Wage Labor

chose theme 3, however it was only partially covered: philosophers haven’t been mentioned, as well as nothing about economic production, accumulation of capital, etc has been presented presented.

Choose ONE of the topics below and write a fully developed essay of 3 pages, double-spaced, 12-point font, with 1.5 inch margins on all sides.

Be sure to provide direct evidence (paraphrasing of scenes or dialogue; description of action or visual imagery or film techniques; or direct citation from the script) from both of the films you are discussing (Fritz Lang’s Metropolis and Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times).

1.) Both of these films depict the struggle between Labor and Capital within the context of industrialized production. In each film, explain what the issues of contention are between the two sides (the laborers and the wealthy capitalists), decide which side is favored by each of the two filmmakers and explain how those biases are revealed within each film, and then describe how each of these disputes gets resolved in the end. In your conclusion, draw comparisons and contrasts between the two films in the way they represent workers’ rights and business owners’ rights.

2.) In the early twentieth century, the U.S. government tended to cooperate very closely with big business until the Great Depression when it began siding with workers. In each of the two films, consider the different roles of the state and its relationship to business and/or labor interests (for example, as police enforcers, censors, public administrators, defenders of public welfare, guarantors of law and justice). Using concrete examples from the two films, describe the vision of the state that each filmmaker was putting forward, and provide reasons to account for any similarities or differences.

3.) Analyze both of the films using the principles of social economy laid out in either Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations or Karl Marx’s Philosophical Manuscripts. Consider any one of the following issues and how it is represented in each film: economic production, accumulation of capital, wage labor, liberty and servitude, social and economic justice. Using the writings of either Smith or Marx as your standard, decide which film best exemplifies the principles of your chosen philosopher, and explain why.
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