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1.1 Background of the Study 

The basic natural impulse of man is the preservation of his existence. What this implies is that man tries to protect his existence foremost before considerations are given to other needs. It means therefore, that he has to live in the first instance, before his essence. This is the primacy of the human existence which, for existentialist thinkers, is what should genuinely engage philosophers. To live or to preserve his existence, man must keep his body nourished by food; and to provide for food means that he must work. This means that he must use his energy to convert what is given in nature to become useful to him. This work is therefore motivated by the fact that labour which should serve as a human activity that allows man to sustain his very existence has become a tool for self destruction arising from the class divisions, antagonisms and conflicts the appropriation of the products of labour engenders in modern society. This is more so because even though the prodigality of nature has provided man with the basic materials to meet his existential needs, however, the provident of nature rarely exists in forms directly suitable to meet man’s needs. It is, therefore, required of human labour to make nature suitable for his use. And in so doing, in modern terms, society is divided into antagonistic and self destructive classes of those who own only their labour power and those who own the means of production and so appropriate the product of labour and even manipulate the labour power of others. Why is it so? Labour is, therefore, what man does to provide food for the nourishment of his bodily needs, to sustain his existence. For this reason, Claude Ake asserts that economic productivity is the primary activity of man.3 If man must live, according to him, then he must work to provide food for himself. Ake avers that it is the importance of this that is amply reflected in the consciousness of men that they give themselves appellations according to the type of work they engage in: for instance, a teacher is one who engages in teaching to earn a wage to provide for food; a doctor, for a medical practitioner; an engineer; a trader etc. For him, although it is true that man does not live by bread alone, but it is a more fundamental truth that man cannot live without bread. The fact that one is no longer preoccupied by his daily economic needs, he asserts, means that the needs are being met, but that does not, for him, take away the urgency of this need. It is through human ingenuity from his labour that discoveries are made to provide for his other needs such as shelter, clothing, and so forth, to protect man from the unfriendly conditions of his immediate environment. It is so important and central to man that his life goes beyond just mere subsistence: Man creates and recreates his entire life. By work, he builds Dams, irrigates deserts and fashions tools, which give him new capacities and new opportunities, for acquiring knowledge. By creating and recreating his economic and other material conditions man also creates culture, history and civilization. Most importantly, he also creates his consciousness….4 Man has also used his labour power to structure his society and establish culture and patterns. In the history of human society, labour has played the most vital determinant role in social relations. Adam Smith supports this view when he writes in his Wealth of Nations that society tends to benefit more when labour is social; when there is a division in the productive process where one performs functions he is best skilled. He states: “the greatest improvement in the productive powers of labour, the greater part of skill, dexterity, and judgment with which it is any where directed, or applied, seem to have been the effects of the division of labour”.5 It is in this socialization of production that modern societies are formed, and human relationships are fostered; hence labour shape the character of all human societies. Society is often times polarized according to dynamics arising from the relative importance placed on some aspects of labour over others in the production process. Ake notes in the production process, some appropriate the labour of others and benefit from the proceeds which cause the major division between those who own the labour power and those who appropriate the labour power of others. He adds that: Everyman is rich or poor according to the degree in which he can afford to enjoy the necessities, conveniences, and amusements of human life, but after the division of labour has once thoroughly taken place, it is but a very small part of these with which a man’s labour can supply him, the far greater part of them he must derive from the labour of other people, and he must be rich or poor according to the quantity of that labour which he can command, or which he can afford to purchase.6 Societies are thus made up of people classed into relations in view of those who sell their labour power for self sustenance and those who use the labour of others for production. This has become a major source of division and conflict in modern societies. The study of the economic structure of society for Ake will make it simpler to understand other aspects of society. He asserts that: Once we understand what the material assets and constrains of a society are, how the society produces goods to meet its material needs, how the goods are distributed, and what types of social relations arise from the organization, we have come a long way to understanding the culture of that society, its laws, its religious system, its political system and even its mode of thought.7 Ake therefore outlines that the primary cause of the problems in Africa are products of labour relations owing largely to the introduction of capital relations from the West.

Project detailsContents
Number of Pages72 pages
Chapter one Introduction
Chapter two Literature review
Chapter three  methodology
Chapter  four  Data analysis
Chapter  five Summary,discussion & recommendations
Chapter summary1 to 5 chapters
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