Wealth and Inequality

Wealth and Inequality

Reflection Paper 3

Due: Friday December 8

Tech specs: 3 pages, double spaced, worth 10 points (does not need to be a classically structured essay i.e. no need for intro and conclusion). You must engage with Harvey’s discussion and concepts from Seventeen Contradictions.

In this last paper you will reflect upon idea Marx’s idea “alienation” within capitalist societies as defined by David Harvey in Chapter 17. In a sense this is a retrospective paper in which you can bring any of the previous contradictions to help you explore the idea of alienation. It is up to you.

Here are your tasks:

  • Using Chapter 17 as a basis, reflect upon your own alienation with in today’s capitalist society (remember there is both a national and global context). How do you think you are alienated? How would you qualify and quantify that feeling? If you hesitate and say I really don’t feel alienated, why is that? Why might others feel alienated? In general, you might consider other contradictions that contribute to feelings of universal alienation amongst people. You also might want to relate to and discuss the film The Trap in your reflection.
  • Briefly explore what we as a society (a politically engaged citizenry) can do to address not only alienation but any of the other contradictions. This does not have to be a fully fleshed out political treatise, but rather some sign posts of areas you think we can collectively address the power of capital to create inequality and a large swath of social problems in our lives. Do any of Harvey’s ideas help? If not, you can say why and discuss other options.

In order to do well on this paper you must use and reference Harvey’s concepts and examples from your everyday life. You don’t need to address all of the previous contradictions, but you might find it useful to consider the relationship between alienation and use-value vs. exchange-value, money, private appropriate of common wealth, the capitalist state, labor, freedom/domination, and nature.

Evaluation: You must engage with Harvey’s concepts and discussion. You will lose points if you do not. You will be evaluated on accuracy of information and concepts, depth of your analysis and grammar and spelling. Because you don’t have much page space make every sentence and paragraph count.

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