Spring 2014

Blogging guidelines and suggestions

Midterm review sheet – Spring 2014 (updated 3/17)

American Dream essay – due April 11 (optional)  If submitted, essays will count as 15% of your final grade (with the midterm = 25%, final exam=30%, blog posts=15%, and participation=15%).

American Dream essay – Notes



3 responses to “Assignments

  1. Marx and his idea on Alienation (Abraham Aulov)
    Marx talks about capitalism and how it affects people individually as well as a whole. There is the bourgeoisie, being the upper class having complete control over the proletariat, being the lower class, who are being are forced to work for a wage in order to survive. In reference to this example of an upper and lower class there is a sense of alienation that occurs when the lower class work for an upper class. Alienation is being removed from a sense of being from the working class. The four types are product in relation to having control over the worker, labor and act of production, relation of worker to human essence (human becoming a robot), and relationship amongst people.
    In a personal example, and more general for college students who have to work, we have to deal with alienation. The way alienation works with me, in my personal example, would be working as a Pharm Tech which constitutes working in a local pharmacy helping the pharmacist fill prescriptions, as well as doing many other jobs to help in the upkeep of the pharmacy. The way alienation works in this example is that I know I will never be a pharmacist as a career but I have to work in order to pay for expenses. Because this society runs on money, I have to acquire a trade in a different field in order to make money before I can actually pursue a career that interests me. Most college students do what I do, not being a pharm tech for example but rather working in restaurants, banks, groceries, McDonalds and many other places knowing that one day they will have a better job if they stay in college. It can be argued that the reason the system is made like this is because this makes more money for the Upper class. An example of this being tuition hikes in our very own CUNY system. Rich get richer and poor get poorer. An additional 150 dollars multiplied by 16,000 students is a hell of a lot of money per semester. 150 dollars can be a week work for some college students.

    • Capitalism has made an effect on a lot of people today. For example, I am working at Target doing retail which pays only $8.05 an hour which is not a lot but I need some type of imcome if I need specific things like market, clothes and etc. The problem is that they are cutting hours due to economic problems and some of the employees feels that they are being alienated by the boss because he is cutting hours when some people need it to take care of family or other personal needs. In my personal experience I am dealing with this type of situation working at a place that isn’t somewhere that I want to do for the rest of my life but want to move up on the upper class making money and loving the job that im pursuing in doing which is becoming a Social Worker.For example,from the capitalism: key features that we discussed in class stating that; bourgeoise, that owns the forces of production exploits the proletariat, who, lacking own capital, is forced to work for wages. In a way that is proving that we have to work hard labor and don’t have time to enjoy ourselves mostly because tuition, rent and etc have to be paid. I agree that alienation can be found in our society because it is occurring everywhere in the United States today and it is hard for most people to make money when there are not that many jobs and unemployment rates decreasing.

    • Nice post, Abraham (not sure if it was meant to be a standard “post” or an exceptionally substantive and well thought-out comment — if the former, please see if you can “add” it as new post). I think your case is typical of college students today — they must work in order to go to college in order to work…at a “better” job in the future (however one defines “better,” in terms of money, meaning, social impact, etc.). This is the basic deal. And it’s not seen as particularly unjust. But we shouldn’t forget that even though *most* students must work and/or take on significant debt in order to obtain a college degree, not all do (not including those on merit-based scholarships). While a college degree is considered a prerequisite for social mobility, the fact is that access to higher education and the costs of higher education (especially when you add up interest payments on loans or all those hours at a soul-killing job) is not equal. What’s especially interesting, from the perspective of Marx’s theory, is how we’ve come to accept this trade-off, and that we don’t even have an expectation that work should be fulfilling — unless you suffer for it. What I mean is that there seems to be this idea that if we’re crazy enough to expect to work in a job that gives us satisfaction, it’s only possible after years of “paying your dues.”

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