Fulcher Chapters 2, 3 & 6 Web QuestionsPosted: June 25, 2012
Below please find a few question written by Katrina Casino and Levi McClellan on the assigned chapters from James Fulcher’s Capitalism: A Very Short Introduction. Please answer one with a response of at least one paragraph in length.
CHAPTER 2: WHERE DID CAPITALISM COME FROM? (Katrina)
1) In this chapter, Fulcher attempts to flesh out the reasons why capitalism developed in Europe. He also seeks to define what makes capitalism. One of the factors he lists is the formation of guilds and labor unions. To what extent is capitalism defined by conflict between owners and workers? Is capitalism dependent on this dynamic? Or is it dependent on other factors like the production process?
2) Although the two may seem contradictory, Fulcher makes the argument that capitalism evolved from the ruins of feudalism. Explain why this is so. What part did the developing notion of class conflict play in this transition? How was the multi-state structure conducive to the development of capitalism, and what is its relation to feudalism?
CHAPTER 3: HOW DID WE GET HERE? (Levi)
1) Anarchic capitalism was characterized as having no government intervention in markets, intense competition between companies, lack of worker benefits (and lack of ability to bargain for better conditions), and an all around unregulated system where prices were determined solely by the market. This condition contrasts to the more regulated managerial capitalism and present day capitalism. Many present day politicians call for less regulation in markets. If they got their way, do you think we would see a return to anarchic capitalism or would we still retain some of the managerial capitalism aspects? Would there be any benefit to a more anarchic capitalism society? Why?
2) Managed capitalism, as Fulcher explains, is the beginning of regulated markets, state-intervention, state-welfare and the start of large unions. With corporations getting larger, and less competition compared to anarchic capitalism, why do you think that this new type of managerial capitalism gave way to more regulation, unions, and state-sponsored welfare? Who benefits from managed capitalism and what might be some problems that company owners face with managed capitalism?
CHAPTER 6: CRISIS? WHAT CRISIS? (Katrina)
According to Fulcher, the tendency to overproduce is built into the capitalist system. Why doesn’t this cause the capitalist system to collapse? Furthermore, why is capitalism dependent on the results of overproduction?