & arbitrary power & magistrate
      • public functionaries passive agents – freer but rarely abuse power
  • IV – The Power Exercised by the Majority in America over Thought
    • Absolute monarchy can’t completely control thoughts hostile to it from circulating in courts & public
    • King’s power is physical, controlling actions not desires
    • People in US talk when majority is in doubt & then shut up when it’s clear, & act accordingly
      • Less independence of mind & freedom of discussion in the US
      • Only one authority & source of strength/success – nothing outside of it
    • Democracy restrains the intellectual area, threatening those outside of what’s acceptable it with ostracism & persecution
      • Bruyère & Molière criticized government of Louis XIV. As dangerous as this was in France, it would never happen in the US
      • Majority in US lives in perpetual state of self-adoration
    • No literary geniuses because there’s no freedom of spirit – absolutely necessary for them to arise
      • Even Spain under the Inquisition had opposition in public arena
  • V – Effects of the Majority’s Tyranny on American National Character; the Courtier Spirit in the United States
    • Outstanding politicians are rare due to despotism of majority in the US
      • A ton of them during the Revolution to guide men without tyrannizing them
      • Intellectual movement & their greatness brought honor to the nation
    • Courtiers flattered absolute monarchs but majority don’t, & only submitted out of weakness, rather than to abase themselves in bootlicking
      • In democracy, all opinions are given, & public & private life is mingled
        • As in the spirit of the court, put within the reach of all classes to participate
    • Majority having absolute & irresistible sway causes many to renounce their rights if they diverge from it
    • Not many willing to stray from public opinion – which is completely different to the generation of the Revolution
    • Despotism corrupts a man who submits to it than the man who imposes it. The absolute monarch may have virtues but courtiers are always vile.
    • American moralists excuse this by appealing to the majority’s vanity
  • VI – The Greatest Danger to the American Republics Comes from the Omnipotence of the Majority
    • governments collapse from impotence or tyranny – either power slips from its grasp or is taken from it
    • Anarchy in Democracy seen as nature of a democratic state to be weak but really, government influence stops during a war between 2 factions
      • Always abuse of strength & ill use of resources brings the government down
      • Usually from tyranny or inability – not impotence
    • Governments of US more energetic than absolute monarchs of Europe
    • If freedom is lost in America, it’ll be due to omnipotence of the majority making minorities resort to desperation & physical force
      • Madison – justice is the purpose of government & civil society. When a majority can oppress the weaker, anarchy reigns & we go back to a state of nature
      • Jefferson – tyranny exists in the executive but mostly in the legislative. Keep an eye on both

“Democracy in America” by Tocqueville (Book 1, Part 2, Chapter 6) (1835)

Chapter 6: The Real Advantages Derived by American Society From Democratic Government

  • I – The General Tendency of Laws Under the Sway of American Democracy and the Instincts of Those Who Apply Them
    • defects of Democracy are obvious but the benefits are only seen in the long run
      • laws can be defective & incomplete
      • most of them violate rights or sanction dangerous ones
    • If a legislator wants to favor one at the expense of many he has to propose it quickly & without much attention to it
      • efficiency of passage makes it dangerous
    • Aristocracy is more skillful in legislating then Democracy, not subject to transitory impulses, & moves with intelligence & efficiency
    • Democracy’s laws are defective or untimely but often unintentionally works against itself
      • If a society organized by nature or Constitution, can tolerate passing effect of bad laws & the general tendency of laws without disaster
        • In America, great privilege is to be able to make retrievable mistakes
    • American democracy often makes mistakes in choice of men it entrusts power
    • Democracy’s rulers are less honest & capable but the governed are more enlightened & more alert
      • People more occupied with own affairs, jealous of their rights & prevent representatives from deviating from public’s interests
      • Democratic magistrates may abuse power but only have it for a short time
    • Rulers should have virtues & talents but shouldn’t have interests contrary to the governed
    • Political structure equally favors growth & prosperity for all classes
      • Classes like distinct nations within a nation
      • It’s dangerous to entrust the fate of all to one class just as it is to entrust one nation’s fate to another
    • When rich alone rule, poor’s interests are in danger
      • When poor alone rule, rich’s interests are in danger
    • Advantage to Democracy to serve the well-being for the greatest number
      • Those entrusted are often inferior in capacity & morality
      • interest is mingled & identified with the majority
      • Power is untrustworthy & mistake-prone but will never systematically follow a tendency hostile to the majority
    • Bad administration’s effect small due to terms of office being short
      • corruption & incapacity not in common interests of men
      • Won’t work in concert – vices of magistrates are personal & hardly shared
    • Aristocracy is distinct from majority’s interest
      • Aristocratic magistrates think in the long term, sees class spirit & unconsciously shapes society to convenience of their descendants
    • Only England has a liberal aristocracy with Enlightenment but the welfare of the poor has been sacrificed for that of the rich
    • US officials have no class interest to promote
      • government is beneficial even if rulers are inept & contemptible
      • tends to promote general prosperity in spite of vices & mistakes
      • aristocratic institutions have secret bias to contribute to afflictions of the country
        • Good men do evil without intending it
      • US – brings good results without thinking
  • II – Public Spirit in the United States
    • Older form of Patriotism from feeling tying a man to where he was born
      • habits, ancestors, memories, tradition
      • similar to religious zeal – doesn’t reason – feels & acts
      • Can be personified in a monarch & people are proud of his power
      • decays in peace & grows in a crisis
      • When mores are simple, society rests & legitimacy is not contested
    • New for of Patriotism – more rational, less generous, more creative, less ardent, longer lasting, enlightened, grows with help from laws, rights are mingled with personal interest
    • Man understands the country’s well-being influences his own & laws allow him to contribute to it.
      • Gives him an interest in its prosperity
      • At first, it just seems useful, then he thinks he’s created it
    • Maybe the best way to interest people in the fate of their country is to give them a stake in it
    • The newly arrived take such an interest in new country because they are actively taking part in it
    • Common man understands influence of general prosperity because it’s his responsibility
    • Americans feel duty to defend what’s criticized
      • But sometimes Patriotism turns into national pride, childishness & vanity
  • III – The Idea of Rights in the United States
    • Virtues & rights are mingled
      • Rights have defined the nature of license & tyranny
      • with them we can be independent without arrogance & obedient without servility
    • Submission to force debases a man because he knows a fellow mortal has the right to give him orders
    • No man can be great without virtue & no nation can be great without respect for rights
    • Children grab what they can & must be taught to respect property & that it can be taken from them too
      • Eventually learns to respect others’ property
    • America has no proletarians – everybody’s got some possession to defend
      • High idea of political rights because they all have some & don’t want to be violated themselves
    • Democracy – political rights to benefit the least of the citizens & property is within the reach of all
    • New form of Patriotism
      • beliefs giving way to arguments & feelings giving way to calculations
    • Links idea of rights to personal interest
    • Despotism presents itself as repairer of all ills, support of just rights, defender of oppressed & founder of order
      • People are lulled to sleep by its temporary prosperity & when they wake up, they are wretched
      • Liberty is born in stormy weather, growing with difficulty in civil discord & only when it’s old do we see its blessings
  • IV – Respect for Laws in the United States
    • Parties are aware expression of the will of the whole can’t easily be smothered
      • Often cast doubts on majority’s validity
      • Without majority, they claim it from those who abstained from voting or that the majority have no right to vote.
      • Those who want to attack laws must either
        • 1 – Change the nation’s opinion, or
        • 2 – Trample its wishes underfoot
    • Americans feel a person interest in obeying laws – majority may one day become minority, minority may one day become majority & will demand laws of its own
      • Americans will submit as the work of the majority is of his own choosing
    • No numerous or perpetually turbulent crowd regarding the law as a natural enemy to fear or suspect
  • V – Activity Prevailing in All Parts of the Political Body in the United States; the Influence Thereby Exerted on Society
    • In free countries, lots of activity
      • In unfree countries, not much activity
    • Democracies are in a rush to attain happiness
      • the state of society is the concern of the whole nation – including all classes
    • As soon as you show up in America, things are happening
      • noises, voices, movement, plans being made & carried out
      • choosing representatives & talking about morals, values & laws
    • With legislatures, agitation comes from all classes
      • to take hand in the government & talk about it is important
      • even women get involved
    • In some countries, political rights are seen as burdensome – worrying about communal interest is annoying
      • If an American did this, he’d lose all reason for living
    • Renews agitation goes into civil society
      • People manage public affairs badly but concern keeps the government going
      • A man of the people gets his self-esteem from listening to proposals & acting on them
    • Enemies of Democracy claim that a single man can do a better job than a government for all.
      • Correct, BUT
      • It provides a social & civic energy never seen before
    • WHAT DEMOCRACY WON’T DO
      • raise mankind
      • cause scorn for material goods
      • engender devotion & conviction
      • refine manners
    • WHAT DEMOCRACY WILL DO
      • turn man’s intellect & moral activity toward the necessities of physical life & use the to produce well-being for all
      • create tranquil habits
      • fewer crimes, vices & greater deeds
      • prosperous society
      • not build glory for the nation but the well-being of individuals

“Manifesto of the Communist Party” – Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

“Manifesto of the Communist Party” – Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

Introduction

  • Communism is coming. All of the old powers of Europe right and left to stop it
    • This is an acknowledgement that Communism is a force to be reckoned with
    • Communists need to stop hiding and make themselves be heard

Chapter 1 – Bourgeois and Proletarians

  • Bourgeois – class of modern capitalists, owners of means of social production and employers of wage labor
  • Proletarians – class of modern wage-laborers who by having no means of production of their own are reduced to selling their labor power to live

 

  • All written history is a class struggle and every era has different classes arranged by social rank
  • Modern social hasn’t got rid of class antagonism
    • It just has new classes, conditions of oppression that replace old ones
  • The Bourgeoisie has simplified class antagonisms by pitting 2 classes against each other: Bourgeoisie and Proletariat
  • Bourgeoisie created in chartered town in the Middle Ages
  • Guilds couldn’t keep up with production demand of expanding markets àmodern industry took over and leaders were the Bourgeoisie
  • Modern Bourgeoisie is a product of development and revolutions of production and trade
    • Each step has given the class more political power à ended Feudalism, patriarchal and idyllic relations trying men to their superiors and replaced it wash cash payment for work à pure self-interest
    • All energy put into religious fervor, chivalry and sentimentalism has been replace by cold calculation
    • All changes – free trade, personal value diminished à exploitation
    • These lower the status of doctors, lawyers, priests, poets and scientists to wage laborers
    • Reduced the family to a money-based relation
  • Bourgeoisie can’t live without revolutionizing production and consequently, production relations
    • à Preservation of modes of production maintained in class relations
  • Old established national industries are withering away
    • à Inputs from far away are making the production truly global à nations aren’t independent anymore and are connection Barbarian nations into Civilization
  • Countries like China cannot resist the West’s cheap goods and have caved to the West
    • They must adopt this mode of production or suffer the consequences
  • Bourgeoisie have created huge cities whose populations make up the majority of the country
    • The Barbarian and Semi-Barbarian nations are dependent on the civilized ones à the East is dependent on the West
  • Bourgeoisie is concentrating power into fewer hands and doing the same with political power
    • Laws, government customs/tariffs all to benefit them
  • Means of production = means of growth of Bourgeoisie
    • Eventually free competition had to step in economically, socially and politically
  • Notice that production changes are coupled by social, economic, political changes
    • We’re not yet at the point where any production improvements won’t do them any good
    • Any progress beyond now will harm them but creating its own enemy à Proletariat
  • The Proletariat sells its self to get a wage to continue to live and can only do so if labor can increase capital’s output
    • They are slaves to the Bourgeoisie and machines
      • It is dehumanizing and stripping them of any real skill
      • Making women relatively better off because their labor isn’t worth less than a man’s because the machines are stripping the men of their old value
    • Labor receives wages and forced to buy stuff from the production of the Bourgeoisie à from the landlords, shopkeepers, etc.
      • Lower middle class are squeeze out of the Bourgeoisie and into the Proletariat because their scale of production isn’t enough
    • Development must:
      • Struggle with the Bourgeoisie
        • Individual workers à
        • Factory worker force
        • Factory workers of an entire industry à
        • Factory workers of an entire region à
        • Factory workers of an entire country à
          • Everybody against 1 man
        • Proletarians are still disorganized – still fighting what remains of the monarchy for the Bourgeoisie à also landowners, non-industrial Bourgeoisie and petty Bourgeoisie
        • The losers of these battles become proletarians and the total number grows
          • Machines eliminate class distinctions and reduce wages to the same low level since all skill is low or non-existent
          • The class struggle grows throughout the whole world
        • Proletarians form a political part and force legislative actions for them: reforms, education, etc.
        • The inevitable happens à the bourgeois begins to splinter – they buy off some proles and some bourgeois join the proles
        • The minority accrue numbers slowly and steadily until it becomes a majority
          • It either wins through legislation or victorious rebellion
          • The Bourgeoisie’s greed is what kills it in the end

Chapter 2 – Proletarians and Communists

  • What is the relation between Communists and Proletarians?
    • They share the same interests but shape and mold the proletarians’ movement
  • They are only distinguished in two ways
    • They bring up and point out what proletarians problems are internationally
    • They represent the movement of the proletarians in their struggle as a whole
  • Communists are the most advanced and resolute of the working-class parties because they move them to act and understand the movement, conditions and goals of it all
    • The goal is to form proletarians into a party, overthrow Bourgeois supremacy and get all political control
    • They remind everyone of political and class struggles and urge the abolition of property relations (there’s historical evidence for this)
      • Only goal is to abolish bourgeois property which is the final and most complete expression of production that produces class antagonism and exploitation
      • ABOLISH ALL PRIVATE PROPERTY
    • But to what level? The level of the artisan? The peasant? Or the modern Bourgeois private property?
      • Capital is not just personal but social – a collective product that can only be set in motion collectively
    • When capital is made into common property, most also make personal property collective because it is also social à only its social character has changed.
    • A wage is the minimum needed to keep a laborer. It only produces a bare existence. Abolition of the private nature of capital only frees the worker from the existence of working just to increase capital and benefit the bourgeoisie
    • Labor only exists to benefit the Bourgeoisie in a capitalist society but in a communist society, labor exists to promote itself
    • Bourgeois society has capital as independent and with individuality but the living person is dependent and has no individuality
    • Bourgeois focus on freedom and the conditions of production lead to free trade which is purely selling and buying
    • Private property for 90% is already gone and only exists to benefit the few financially
    • When labor can no longer convert to capital, rent, money and individuals’ property can’t be made into bourgeois property – individuality vanishes
      • MUST ELIMINATE THE BOURGEOIS
    • Communism only prevents a man from subjugating the labor of others through appropriation
    • What if abolition of property leads to laziness?
      • It should have happened under bourgeois system but didn’t because they don’t do shit while the workers do everything
    • What about the disappearance of class culture?
      • That’s fine as long as it’s the bourgeois culture that disappears. It’s based on previous ownership which is based on previous ownership…
    • What about the abolition of the family?
      • The bourgeois family is based on capital ownership and private gain only to benefit the Bourgeoisie but Proletarians have nothing to pass on to their children.
      • We must stop parents from exploiting their children
      • Education is only there to indoctrinate us with apologies or excuses for the bourgeois system
    • What about women?
      • The bourgeois uses his family as an instrument of production to be exploited
      • Communists have always fought for women and don’t treat them like prostitutes like the Bourgeois do
        • Bourgeois marriage is legalized prostitution
      • What about individual countries
        • Communists want to abolish them because working men haven’t got any country of their own. They have only served the Bourgeoisie’s needs for themselves and to antagonize the Proletariat of other countries.
      • When the Proletariat take over, countries will disappear for a universal emancipation of the Proletariat
      • We won’t even consider any religious, philosophical or ideological objection to Communism because it goes without saying that views, ideas, etc. change with the conditions of material existence, which is all going to change anyway
      • We have historical evidence that the ruling class have imposed ideas on workers – new eras will erase the old, bad ideas
      • Christianity was broken or had been transformed by newer ideas à Bourgeois ideas will be changed too
      • Why will Communism abolish all of our sense of morality and eternal truths?
        • All of past society saw the exploitation of the Proletariat as moral – it’s only right to part from it
        • Advent of Democracy has change legality and it’s inevitable that proletarians will take over, take all capital and eliminate the Bourgeoisie
      • The Following will happen
        • Abolition of property, land, rent – all will be public
        • Heavy progressive/graduated income tax
        • No inheritance
        • Confiscation of emigrants’ and rebels’ property
        • Centralization of credit to the state
        • Creation of a national bank and allow the government a monopoly on banking
        • Centralization of communication and transport to the state
        • Extension of factories and production to the state – all waste lands will be cultivated and improve land according to a common plan
        • Equal obligation to work. Establish industrial armies à especially agriculture
        • Combine agriculture with manufacturing industries and abolish distinction between city and country by re-distributing population
        • Free education. Abolish child factory labor. Combine education with industrial production
        • Eliminate all political parties that push for exploitation of one class over another
          • If revolution is necessary, so be it

Chapter 3 – Socialist and Communist Literature

A – Reactionary Socialism

I – Feudal Socialism

  • Actually, developed by aristocrats in England and France, focusing on problems of the Proletariat
  • Considered exploiters in power with no understanding of historical progress
  • Feudal Socialism à Clerical/Christian Socialism concerned with reinstating social order
  • Christian Socialism is the Holy Water that the priest consecrates the burning heart of the aristocrat

II – Petty Bourgeois Socialism

  • Small peasant bourgeoisie and Medieval Burgesses – a class that comes and goes between the Proletariat and the Bourgeoisie but depends on the Proletariat and will eventually be subsumed by them
  • This class has pointed out the problems with modern production and economics theories presented
  • However, they still try to uphold Bourgeois classist manners and the status quo

III – German / “True” Socialism

  • Was a response to French Socialist literature that described a world in France that had not yet come to Germany because there were no proletarians there yet
  • Germans took these ideas and filtered them through reason – without concern for any particular class
  • However, it was too early for the proletarians to win over. The Aristocracy and the Bourgeois were against each other. Proletarians didn’t want a violent upheaval

B – Conservative or Bourgeois Socialism

  • This sort of Bourgeois want to reform its class and interclass relations, rather than destroy the class altogether
  • But they also don’t want to take any responsibility for any oppression they might have done – just more harmony – ultimately ending in more oppression

C – Critical-Utopian Socialism and Communism

  • Early writers didn’t understand Proletarians as a class
  • Proletarians to them were just the oppressed and it wasn’t inevitable to them that they’d take over
    • They thought that they could plead with the Aristocracy and Bourgeoisie to make things better for them
    • As class antagonism built up, their ideas became sill and far less likely
    • They wanted to abolish class conflict without abolishing reasons why class exists in the first place
    • As divisions grew their relevance waned

Chapter 4 – Position of the Communists in Relation to the Various Existing Opposition Parties

  • Communists are the only ones looking out for the long-term interests of the Proletariat and the only ones able to do so
  • The primary focus should be on Germany because its Bourgeoisie have not yet won out against the Aristocracy and Proletarians can take advantage of this because they are more developed than the English and French were when they got their independence and squandered the chance to make it a Communist revolution
  • The Proletarian revolution will happen first in Germany and then spread
  • Communists every will support and fight for the abolition of private property and advancement of the Proletariat
    • They’ve got nothing to lose but their chains
    • All workers should unit for the cause

“Wealth of Nations” Book I by Adam Smith (1776)

“Wealth of Nations” Book I by Adam Smith (1776)

Introduction

  • Discussion on Wealth:
  • Ratio of Total Amount Produced / Total Number of Consumers
  • If this ratio goes up, the nation is better off and wealthier
  • Q: Why do country have different have different ratios? Either higher or lower?

Chapter 1 – Division of Labor

  • The best way to improve productivity is the Division of Labor
    • A small amount of labor can be all in the same building
    • At a larger scale à larger number of workers à can’t all be in the same building, or even the same city
  • Example: Pin-Making:
    • Unskilled laborer could maybe make 1 in a day
    • Divide the tasks into discrete actions
      • A – Drawing out wire
      • B – Straighten wire
      • C – Cut wire
      • D – Point the wire
      • E,F,G,H,I – Put a head on the pin
      • J – Put pin into envelope (Finished product)
    • Operations with Division of Labor are more productive in this production
      • Estimated production of 48000 pins a day for 10 workers, each doing 1 specific task à 4800 pins per worker
    • Workers performing all 10 tasks themselves à 40 pins a day
    • This is true with most productions
  • The efficiency has led to separate trades which depend on level of industry in a county
  • Some trades are more likely to be divided than others
  • When comparing countries, differences in productivity are greater in manufacturing than in agriculture à depends on other things, land fertility, weather, climate
    • Division of labor will provide efficiency in agriculture but nothing like n manufacturing
  • Differences in productivity due to Division of Labor are down to:
    • Productivity – the reduction of jobs down to single tasks being repeating give the worker a more precise expertise in that task à he becomes more efficient
    • Saving time à time is usually lost in the switching between tasks, hot things get cold, cold things get hot, you may have to go to another building or city to finish the job
    • Technology helps labor become more efficient by making it faster, more accurate and of a better quality.
  • Inventers observe the methods of production and find ways to automate steps, cut steps out, combine steps, make better quality, make work faster, less dangerous and overall cheaper.
  • Example: Woolen Coat:
    • Steps in the production:
      • Shepherd
      • Wool sorter
      • Comber
      • Dyer
      • Scribbler
      • Fuller
      • Dresser
    • Further needs in bringing the coat to market:
      • Shipbuilding
      • Sailors
      • Sailmakers
      • Ropemakers
    • Needs to shear a sheep with shears:
      • Miner
      • Furnace builder
      • Timber merchant
      • Burner of coal
      • Brick maker
      • Brick layers
      • Furnace worker
      • Mill wright
      • Forger
      • Smith
    • All of these steps and more are necessary just to make a woolen coat
  • The variety of labor in a nation will increase the scope and scale of production and the overall wealth of a nation

Chapter 2 – Principle of Division of Labor.

  • Trade drives Division of Labor à result of humans’ speech and reasoning faculties à unique to humans
  • Animals may cooperate but not through contracts or property rights
  • We need deep cooperation and humans are never independent in society
    • More likely to succeed if we can convince others that they will benefit from cooperation
    • The basis of exchange: you’ve got something I want and I’ve got something that you want… let’s trade
  • “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages.”
  • Treaty, barter, purchase are the causes of trade
    • Even homeless people beg for money to go buy food, shelter, etc.

Chapter 3 – Division of Labor is Limited by the Extent of the Market

  • The extent of the Division of Labor depends on the extent of the market
    • Small markets à little Division of Labor because there is only a small surplus and a small demand for that surplus
  • Many jobs can only exist in a large town because a village is far too small for some of them
    • Villages are limited to farmers who are their own butchers, bakers and brewers
    • Families live far apart and don’t have neighbors to trade with
    • They must do all sorts of jobs get by
  • Small towns à a carpenter must also be a joiner, cabinet maker, wood carver, wheelwright, plough wright, cartwright
    • Can’t compete with larger scales in terms of prices and quantities as well as range of good
  • Shipping and transport also plays a large role in the size of a market
    • Compare a horse and cart to a ship for transporting goods
    • Shipping by boat can reach places a horse can’t reach, fasters, cheaper and safer
    • Must rely on navigable waters
    • Horse and cart don’t need waters to reach inland
    • Boat transport opens up the size and distance within a single market by making sale of goods abroad possible
  • History shows that the largest, wealthiest cites were accessible by boat: Athens, Rome, Babylon, Alexandria (on seacoast and rivers) on the Nile, Danube, Rhine, Ganges à China, Middle East, coastal areas of Europe.

Chapter 4 – Origin and Use of Money

  • Production leads to excess of product which is traded for other products
  • However, with the expansion of markets and the Division of Labor, producers need to find a producer of something they want who also want what they want. Without this coincidence, trade doesn’t happen.
  • As things continued, a medium of exchange was need
    • Products’ prices were stated in terms of other products – 1 suit of armor got you 9 oxen in one place and 100 oxen in another
    • Salt was often used as a common medium for exchange since it was popular, divisible and durable
  • Use of metal came about because it had similar features and wasn’t used for food
    • It became a common store of value
    • Spartans used iron, Romans used copper and then later silver and gold were used
  • Large bars were difficult to divide, weigh and carry
    • Uniform coins were minted and stamped to have a uniform weight for conveniences and guarding against shaving a bar’s size
  • Denominations usually associated with weights and proportions were established between gold, silver, copper.
  • Smith wonders why useless diamonds are so expensive but very useful water is so cheap…

Chapter 5 – Real and Nominal Price of Commodities, Labor and Money

  • Value of a commodity comes from what it can buy you in other products à ratio of work done in product A and product B
    • Having wealth and money will save us toil but need to toil to get money
  • Labor is the first price and is determined by the value of those who have it and want to trade it for other things
  • Wealth is power (Thomas Hobbes) à size of a fortune à size of power to command others’ labor or to purchase goods.
    • Difficult to say the proportion between one sort of labor and another or price of a commodity
    • Some hours worked are worth more and are more productive than others
  • Money facilitates exchange and the ratios of labor
    • The amount of money a butcher gets for his meat dictates what and how much he can buy of other things
  • Money itself can change value depending on its supply
    • Discovery of new sources of gold/silver changes supply and prices
  • Labor’s value depends on the laborer’s productivity and skill
    • Money is some way to measure it objectively
  • Labor’s value also depends on how much the buyer wants it
  • Difference between Real and Nominal Price of Labor
    • Real is always the same but Nominal includes changes in supply to gold and silver in market
  • Always a temptation to debase and shrink coins to a prince’s advantage which diminishes the value of goods and services
  • Introduction of more supply is usually gradual à lessens marginal value
    • More fixed supply is, steadier commodity prices are
  • Degradation of coins and lower quantity of a metal in a coin worsens value and distorts market
  • With a fixed supply of coins, increasing productivity in a production decreases its price
  • Changes in money supply vary year to year changes over centuries
    • More likely to see greater annual variations in crop harvests à prices will fluctuate more for that reason
  • Labor seems to be more fixed value than money or the product
  • Long-term leases on land tend to be difficult to measure real/nominal prices for because both incorporate variations over many years
    • Different markets have different prices based on the price of a good which is based on supply and overall supply in the market
  • Begin to use different metals for different sized transactions (gold for large, silver for medium, copper for small)
    • Proportions are usually determined by the market
  • When money/metal is degraded, it must be reset in relative values and denominations but markets are the ones that determine what they actually buy
  • Different countries determined this differently according to availability and possibility of enforcing ratios
  • Too much good à less divisible, too much copper à annoying
  • Seigniorage – revenue collected from minting coins
  • Loss of supply or increase causes fluctuations in the market for gold, silver, copper à lost at sea, used for jewelry, etc. are inevitable but not a serious and constant worry

Chapter 6 – Component Parts of Price of Commodities

  • Before money, if labor is used to kill 1 beaver = labor used to kill 3 deer, the relative price will be 1 deer = 3 beaver
    • Reflection of relative amounts of labor used in production
  • In advanced societies, skill of labor will be incorporated into the price of labor à Man A can make 3 coats in an hour, Man B can make 1 coat in an hour à Price A:B à 3:1
    • Labor is paid a wage based on its productivity, inputs bought but the entrepreneur/undertaker must receive profit for risk.
  • Profit is different to a wage. Rather than being based on productivity, the entrepreneur must manage labor, inputs and create a production plan. Profit is based off his ability to manage inputs efficiently for what’s demanded
    • Once all land is private in a society, owners will try to use it for a profit even if they don’t personally produce or manage anything. Laborer/manager will have to pay for the use of land and materials.
  • Example: Corn
    • Costs – renting land, labor’s wages, profit of farmer (rent, wage, profit all vary based on industry), pay for capital depreciation.
    • Rent, wages, profit sources of revenue and have exchangeable values
      • Revenue from labor à wage
      • Revenue from stock à profit
      • Revenue from land à rent

Chapter 7 – Natural and Market Prices of Commodities

  • Every city, region, country has an average wage or price of a certain job
    • Related to rent rates and commodity prices – different is different area
    • Depends on who’s working (supply) and who’s paying (demand)
  • Natural price à prevailing price à long-term prices
  • Market Price – short-term price based on current demand. If demand rises, market price will rise above natural price à max depends on how strong demand is
    • Component acts as an auction for labor/labor/commodity
    • If scarcity persists, market will find a way to meet demand, increase supply and affect price à importation, smuggling, substitution, migration, monopoly breaking

Chapter 8 – Wages of Labor

  • Entrepreneurs pay labor and earn profit à most workers work for a manger and not themselves
    • Entrepreneurs may collude to drive down wages and so drive up profit, often secretly
    • Very open when labor tries to drive wages up
    • Public tends to be more against labor than entrepreneur because businesses are often out of business because wages are too high
    • Workers who strike gain short-term, but not in long-term
  • Wages have a natural floor below which a worker won’t work. Workers need to have a wage to be able to have a family to provide future generations of workers.
  • The American economy was small at the time of publication but growing à wages needed to rise to attract new workers and keep the old ones.
  • England was larger but growth was slower à wages were steady
    • Growth plays the greatest role in rising wages
  • Wages in England effectively rise not because wages are rising but because prices of goods are falling
  • Paying wages is better than having slaves because the owner has to pay maintenance on sick slaves and gives no incentive to work hard or be more productive
    • No promotion, no economic sense
  • Workers need time off, vacations, holidays, etc. to recuperate and be better workers

Chapter 9 – Profits of Stock

  • Production increases don’t lead to increased profits because profitability increases à increased competition
    • Lower price à lower profits
    • Need to lower prices to encourage buyers to buy your product, not your rivals’
  • Countries open to trade are usually richer because they are open to international competition. This serves to lower prices across the board and wages go farther with lower prices.

 

Federalist No. 71 – Alexander Hamilton

Federalist No. 71 – Alexander Hamilton

  • The President’s term should be four years.
  • Some think that it’s too long and he could amass power.
  • In this span, he has time to counteract temporary passions or influences of factions in the public and their representatives.
  • His duty is to protect the interests of the people and greater good of the nation especially when the people want a bad policy.
  • He’ll have enough time to pursue the best policies
    • If this time is too short, he might not be bold and controversial actions with reelection looming will be afraid of electoral repercussions.

Federalist No. 70 – Alexander Hamilton

Federalist No. 70 – Alexander Hamilton

  • A single executive is necessary for accountability, “executive energy” and defense against legislative encroachment on his power.
  • One is enough to ensure secrecy, fewer fights and allowing decisions to be made quickly.
  • Congress will have time to deliberate and listen to open discussion to prevent tyranny of the majority. Its function is to pass laws and once passed. Then opposition must end.
  • The Executive there to execute laws and once they’ve been passed, it’s important to start enforcing them straight away.
  • War demands a strong executive because divisiveness can be a killer.
  • With more than one President, (i.e. council), no one person is responsible.
  • He must not be immune to censure, accountability or punishment.
  • Councils often act as a cushion between kings and make it so that the people don’t matter.
  • Councils are expensive to maintain à the best model is the New York state governor.