University of California Los Angeles German Ideology Wage Labour Housekeepers Essays

Question Description

Answer each of the following three questions as three separate essays. The answer to each question should be no longer than 750 words. An answer that exceeds the word limit will be penalized.

Each essay must begin with a paragraph-long abstract (roughly 150 words) that summarizes your overall argument and a precise word count of the essay (excluding the abstract).

Each essay has a number of parts, make sure you answer all of them. Your answers should make reference to the texts (and only the texts) that we have read. When you cite or refer to the text give page numbers. You have only three or four pages per essay so you must be concise, to the point and clear about the argument(s) you are making. Be careful to answer the question being asked and not a different one.

Essays must be typed double-spaced in 12-point font with one-inch margins.

1.In The German Ideology, Marx and Engels imagine a future society they call communism. a) Describe communism in terms of the two dimensions of the division of labor. b) Writing, some two decades later, in Volume III of Capital (Tucker, p.441), Marx returns to the question of communism. In what way is his formulation an improvement on the earlier one in The German Ideology? c) How might Adam Smith criticize Marx and Engels’s conception of communism?

2.In Wage Labour and Capital Marx describes, first the relation between wage labor and capital, and then how competition among capitalists and among laborers leads not to universal opulence but to the degradation of work and the polarization of classes. In what ways do The Communist Manifesto and Socialism: Utopian and Scientific advance Marx’s theory of (a) the demise of capitalism, (b) the development of class struggle, (c) the role of the capitalist state and (d) the emergence of socialism? (e) What do you think is the weakest point in the theory? Begin by briefly laying out the essential argument of Wage Labour and Capital.

3.Read the article, “Housekeepers Face a Disaster Generations in the Making” (New York Times, September 18, 2020) (also attached). In what way does the situation of domestic workers illustrate, advance or contradict Marx and Engels theory of (a) capitalist exploitation; (b) the capitalist state; (c) class struggle and (d) how might domestic work be organized under communism? In answering each part you should make references to passages from the texts we have read as well as the article.


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