Monday, May 24, 2010



“Organisation Behaviour is concerned with the study of what people do in an organisation and how that behaviour affects the performance of the organisation.”
(Robbins: 1998,9)

The study of Organisational Behaviour involves:
• consideration of the interaction among the formal structure (organisational context in which the process of management takes place)
• the tasks to be undertaken
• the technology employed and the methods of carrying out work
• the behaviour of people
• the process of management
• the external environment

Interrelated dimensions influencing behaviour:
• The Individual - working environment should satisfy individual needs as well as attainment of organisational goals.
• The Group - formal and informal. Understanding of groups complements a knowledge of individual behaviour.
• The Organisation - impact of organisation structure and design, and patterns of management, on behaviour.
• The Environment - technological and scientific development, economic activity, governmental actions.

• What leading writers say is an important part of the study of management.

• It is necessary to view the interrelationships between the development of theory, behaviour in organisations and management practice.

• An understanding of the development of management thinking helps in understanding principles underlying the process of management.
• Knowledge of the history helps in understanding the nature of management and organisation behaviour.

• Many earlier ideas are still important and are often incorporated into more current management thinking.



Theory provides a sound basis for action BUT
if the action is to be effective the theory must
be adequate and appropriate to the task and
to improved organisational performance.


In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, theory and practice are different.
From “LEADERSHIP ... with a human touch”
20 October 1998


“The extent to which the organisation’s work is separated into different jobs to be done by different people.”
(Moorhead and Griffin:1998,448)

• Major purpose or function

• Product or service

• Location

• Nature of the work performed

• Common time scales

• Common processes

• Staff employed

• Customer or people to be served

• Efficient use of labour
• Reduced training costs
• Increased standardisation and uniformity of output
• Increased expertise from repetition of tasks

• Routine, repetitive jobs
• Reduced job satisfaction
• Decreased worker involvement and commitment
• Increased worker alienation
• Possible incompatibility with computerised manufacturing technologies

Decisions on division of work should take
account of:
• the need for co-ordination
• the identification of clearly defined divisions of work
• economy
• the process of managing the activities
• avoiding conflict
• the design of work organisation should take account of the nature and interests of staff and job satisfaction.

Mintzberg’s five basic elements of structure which
Serve as co-ordinating mechanisms for the work of
the organisation.
1. Mutual Adjustment
2. Direct Supervision
3. Standardisation of Work Processes
4. Standardisation of Work Output
5. Standardisation of Worker Skills

• Easier implementation of a common policy for the organisation as a whole.
• Prevents sub-units becoming too dependent.
• Easier co-ordination and management control.
• Improved economies of scale and a reduction in overhead costs.
• Greater use of specialisation, including better facilities and equipment.
• Improved decision-making which might otherwise be slower.


• More mechanistic structure
• Lengthens scalar chain (number of different levels in the structure of an organisation).

• Enables decisions to be made closer to the operational level of work.
• Support services will be more effective if they are closer to the activities they are intended to serve.
• Opportunities for training in management.

Tends to be easier to implement in private sector
organisations rather than the public sector -
accountability, regularity, uniformity.

Six key elements to be addressed when designing
• Work Specialisation
• Departmentalisation
• Chain of Command (Scalar Chain)
• Span of Control (Number of subordinates reporting directly to a manager or supervisor.)
• Centralisation and Decentralisation
• Formalisation

• Emphasis on purpose, formal structure, hierarchy of management, technical requirements and common principles of organisation.

• This perspective was concerned with structuring organisations effectively.

• Two major sub-groupings of this approach are:
o Bureaucracy
o Scientific Management (sometimes categorised as an approach in its own right)

Major Contributors:
Henri Fayol
Linda Urwick
Max Weber – most
prominent of the three.
• Weber proposed a bureaucratic form of structure that he believed would work for all organisations.

• Embraced logic, rationality, efficiency.

Weber’s Ideal Bureaucracy
• Job Specialisation
• Authority Hierarchy
• Formal Selection
• Formal Rules and Regulations
• Impersonality
• Career Orientation

Criticisms of Bureaucracy
• Lack of attention to the informal organisation.
• Restriction of psychological growth
• Bureaucratic dysfunction

Emphasis on obtaining increased productivity from
individual workers through the technical structuring of
the work organisation and the provision of monetary
incentives as the motivator for higher levels of output.
Major Contributor - FW TAYLOR (1856 - 1917) - held
the view that there was a best working method by which
people should undertake their jobs.

• the development of a true science for each person’s work
• the scientific selection, training and development of the workers
• co-operation with the workers to ensure work is carried out in the prescribed way
• the division of work and responsibility between management and the workers.

• opposition because its specific goal was to get more output from the workers
• argument that his incentive system would dehumanise the workplace
• inadequate views of employee motivation
• allegations that he falsified some of his research findings and paid someone to do his writing for him.


• During the 1920s, attention began to focus on social factors at work, groups, leadership, the informal organisation and behaviour of people.
• ‘Behavioural’ and ‘informal’ are alternative headings sometimes given to this approach.
• Turning point came with the famous Hawthorne experiments at the Western Electric Company in America (1924-32)
• One of the researchers (leader) was ELTON MAYO (1880-1949)

Four Main Phases to the Hawthorne Experiments
• The Illumination Experiments - level of production was influenced by factors other than changes in physical conditions of work.
• The Relay Assembly Test Room - attention and interest by management reason for higher productivity.
• The Interviewing Programme -20,000 interviews. Gave impetus to present-day personnel management and use of counselling interviews. Highlighted the need for management to listen to workers.
• The Bank Wiring Observation Room - Piecework Incentive Scheme. Group pressures stronger than financial incentives offered by management.

• Writers in the 1950s and 1960s who adopted a more psychological orientation.

• Major focus was the personal adjustment of the individual within the work organisation and the effects of group relationships and leadership styles.

• Main contributors: MASLOW, HERZBERG AND McGREGOR.

General Examples NEEDS Organisational Examples
Achievement SELF-ACTUALISATION Challenging Job
Status ESTEEM Job Title
Friendship BELONGINGNESS Friends in the Work
Stability SECURITY Pension Plan
Sustenance PHYSIOLOGICAL Base Salary

HERZBERG isolated two different sets of factors affecting
motivation and satisfaction at work.
1. Hygiene or Maintenance Factors - concerned basically with job environment. Extrinsic to the work itself.
2. Motivators or Growth Factors - concerned with job content. Intrinsic to the work itself.
Goal of managers is to achieve a state of no dissatisfaction by
addressing Hygiene Factors. Task of improving motivation is
then by addressing the Motivators.

McGREGOR argued that the style of Management adopted is a
function of the manager’s attitudes towards human nature and
behaviour at work.
He put forward two suppositions called Theory X and Theory Y which
are based on popular assumptions about work and people.

• People do not like work and try to avoid it.
• People do not like work, so managers have to control, direct, coerce, and threaten employees to get them to work toward organisational goals.
• People prefer to be directed, to avoid responsibility, to want security, and have little ambition.

• People do not naturally dislike work; work is a natural part of their lives.
• People are internally motivated to reach goals to which they are committed.
• People are committed to goals to the degree that they receive personal rewards when they reach their objectives.
• People will seek and accept responsibility under favourable conditions.
• People have the capacity to be innovative in solving organisational problems.
• People are bright, but generally their potentials are under-utilised.

• Integration of the classical and human relations approaches. Attempts to reconcile the work of the formal and the informal writers.
• Importance of the socio-technical system.
• Attention is focused on the total work organisation and the interrelationships of structure and behaviour, and the range of variables within the organisation.
• The Systems Approach encourages managers to view the organisation both as a whole and as part of a larger environment.

• Best viewed as an extension of the systems approach.
• Highlights possible means of differentiating between alternative forms of organisation structure and systems of management.
• There is no one best design of organisation.
• Most appropriate structure and system of management is dependent upon the contingencies of the situation for the particular organisation.

If it is the case that, international /inter-state relations, the big powers often do what they like and the weak states often suffer the consequences

The existence of international law is primarily maintenance of peace and stability based on mutual respect for each state's territorial integrity and domestic jurisdiction: issues of distributive justice and the protection of basic human rights liberty, freedom and the right of self pursuit and happiness. The only question that can be asked is if the existence of international law is effective to contest manipulative and destructive leaders of states and the states themselves. The development of various institutions by the UN that govern the conduct of states and the enforcement of international law have to a large extent created stable environment between states but the weak states are begin alienated from the international community. The less significance of international law has made then more accountable to powerful nations not to the international community. This essay will elaborate and elucidate if international law matters in international relations or the big powers such as the United States does what they like and the weak states suffer the consequences.
International law was generally formulated to maintain international order to protect the sovereignty of the states .The states were primarily the subjects of international law the principal bearers of rights and obligations according to Higgins (1994:40) international law only exist to states. According to Baylis and Smith (2005:350) International law is the body of legal rules that apply between sovereign states and such other entities as have been granted international personality (status acknowledged by the international community).States in the international arena are expected to abide by the laws that govern there conduct but this has not always been the case in international relations as hegemonic states often violate the international laws without any reparations. Powerful nations such as America and Britain have repeatedly violated the international laws but they are not punished for it and weaker nations have been the most victims to the violation of international law.
International Law has set various institutions that are there to limit the acts of the states and regulate their behaviour. According to Brierly (59:1928) modern states under international law are perceived as equal entities that have absolute sovereignty. According to Hsiung (1997:8) international law can only exist only in an international system of nation states sovereign and know no higher authority where there is no vertical accountability only horizontal accountability between various units. But this has not been the case in the current international system as the powerful nations have displayed actions that make them look as if they are above the law. The doctrine of equality of states advocated by naturalist writes to international law according to Brierly (1928:66) is absolutely not certain in international order as states are politically unequal as is universally admitted and they also have unequal rights in international law. This can be noted that within the structures of the United Nations were the great powers posses a definite legal superiority over the other states by being allotted permanent seats on the Security Council. The actions of the United States as the hegemonic states in the international community have shown the insufficiency of international law to control its actions that defer international order.
According to Hsiung (1997; 11) if international law is so concerned with the international community order and the balance between community interests and the state sovereignty what about the realist assumption regarding the law incongruity with “national interests”. The powerful states always have a recourse open to them for the protection of their interests should international law be perceived as being inimical to them. Despite the United Nation’s goal of creating an equal environment for states to collaborate and co-operate the dominant nations always focus on the achievement of their national interests instead of the international community. Various statutes within international law and the ICC constitution have been violated by powerful nations but countries that do not possess political power and military power have been subjected to the severity of international law with its leaders being persecuted and tried in the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
Focusing on the acts of the United States of America will bring the full view of how powerful states often do what they like and the weaker nations often suffer the consequence of not abiding to international law. According to Hsiung (1997:17) the United States and the world reacted violently to the Iraq invasion of Kuwait in the summer of 1990 but this act could have been justified by the international community as the US jeopardize of the sanctity of international law perse because of its violation of the international law when it invaded Panama less then nine before in December 1989 which led to 4000 Panamanians being killed automatically led to counter violations by Iraq when invaded Kuwait. Panama invasion by the US was the violation of international law regarding the notion of sovereignty and non intervention that is enshrined in the international law statutes the US should have seek international community endorsement of the United Nations as the mother body that governs and enforces international law. These aggressive humanitarian intervention excuses by the United States to violate international law results in the many weaker nations struggling to develop after these militarily muscle demonstration wars. The US armed invasion also in Vietnam was also in opposition to the international law as this was a civil war and intervention in such an internal matter was illegitimate under international law but these nations suffered the most horrific incidents in history due to forcible humanitarian intervention that was illegal as millions perished and millions displaced in these brutal war times.
The US invasion of Iraq was not justified under International law according to Hsiung (1997:18) the invasion of Iraq in 2003 under the war against terror by the Bush administration, international law was totally against such acts as it undermined the state sovereignty and the right to self determination. To make situation worse the USA declared war on Iraq soil without the blessing of the United Nations as the international regime that spearhead and control that states abidance to international law. Or could this illegal invasion be linked to US interests of controlling the oil supply of the world under the notion of war against terror. Now Iraq is a war torn country that is finding it hard to stabilise with its economic apparatus now being controlled by the US companies. Such acts have demonstrated that powerful states are above the international law statutes that govern the conduct of states. International law is more of a rule oriented than an outcome oriented system as United Nations itself does not have authority and power designed to enforce international law.
Since international law governs the signing of treaties between nations the powerful nations have made sure that all treaties signed with them are at their own benefit to the expense of the weaker nations and they have often violated these treaties without facing prosecution. The US chose not to become part of the Convention of the law of seas (CLO111) of 1982 according to Hsiung (1997:15) because it undermined its private enterprise by requiring US private companies that mine seabeds to pay royalties to help Third world countries that countries could not afford such mining. The holding out increased Washington’s bargaining power so that other nations would renegotiate the terms of the treaty to accommodate the US interests such was done in 1994 the CLO111 was amended to accommodate the US interests. As international law advocates for equality among states its failure to govern the conduct of powerful nations have led to third world countries being treated unfairly to economic prospects and developmental prospects that has led to them being alienated in the international community.
The US as a dominant nation has passed unilateral sanctions on weak nations that failures to comply with its foreign policy. This has resulted in many states being controlled their internal affairs by the US government which to some extent is now the world government as it controls most of the international affairs. International regimes that oversee the relationship of the interdependence actors between landlocked and transit countries according to Hsiung (1997;147) have not benefited that poor nations as super powerful nations controls these institutions for their own interests the WTO,IMF and the World Bank have been used by powerful nations to force nations to give up their economic sovereignty. The US in 1992 according to Hsiung (1997:146) passed the Cuban Democracy Act in the bid to put Castroite Cuba to demonstrate, Washington began to interfere in the trade of other countries with Cuba, even trying to dictate trading practices to them.
International law unable to protect weak nations from belligerent acts by a powerful nations results in the weak nations being not sovereign entities in the international arena. Hsiung (1997:146) elaborates that US further passed the Helms Burton Act in 1996 which gave them powers to approach the UN Security Council in an effort to join America’s embargo against Cuba. At the present moment the unilateral sanctions being given to Zimbabwe by the US through the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act, 2001 (ZIDERA). Through this enactment Zimbabwe’s access to finance and credit facilities was effectively incinerated, is this not violation of self determination that is enshrined in the international law statutes. Imposition of sanctions should be left in the hands of international institutions such as the UN not another actor within the international community. Self determination has become external determination by the imposition of these unilateral sanctions to states that fails to democratize; territorial integrity has eroded by such actions.
The breach of human rights by the powerful nations in the international community has remained tacit. The US has violated international law on human rights and its prosecution has not come into picture as it is regarded as international government that can take unilateral actions that can not the opposed. According to Panst (2007:11) pictures of outrages abuse of detainees at Abu-Graid prison in Iraq in May 2004 demonstrated some of the worst horrific human rights abuse by the US, the prisons were stripped naked with hood placed in their heads and threatened with dogs. The Geneva Convention of international Human rights as well as the UN Charter on Human rights not only prohibits torture but intimidation during torture. The powerful states are able to violate international rights but if weak nations try international law will tumble down on them. The proposal to surrender the perpetrators of the September 11 to the international tribunal according to Byres and Noltle (2003:85) was along to lines of the Yugoslav and Rwanda tribunal was rejected by the USA which argued that it was under its territorial jurisdiction and tried them under their domestic laws. This clearly shows that powerful nations can defy the United Nations orders as well of the ICC without prosecution. Questions can be asked why the US never wanted to sign the ICC statute in December 2000 which makes surrender them surrender its nationals to the International Criminal Court. It is because they want to get away with human rights violations that it commits in the world in their military muscle wars they impose on weaker states. International law has not worked to protect citizens of the world from the superpowers actions that violates human rights in their quest to achieve national interest.
The United States have used the United Nations Security Council and another various institutions to fortify its foreign policies according to Condoleezza Rice in Byers and Nolte (2003;81) “United Sates interests are served by having strong alliances and can be promoted within the UN and other multilateral institutions organizations as well through well crafted international agreements”. The supremacy of the US has demonstrated that it can influence any actions that are not within the international law statutes to achieve its interests. Byers and Nolte (2003:157) further elaborates that the USA made use of the United Security Council which have provoked serious charges that it serves as a tool of US foreign policy rather as truly international organ.
Within that dispute Rourke (2005:279) argued that the non Western view of the international law is that the LDCs (Less Developed Countries) they had little or no role in determining the rules that govern the international system. These countries promote the notion of sovereignty but rejects aspects of international law as they mostly work to their disadvantage. The issue of property rights have been used to the disadvantage of the weaker countries Rourke (2005;278) gives an example of how the Western pharmaceutical firms have prevented the LDCs from access to technology that would enable them to produce HIV/AIDS drugs but whilst they have the claim to respond to the epidemic by producing the drugs themselves which is more important than western emphasis of property right. This conception within the international law has allowed hegemonic powers to interfere directly with the LDCs economic prospects, social goals and political goals making the notion of sovereignty unnecessary to govern the international system.
Compliance of the international law does not exist to powerful states, threat to use economic sanctions, imprisonment, and military intervention only applies to weaker nations while the powerfully built nations can violate international law without being held accountable. The most devastating violation of the international can be noticed when Nicaragua filed a case in 1984 with the ICJ charging the US support of the Contra rebels and its mining of the Nicaraguan harbours violated international law, the US argued that the charges were political and therefore the court had no jurisdiction when the ICJ ruled that it had jurisdiction in the case the Reagan administration in 1985 withdrew US consent to the optional clause Rourke (2005;275).This clearly shows that hegemonic powers of the US makes it above the international law.
If the US can have such influence what benefit is this multilateral institutions and the UN in upholding and protecting the aggressive nature of the superpower to attain its own national interests .The refusal of the of the US to ratify many treaties as Byers and Nolte (2003:90) propounds which are regarded as the cornerstone of the development of international law in particular the Comprehensive Test Treaty Ban, Treaty of Kyoto Protocol, the ICC Statute, Landmines Convention, the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Amended Convention of the Sea has demonstrated that the superpower can control the development of international Law and either opt out in the construction of international law. The significance of international law lacks without the hegemonic powers enforcing it to some extent but the weaker countries suffers from the bad practices of international law by the powerful nations.
The use of the US courts as international courts that enforces the international laws has resulted in weaker nations having no voice in the international community Byers and Nolte (2003:162) elaborates that United States is using it’s legislative and executive branches for the enforcement of law against other states hence has resulted in the Us courts to become important fora for suits of an international nature. If the US courts are becoming international courts then what is the significance of the international law. This has resulted in the international law to loss credibility, weaker states are now be controlled by the US judicial system instead of the ICJ (International Court of Justice) jurisdiction. Lack of enforcement is the most impediment of the effectiveness of international law countries are reluctant to follow the decisions of international counts and the UN Secretariat which is the ICJ executive branch does not have authority to influence the ICJ rulings Rourke (2005;276). This lack of enforcement has led to dominant powers to violate ICJ rulings that go against their national interests without being prosecuted.
Lastly the US as the hegemonic power has used certification mechanisms to control the other states. Byers and Nolte (2003:161) elaborates that certification mechanisms by the US has become a common tool for the US to define rules for other states and monitor observance in areas of arms control, environment protection, human rights , narcotise and terrorism. This has resulted in the US to create laws to monitor and its observance of other states whilst it remains unbound and unmonitored. Byers and Nolte (2003:161) furthermore elaborates that the US is particularly reluctant to subscribe to new international human rights obligations and accept international supervision but it is proactive when it comes to domestic tools for enforcement of human rights abroad. These powerful nations do often what they like in the international arena that sometimes results in the weaker nations often become targets of such actions that erodes their states integrity and determination.
In conclusion International law has been faced with a lot of challenges as most of the powerful states infringe international law and do not face legal prosecution from the USA military personnel that violated the human rights in Iraq, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Kuwait that are supposed to tried on the ICC for war crimes but remains untried because of their citizenship to the world dominant nations. The weak states have been the only actors in the international community that face prosecution and forcible intervention in case that falls under their jurisdiction, state sovereignty has been eroded the doctrine of state self determination has been violated by influential nations. However despite the many failures and restrictions of international law, material interdependence, especially among the states of equivalent power, may foster the growth of positive legal principles.

Hsiung J 1997 Anarchy and Order the Interplay of politics and law in international Relations Lynne Rienner Publishers London
Baylis J and Smith S 2005 The Globalization of world Politics 3rd edition Oxford University Press USA
Byers M and Nolte G 2003 US Hegemony and the Foundations of International Law
Higgins R. 1994 International Law and the Avoidance, Containment and Resolution of
Disputes Oxford: Oxford University Press United Kingdom
Rourke J T 2005 International Politics on the world stage 10th edition Duskin Publishing Group Inc Guilford USA
Panst J 2007 Beyond the law The Bush Administration’s unlawful Response in the “war” on Terror Cambridge University Press

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Outline the components of the debate on the transition from feudalism to capitalism?

The transition from feudalism to capitalism had been argued by different scholars who have propounded different methodologies on the transition from feudalism system into the capitalism system. This essay will outline the components of the debate on the transition from feudalism to capitalism.

The debate is centered on the Sweezy criticism of Dobb’s account of how the feudalism economic system evolution to capitalism. Sweezy’s criticism began with the sidelining of Dobb’s definition of the feudalism process according to Sweeyz in Hilton (2006; 33) criticized Dobb definition of feudalism as being virtually identical with serfdom instead of indentifying a system of production he further criticized that serfdom can exist in systems which are not clearly feudal. Sweezy says this definition is inadequate and that it may apply to Western European feudalism but shouldn't be generalized beyond that, as he accuses Dobb of doing.
In debate on the transition Sweezy according to Hilton (1976; 36) elaborates that Dobb on the theory of the decline of feudalism concentrated on the impact of commerce which was acting as an external force and developing outside the system that it finally overwhelms the transition from the old order to the new that finds the dominant causal sequences within the sphere of exchange between the manorial economy and the outside world. Dobb found out that the growth of money economy led to the intensification of serfdom as there is evidence that it was the cause of the feudal decline he also reasons that if the only factor at work in the Western Europe was the rise of trade eventually its intensification resulted in the disintegration of feudalism.
Paul Sweezy act in response to this by saying that Dobb most show that the feudal ruling class’s growing need for revenue and the flight of serfs from the land can both be explained in terms of forces operating inside the feudal system Hilton (1976:37). Sweezy continue to say that with regards to lords need for revenue put forward by Dobb is not clearly propounded. He says the size of the parasitic class tended to expand as a result of natural growth of noble families, sub infeudation and the multiplication of retainers of whom all has to be supported from the surplus labour of the serf population Hilton (1976:38). Sweezy also argued that once we look outside the feudal system we will find ample reason for the growing extravagance of the feudal ruling class; he said that the rapid expansion of trade from the eleventh century onward brought an ever increasing quantity and variety of goods within their reach.
Sweezy examined Dobb’s theory as that according to Hilton (1976; 36) that the essential cause of the breakdown of feudalism was over-exploitation of the labour force as the serfs deserted the lord’s estates in large numbers. Sweezy criticized this point by propounding that the serfs could not desert the manors no matter how exacting their masters might become unless if they had somewhere to go he argued that the federal society generated a surplus of vagrant population which constituted the dregs of society which is made up of those whom there were no room for manors and this is hardly inconsiderable that the serfs would deliberately abandon their holdings to descend to the bottom of the social ladder.
Sweezy argued that he found Dobb theory of decline of feudalism unsatisfactory on several counts. He goes on to say that Dobb does not say the root cause of the decline of feudalism which was the growth of trade, and that Dobb deals with the area less importantly Hilton (1976: 41). Furthermore Sweezy according to Hilton (1976:40) pays little attain to the fights of the serfs in the 12th and 13th century and he agrees with Dobb that in did the growth of the towns acted as a magnet to the oppressed rural population but he disagrees with Dobb of not mentioning that the burgers themselves in need of additional labour force and more soldiers enhanced their military strength in an effort to facilitate the escape of the serfs from the jurisdiction of their masters. Sweezy criticized Dobb that the oppression as an important factor in the predisposing the serfs to flight could not alone led to an emigration of large proportions.
Sweezy also raises the point that serfdom ended in England in the 1500s, but feudalism didn't end until 1644-1645 - so how can Dobb explain that and how does he characterize that period in between. They disagree about how to characterize the period of the 1500's and 1600's in Western Europe, during the transition from feudalism to capitalism. Sweezy calls that period pre-capitalist commodity production. Dobb defines it as feudalism in an advanced state of dissolution.
The transition from Feudalism to capitalism must the analyzed within the different views the different scholars have propounded. It is essential to take into consideration the arguments put forward by Sweezy on Dobb theory on the transition form feudalism to capitalism as this gives a clear understanding on the dynamics of the transition from feudalism to capitalism.

Dobb M 1963. Studies in the development of capitalism. Rout ledge paperback .London: United Kingdom

Hilton, R. (1976). The Transition from Feudalism to Capitalism. NLB. London

Analyze Hobson‘s theory of imperialism and its usefulness in understanding the expansion of capitalism

The development of the imperialism system was propelled by the economic forces of overproduction and under-consumption. Hobson argues that the economic forces of over-production and subsequent under-consumption spark a complex chain of events that result in imperialism. In order to understand this progression we must delve further into Hobson's theory. In the 18 century major European powers began to establish the imperialism system due to the economic forces that propelled them to colonize global territorial areas in the proposition of bring civilization and Christianity to the so called uncivilized peoples. This essay is going to critically analyze Hobson’s theory of imperialism and its usefulness to the understanding the expansion of capitalism.

According to Hobson's theory, imperialism arises from the generation of under-consumption and over-saving in the capitalistic economy of the home country. Powerful financiers seek investment opportunities with a high rate of return for their excess savings, driving them to invest in the "uncivilized" lands of Africa. These investors, looking to minimize risks on their investments while maintaining their high rate of return, use their influence to force their government to provide military protection and eventually to annex outright the areas in which they have invested. Thus, imperialism exists to further the interests of the investor class at the expense of the rest of the nation. Hunt (2002; 351) Hobson saw imperialism as a social parasite by which moneyed interest when the states uprising the reins of government ,makes imperial expansion in order to foster economic suckers into foreign bodies so as to drain them of their wealth in order to support domestic luxury. These investors, looking to minimize risks on their investments while maintaining their high rate of return, use their influence to force their government to provide military protection and eventually to annex outright the areas in which they have invested. Thus, imperialism exists to further the interests of the investor class at the expense of the rest of the nation.

Hunt (2002:351) elaborates that imperialism was the outcome of many separate social forces such as nationalism, patriotism, religious fervor and militarism as well as capitalist ceaseless quest for more profit. The major powers advanced there rule to weaker nations in the proposition to increase their capital accumulations and investment to more profits. Imperialism generally described as the benevolent quest to civilize and bring Christianity to the low races was according to Hobson was a propagandist way lie a fraudent conceit behind the real motives of imperialism. Hunt (2002;353) propounds that the rapid accelerating concentration of the of industrial power and wealth which occurred in the last third of the 19th century the income colossal wealth holdings was so large that even the most extravagant and luxurious of consumption expenditure would leave them with enormous amounts of income. This led to foreign investment being the only answer but such investment was only possible only if the non capitalist countries could be “civilized”, Christianized and uplift thus if the traditional institutions could be forcefully destroyed and people coercively be brought under the domain of the “visible hand “of capitalism so imperialism was the only answer to the capitalist ambitions of capital expansion. Hobson therefore concludes that although these non-economic forces are not the real justifications for imperialism, they are powerful and necessary tools for the investors.

Hobson examining the empirical data showing the profits derived from ordinary export and import trade concluded that the income derived as interest upon foreign investment enormously exceeded that derived as profits from the ordinary trade. Hobson showed why imperialism was required for capitalist to make profits why could not make their profits by investing at home or with capitalist countries. Why was it necessary to subjugate an non capitalist culture to destroy the its traditional institutions and make it economically dependent of the market and politically dependent on imperialist conqueror Hunt (2002:354). The primary force promoting and directing imperialism in Hobson view was the ceaseless drive to accumulate capital and invest the profits derived from the capital into new other and equally profitable capital. Imperialism is the is very useful in understanding the expansion of capitalism as its efficacy led to the most dominate countries globally in investing in foreign land in the proposition of increasing their capital accumulation prospects.

The foreign government of the great powers involvement often begins as military intervention to protect industrial sites in Africa or Asia. But eventually investors realized that the only true way to protect their investments from the native inhabitants and from other capitalist nations were to get rid of all difficulties. The result of this is imperialism, caused by the economic forces of over-production and under-consumption at home. Hunt (2002: 351) gives America example when President McKinney described the brutal, blood, military crushing of the Filipino independence movement by American troops as a benevolent attempt to educate the Filipinos and uplift and Christianize them of which this was just a propagandist way to shelve away the capitalist motives they had in the Filipinas.

In conclusion Hobson argues that imperialism is a product of capitalism. Capitalism and its profit motive generate over-production, which leads to concentration in industries. These new wealthy interests, though, cannot possibly spend enough to make up for the general under-consumption of the market and excess savings result. Unwilling to let these savings fail to realize maximum profit, investors place their money into risky, yet lucrative assets in the "uncivilized" lands of Africa and Asia. Then the investors, wishing to minimize their risks, induce their governments into giving their investments military protection and eventually to annex those areas in which they are invested.


Hunt E. K. (2002) History of economic thought: a critical perspective M. E Sharpe Inc USA

Discuss the process of class formation in England during the time of the growth of capitalism.

The growth of capitalism in England led to the formation of classes within the England economic and social environment. The flourishing industrialization period in the 18th century intensified the stratification of the England society within the growth of capitalism. Like any other European county during the growth of capitalism within the industrialization period stratification with the societies emerged those who own the means of production and those how sold their labour for economic benefits. The growth of Capitalism led to the transitory phenomena that led to the creation of the bourgeoisie and the proletariat classes. This easy will discuss and elucidate the process of the class formation in England during the growth of capitalism.

The disintegration of the feudal mode of production that was largely affected by the primitive accumulation process by the merchant capitalists led to the formation of a new mode of production the capitalist system Dobb (1963; 181) elaborates that capitalism did not grow to any stature until the disintegration of the feudalism had reached an advanced stage the petty primitive accumulation which was the legacy of the feudal society was itself partially subordinated to capital and state policy in England was being shaped into by new bourgeois influences. Capitalism according Dobb (2007:3) it is a system of unfettered individual enterprise: a system where economic and social relations are ruled by contract, where men are free agents in seeking their livelihood and legal compulsions and restrictions are absent. Dobb (148:1963) quotes Karl Marx elaborating that England stratification of classes did not appear pure in form in which the capitalist society had two forms of classes the bourgeoisie and the proletariat.

Most of the peasants that migrated from the farms or the rural areas during the disintegration of the feudal economic system into the urban areas become the proletariat class that offered their labour to the bourgeoisie according to Dobb (86; 1963) the productivity of labour and the unit of production alike were too small and source capital accumulation had to be looked for not within the petty mode of production with the urban handcrafts enshrined these development disrupted the primitive simplicity of the urban communities hence the development of the rise of a privileged class of burghers began to engage exclusively in wholesale trade.

The inheritance of the feudal authority among the class of the capitalist society that of means of production control and ownership was in the England capitalistic economy as the source of capitalist revenue and accumulation was based on the exploitation of the proletarian although contractual relationship existed and free exchange. According to Dobb (1963;87) the riches and accumulation of the urban bourgeoisie was not centered on the serfs to toil for them and had not invested in the employment of an industrial proletariat. Most of the burgher wealth in the capitalism growth in England was produced not acquired different form the primitive accumulation that involved the merchant capitalists. Dobb (1963:88) elaborates that the vast accumulations of the merchant class can be explained in twofold one of exploiting some political advantage or scarcely-veiled plunder secondly class of merchants was quick to acquire powers of monopoly which fenced its ranks from competition and served to turn the terms of exchange to its advantage in its dealings with the producer and the consumer. Accumulation of wealth during the growth of the capitalist economy was the major base to the formation the bourgeoisie class Dobb (1963:90) elaborates that the methods of controlling the means of attaining wealth by the burgesses was very fundamental as they levied market dues and tolls which provided a very important source of revenue to the town.

In England towns in the 14th century the bourgeoisie class was now in control of the means of production Dobb (1963; 100) the political plutocracy at that period of time also fuelled the expansion of the bourgeoisie class which involved an actual usurpation of economic privileges and political control by the new burgher plutocracy the urban democracy that was in England was abolished and trading privileges had been more or less open to the general citizens. The growth of capitalism which led to the emergence industrial era that was mainly focused of development of new technologies in farming, textiles and manufacturing sector in England all these inventions where in the motive to increase profit and also in the motive to create wealth.

Creation of wealth in England also led to the formation of classes the bourgeoisie as the class that owned the means of production and where politically strong in controlling trade and revenue accumulation of other classes Dobb (1963; 100) gives the example of how the Gild Merchant in England which was mainly composed of the majority of burgesses including craftsmen, tended to become a close organization and to exclude craftsmen from the privileges of wholesale and trade. This monopoly over the means of income and capital accumulation led the bourgeoisie to accumulate more wealth and to enhance more control over the means of production. Dobb (1963:102) political power over towns was in the hands of the burgher oligarchy which resulted in the attainment of monopoly over the wholesale of trade.

While the market was experiencing a boom in England the division between classes increased Dobb (1963;109) elaborates that internally the market was expanding not only through the growth of towns and the multiplication of urban markets but also increased penetration of money economy into the manor with the growth of hired labour and the leasing of demesne for money. The bourgeoisie classes was growing in the midst of growth the capitalism system due to these factors according to Dobb (1963;178) capitalism demands not only the transfer of titles of wealth into the hands of the bourgeois class but the concentration of the ownership of wealth into much fewer hands.

In England during the growth of Capitalism the increase of ownership of property and capital accumulation by the bourgeoisie class was intensive as the capitalism economic system paves way for privatization and free trade, the bourgeoisie class took the opportunity of such an economic system. Dobb (1963; 182) elaborates that the most important to history of accumulation was the rapid increase in the supply of the precious metals in the 16th century and the price inflation. During the growth of capitalism price inflation was the main factor which resulted in the massive expansion of the bourgeoisie wealth Dobb (1963; 182) suggests that price inflation was no doubt the powerful factor in facilitating the transfer of land into bourgeois hands the price at which land could be purchased tended to lag behind the rise in other values and the existing owners of land were inclined to acquire money as an object of hoarding in terms of traditional land values.

The growing of financial institutions during the growth of capitalism within England resulted also in the growth of the bourgeoisie class according to Dobb (1963; 189) banking institutions and the extension of the of the Crown borrowing and state debt were the most powerful influences in promoting bourgeois accumulation as public debt is one of the powerful levels of primitive accumulation. The maturing industrial capitalism gave birth to the proletariat class that depended on the producer as they offered the labour in return of economic incentives Dobb (1963;222) quotes Marx that for capitalism as a production system to mature two different kinds of commodity processors must come face to face and into contact on the other hand the owners of money ,means of production, means of subsistence ,who are eager to increase the sum of values they posses by buying other people’s labour power on the other hand, free labourers , the sellers of their own labour power. Stilwell (2006:50) also elaborates capitalism is a system of ‘alienated labour’. This characteristic is useful in understanding the appropriate developmental path as it demonstrated the importance of labour in a capitalistic society, how labour can be associated with the level of output and relations to profits, from the feudalism economic system the developmental path created classes, the bourgeoisie and the proletariat

Primitive accumulation resulted in the deprivation of the peasants on the means of production the land and any other revenue generating means as capitalism was growing need for labour –power was supplied by the alarming number of the proletariat class in England according to Dobb (1963;2230) the increase in the population in England in the 19th century resulted in the growth of the proletariat as they were the majority whilst the minority were the bourgeoisie that owned the means of production. The growing industrial capitalist environment in England in the 18th century led to landholding from small holders to larger one according to Dobb (1963; 227) in the 18th century in England dispossession quicken small farms being absorbed by bigger ones and the forced evictions of many smaller holders burdened by debt in the late 19th century and early 19th century were cut off from their traditional by employment in the cottage industry.

The ability of the of the displaced farmers and the peasants from the rural areas to obtain capital and the means of production resulted in them becoming the wage earns according to Dobb (1963:230) the inability to obtain working capital and progressively enchained by debt and the multiplication of apprentices that was everywhere encouraged by the growing dominance of capital over production served merely to increase the number of those who were destined for life to be wage earners even if they had cherished other ambitions. The growth of the industrial capitalism resulted in the England authorities to impose laws that would make the proletariat offer their labour to the bourgeoisie factories and farms Dobb (1963; 232) elaborates that the imposition of the Tudor policy was to force the proletarian class to submit their labour it rendered being unemployed as an offence with characteristic brutality.

The ‘process of proletarianization’ indicates the creation of a class of people who do not control the means of production, and who survive by selling their labour. According to , Mikkelsen (1996:6) proletarianization refers to (a) the separation of workers from control of the means of production (expropriation), and (b) increasing dependence of workers on the sale of their labour power (wagework). Proletarianization points indirectly to an array of changes beginning in the agrarian system of production and agrarian ownership of property, capital flow, and new social and demographic structures, along with a characteristic concentration of capital, which includes industrial production as well as its spatial distribution. The historical version of this process addresses a proletarianization that crystallized between the 16th century and the middle of the 19th century in England rural areas, and that, during the19th to 20th centuries, would be concentrated in the cities.

The emergence of the proletariat was further fuelled by the by the demographic changes in England as population increased in the rural areas which resulted in net migration of the rural folks into towns in search of employment. Natural rate of increase and social mobility according Mikkelsen (1996:6) resulted in the outward movement of thousands of people most of them proletarian from rural areas to urban centres according to Tilly, natural increase have played the major role in the growth of the European proletariat since 1500, and especially since 1800 the growing number of the proletariat was as a result of the growth of the capitalism the proto-industrialization according to Mikkelsen (1996:6) in the 18th century, the growth of industrial output was primarily caused by the expansion of small scale, labour-intensive manufacture in a capitalist environment, a mode of production named proto-industrialization the development of proto- industrialization in England resulted in the created of a large labour pool which forced all the rural migrants to become wageworkers.

According to Mikkelsen (1996:6) elaborates that agrarian improvement often went hand in hand with concentration and consolidation of capitalist farms, and the accumulation of cultivated land in the hands of landlords. In some regions a growing number of smallholder were charged with increasing seigniorial dues and taxes, whereas in others they were given the choice of becoming rural labourers or abandoning agriculture. The industrialization process resulted in the creation of classes as those who were not wealthy were forced into the proletarian class in the 19th century rural industrial workers, agricultural wageworkers, tenants
and sharecroppers entered the urban world that was becoming more and more proletarianized in England. Within the 19th century or prior the nineteenth century according to Tilly (1980:8) a majority of Britain's rural population consisted of landless labourers, and that rural proletarianization continued to the mid-nineteenth this prompted the landless labourers to became wage labourers in the growing industrialized sector with England.

The growth of capitalism led to the stratification of the society in England as classes emerged in the England economy. The industrialization period in the growth of capitalism in the 18th century and 19th century marked the transition from agricultural based economies to technological based economies. Capitalist ambitions to control the means of production led to the formation of a class that depended on wages. In conclusion the growth of capitalism led to the formation of classes in England thus the bourgeois class and the proletariat class.

Dobb M 2007. Studies in the development of capitalism. Routledge paperback .London: United Kingdom

Stilwell F 2006, Political Economy: The Contest of Economic Ideas, Second Edition Oxford University Press, Melbourne.

IN SEARCH OF A S YNTHESIS accesed on 28/04/2010 International Institute of Social History