Please explain the following passage by Marx as well as identify and analyse a recent event that you think exemplifies the ideas expressed in this passage.
“As the conscious representative of this movement, the possessor of money becomes a capitalist. His person, or rather his pocket, is the point from which the money starts and to which it returns. The expansion of value, which is the objective basis or main-spring of the circulation M-C-M, becomes his subjective aim, and it is only in so far as the appropriation of ever more and more wealth in the abstract becomes the sole motive for his operations, that he functions as a capitalist, that is, as capital personified and endowed with consciousness and a will. Use-values must therefore never be looked upon as the real aim of the capitalist; neither must the profit on any single transaction. The restless never-ending process of profit-making alone is what he aims at. This boundless greed after riches, this passionate chase after exchange-value, is common to the capitalist and the miser…” (Marx, Capital, p. 334)
First part of the paper
• Summarize in your own words the main point(s) of the passage and describe how it fits into the larger text from which it has been excerpted. That is, provide the context and a brief roadmap for the passage and your analysis.
• Analyze the passage closely. Explain as carefully as you can the meaning of all significant words and how they work together to convey the ideas the authors wish to express. You do not need to use any secondary sources do this kind of analysis. Please pay special attention to the underlined terms.
• Please refrain from excessive direct quoting of the source, and rather rely on paraphrasing, and your own wording and formulations. When quoting or referencing the text in any way, please provide correct page numbers.
Second part of the paper
• Identify a recent event or an issue that you think exemplifies the ideas expressed in this passage;
• Present a brief analysis of this event, informed by your discussion of the passage; please make explicit the connection between the concepts from the passage and the event;
• Please provide a reference or a link to the source where you learned about the event/issue.
• 3 pages long (1000 words);
• 1 inch margins;
• double line spacing;
• Times New Roman;
• 12 pt font size;
• no title page is required;
• references: Chicago Manual of Style 16th ed (in text or footnotes).
Each paper will be evaluated according to the following criteria:
– complexity of analysis and attention to detail;
– relevance of the selected event;
– appropriate and correct use of citations (Chicago Manual of Style 16th ed.);
– clarity of expression;
– structure, style, and grammar.
Tips on close textual analysis
The process of writing an essay in any field usually begins with close textual analysis: after reading some kind of written material, you are asked in an assignment to examine it in a way that goes beyond mere opinion (“I think X about this text”) or judgment (“I liked/didn’t like this text” or I “agreed/disagreed” with the text). The technique of close reading can be applied to any kind of source, fictional or factual, imaginative or historical, literary or scientific. What counts as a “text” varies by discipline. In the humanities, it might be a poem, essay, novel, a speech, or historical document. In the social sciences it might be data from sociological surveys, interviews with subjects in a psychological study or an economic theory or principle. In the sciences, sources might begin with the quantitative results of various sorts of experiments, which then need to be explained and interpreted: not even scientists can look at a graph and know what it means without some form of explanation. Other sources for close reading might include a painting or visual text, a movie, or a piece of music, a piece of architecture or a public space.
Whatever the discipline, close textual analysis is based on the notion that a text cannot speak for itself—its meaning is not self-evident on its face, rather, it needs to be subject to analysis and interpretation. Likewise, close reading proceeds on the assumption that some terms and ideas are more important to a text than others – it has key terms which implicitly or explicitly shape the form, content and progression of ideas, be it an experiment on the attraction of fruit flies to light, Plato’s Republic or “The Gettysburg Address.” Close reading means what it sounds like: staying close to the text and observing what concepts and ideas undergird the content of the discussion at hand and excavating the implications of the concepts that are, either explicitly or implicitly, guiding the text.
Your analysis actually starts with identifying what you are reading for. Only once you have determined, through reading (and re-reading) what are the central concepts, terms, vocabulary or assumptions of the source can you begin to writing. In writing, you are translating your analytical reading into an interpretation that is related to, and which will produce, the overall argument of your paper.
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