Sociology Paper


Papers must be at least 4 pages in length. Papers are to be turned in through Canvas and will be run through TurnItIn to identify plagiarism.

  • According to Harman, why were prehistoric human societies free of exploitation, war and hierarchical authority? How did the implementation of sedentary agriculture change all this and lead to the first exploitative class societies and States?
  • According to Perelman and Wood, where did capitalism first emerge and how did it create the labor pool of landless peasants it depends on for labor?
  • According to Wood, what is unique about the way capitalism compels workers to provide their labor, compared to previous systems of mercantile exchange and labor extraction? According to Marx, why are workers compelled to sell their labor for wages? Why is the selling of labor for wages not a freely engaged in contract between workers and employers? What determines how much wages are worth in exchange for labor? How does this disadvantage workers, and what can they do about it?
  • According to Marx in his discussion of “Surplus Labor Populations” from Das Kapital, what is the surplus labor population? How does the surplus labor population operate to suppress wages in a capitalist system? Is the surplus labor population a permanent and necessary feature of the capitalist system? Why or why not?
  • According to the documentary Plutocracy, how is this system of capital, private property and labor exploitation enforced on the workers? Who serves to enforce it and why do they choose to act as the enforcers of capital?

Please abide by the following format guidelines:

o DO NOT repeat the questions from the prompt in your paper.

o Write in paragraph form. One or two paragraphs should be sufficient for each question in the prompt.

o Use 12 point Calibri or Cambria font, double spaced with 1” margins.

o Insert page numbers for every page.

o Do NOT include a cover page.

o No header please, do not include your name, date, class, etc. on your paper.

Required documents :

o Chris Harman. “The Rise of Class Societies” in A People’s History of the World. Pp. 2-21

o Michael Perelman. The Invention of Capitalism. Ch. 1

o Ellen Wood. The Origin of Capitalism. Pp. 95-109, 142-157, 193-198

o Karl Marx. “Wage-Labour and Capital”

o Karl Marx. “Surplus Labor Populations” in Das Kapital, Ch. 25, Sec. 3-4

o Documentary: Plutocracy I, Metanoia Films.