Week 2: Why Everything Costs Money

This week is a ramble through some basic idea about capitalism, how it works and what it means for us. I found a lot of cool things online that help students understand profit and surplus value, etc. A good tool someone has by David Murphy is the Avocado Toast House Deposit Calculator with helps point out the ridiculousness of seeing housing as investment and the widening gap in the Global North between this generation’s economic security and that of their parents.

I have relied quite a lot on Hadas Thier’s very good introduction to capitalism: A People’s Guide to Capitalism. In talking about the history of capitalism, I have emphasised its reliance on colonialism and slavery to evolve into a global system, and introduced racial capitalism as a mode of analysis for challenging Marx’s assumptions about primitive accumulation.

I also speak about the importance of stretching Marxist analyses for fighting against imperialism.

I end with the example of the 1946 Pilbara strike, an example of resistance by the most exploited workers, in this case Aboriginal (Marrngu) cattle and sheep station workers, who rose up against exploitation and slavery.

Mentimeter (interactive lecture)

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