Class consciousness and false consciousness | Social Inequality | MCAT | Khan Academy

Class consciousness and false consciousness | Social Inequality | MCAT | Khan Academy


– Let’s draw some factories and next to them, let’s draw some farms. So what I’m drawing here is something called the means of production. These are facilities and resources by which we can produce goods. Now when we think about factories
and farms, who owns them? Typically, it’s pretty
wealthy, wealthy individuals. On the flip side, those individuals typically hire a large amount of workers and what the workers offer is their labor. The workers don’t own any
of the means of production. They don’t tend to get any of
the profits or major benefits. They tend to get some
kind of salary, generally. So, when we look at the owners
and we look at the workers, we should start to realize
that there’s a class divide and when we think about class in society, we often think about the
hierarchy of the upper class and middle class and lower class and we often say the lower
class are the working class and that upper and middle class, they may very well be the owners. Now we come onto a theory and this was a theory that
was partly discussed by someone called Karl Marx
and further put forward by people who were advocates of
his theory called Marxists. And what this theory says
is that these workers, who are part of this working class, they don’t realize that
they’re being exploited and oppressed by this
capitalistic model of working where the owners control
the means of production and they get all of the
benefits and all the rewards. But what can happen, is that
these workers can develop something called class consciousness and what that means is
that they realize that as a class of society, that they
have solidarity with one another against the owners, against the people who own the means of production and that they must struggle to overcome this oppression and exploitation. And part of that may involve seizing and obtaining the means of production and redistributing the means of production amongst the workers. So in class consciousness,
the workers seek to obtain the factories and the farms and
take over the ownership. However, there’s another
part to this theory and that part conflicts
with class consciousness and this is called false consciousness. And unlike class consciousness,
when the workers start to see that their struggle is that they have solidarity with one another, and that they’re in a class
struggle against the owners. In false consciousness,
they’re unable to see their alleged exploitation and oppression. And remember, the story of society, the information that
floats around societies are often controlled
by the people in power, the owners, the people who
control the means of production. So through a lot of processes, they can install this false consciousness, promote it among the workers. So when we think about
false consciousness, we see that the owners may be
feeding a lot of information and controlling processes
in society to the workers and maybe giving them hope
that one or two of them may potentially become
owners in the future, whether that’s true or not and really promoting
this false consciousness, making it much more difficult
for the workers to unite and see their true levels of
exploitation and oppression. So one of the things we need
to also focus on is this false consciousness and class
consciousness is part of this Marxist theory and
there’s many people who would obviously disagree with this. And some of the ways we’re
thinking about owners and workers in these models,
they really refer to much more historic models of how
society worked in regards to society’s way of farms and
factories are dominant, which isn’t necessarily
the case in some of the more developed countries
in the world today.

19 Comments on "Class consciousness and false consciousness | Social Inequality | MCAT | Khan Academy"


  1. "These are historic models of society…and isn't necessarily the case in more developed countries in the world today." Sounds like someone has fallen victim to a false consciousness. Exploitation is alive and well and doing better than ever in developed countries.

    Reply

  2. i hate the negative people that dislike the video.. u dont have to learn here u know. i appreciate the khan Academy videos because i love how its broken down😊

    Reply

  3. a capitalism apologist operating under false consciousness emptily explains false consciousness.

    Reply

  4. This is a short but valuable lesson, up until the point where the instructor implies that this is an outdated "historic" model (as one commenter already pointed out). Current (capitalist corporate) power structures grew out of this model–the "owner" class is arguably more powerful and toxic than ever. Furthermore, they have simply refined and expanded the mechanisms of false consciousness. So many people are struggling to make ends meet or maintain a sense of personal security on a daily basis (in our "prosperous society")–it should be obvious to those who care to open their eyes that the oppression of such divisions of power and wealth are still very much alive.

    Reply

  5. This is impressive because it broke down all of the big major points of historical materialism in like 4 minutes. The important stuff anyway, all of the stuff the development of different kinds of means of production is esoteric BS. Is there a video about the labor theory of value?

    Reply

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