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- 18.104.22.168 - Mode of Production - Karl Marx - Sociology optional - UPSC - Paper - 1 - Unit - 4
In the writings of Karl Marx and the Marxist theory of historical materialism , a mode of production in German: Produktionsweise , meaning "the way of producing" is a specific combination of the following:. Marx regarded productive ability and participation in social relations as two essential characteristics of human beings and that the particular modality of these relations in capitalist production are inherently in conflict with the increasing development of human productive capacities.
A precursor to this concept was Adam Smith 's concept of mode of subsistence, which delineated a progression of society types based on the way in which society's members provided for their basic needs. To understand the way wealth was distributed and consumed, it was necessary to understand the conditions under which it was produced. A mode of production is historically distinctive for Marx because it constitutes part of an organic totality or self-reproducing whole which is capable of constantly re-creating its own initial conditions and thus perpetuate itself in a more or less stable ways for centuries, or even millennia.
By performing social surplus labour in a specific system of property relations, the labouring classes constantly reproduce the foundations of the social order.
A mode of production normally shapes the mode of distribution, circulation and consumption and is regulated by the state.
However any given mode of production will also contain within it to a greater or lesser extent relics of earlier modes, as well as seeds of new ones. When conflict arises, the modes of production can evolve within the current structure or cause a complete breakdown. The process by which social and economic systems evolve is based on the premise of improving technology.
Specifically, as the level of technology improves, existing forms of social relations become increasingly insufficient for fully exploiting technology. This generates internal inefficiencies within the broader socioeconomic system, most notably in the form of class conflict. The obsolete social arrangements prevent further social progress while generating increasingly severe contradictions between the level of technology forces of production and social structure social relations, conventions and organization of production which develop to a point where the system can no longer sustain itself and is overthrown through internal social revolution that allows for the emergence of new forms of social relations that are compatible with the current level of technology productive forces.
The fundamental driving force behind structural changes in the socioeconomic organization of civilization are underlying material concerns—specifically, the level of technology and extent of human knowledge and the forms of social organization they make possible.
Stages and modes of production
This comprises what Marx termed the materialist conception of history see also materialism and is in contrast to an idealist analysis , such as that criticised by Marx in Proudhon ,  which states that the fundamental driving force behind socioeconomic change are the ideas of enlightened individuals. Marx and Engels often referred to the "first" mode of production as primitive communism. Technological progress in the Stone Age was very slow; social stratification was very limited as were personal possessions, hunting grounds being held in common ;  and myth, ritual and magic are seen as the main cultural forms.
With the adoption of agriculture at the outset of the Neolithic Revolution , and accompanying technological advances in pottery, brewing, baking, and weaving,  there came a modest increase in social stratification, and the birth of class  with private property held in hierarchical kinship groups or clans. Animism was replaced by a new emphasis on gods of fertility;  and a move from matriarchy to patriarchy arguably took place at the same time.
The Asiatic mode of production is a controversial contribution to Marxist theory, first used to explain pre-slave and pre-feudal large earthwork constructions in India, the Euphrates and Nile river valleys and named on this basis of the primary evidence coming from greater "Asia". The Asiatic mode of production is said to be the initial form of class society, where a small group extracts social surplus through violence aimed at settled or unsettled band and village communities within a domain.
It was made possible by a technological advance in data-processing — writing, cataloguing and archiving  - as well as by associated advances in standardisation of weights and measures, mathematics, calendar-making and irrigation.
Pre-capitalist modes of production
Exploited labour is extracted as forced corvee labour during a slack period of the year allowing for monumental construction such as the pyramids, ziggurats and ancient Indian communal baths. Exploited labour is also extracted in the form of goods directly seized from the exploited communities. The primary property form of this mode is the direct religious possession of communities villages, bands, and hamlets, and all those within them by the gods: in a typical example, three-quarters of the property would be allotted to individual families, while the remaining quarter would be worked for the theocracy.
The forces of production associated with this society include basic agricultural techniques, massive construction, irrigation, and storage of goods for social benefit granaries.
Because of the unproductive use of the creamed-off surplus, such Asiatic empires tended to be doomed to fall into decay. Sometimes referred to as " slave society", an alternative route out of neolithic self-sufficiency came in the form of the polis or city-state. Technological advances in the form of cheap iron tools, coinage , and the alphabet , and the division of labour between industry, trade and farming, enabled new and larger units to develop in the form of the polis,  which called in turn for new forms of social aggregation.
A host of urban associations — formal and informal — took over from earlier familial and tribal groupings. Classical Greek and Roman societies are the most typical examples of this antique mode of production. The forces of production associated with this mode include advanced two field agriculture, the extensive use of animals in agriculture, industry mining and pottery , and advanced trade networks. It was not so much democracy, but rather the universalising of its citizenship, that eventually enabled Rome to set up a Mediterranean-wide urbanised empire, knit together by roads, harbours, lighthouses, aqueducts, and bridges, and with engineers, architects, traders and industrialists fostering interprovincial trade between a growing set of urban centres.
The fall of the Western Roman Empire returned most of Western Europe to subsistence agriculture, dotted with ghost towns and obsolete trade-routes  Authority too was localised, in a world of poor roads and difficult farming conditions.
This period also saw the decentralization of the ancient empires into the earliest nation-states.
The primary form of property is the possession of land in reciprocal contract relations, military service for knights, labour services to the lord of the manor by peasants or serfs tied to and entailed upon the land. The primary forces of production include highly complex agriculture two, three field, lucerne fallowing and manuring with the addition of non-human and non-animal power devices clockwork and wind-mills and the intensification of specialisation in the crafts—craftsmen exclusively producing one specialised class of product.
The prevailing ideology was of a hierarchical system of society, tempered by the element of reciprocity and contract in the feudal tie. During this period, a merchant class arises and grows in strength, driven by the profit motive but prevented from developing further profits by the nature of feudal society, in which, for instance, the serfs are tied to the land and cannot become industrial workers and wage-earners.
This eventually precipitates an epoch of social revolution i. By the close of the Middle Ages, the feudal system had been increasingly hollowed out by the growth of free towns, the commutation for money of servile labour,  the replacement of the feudal host by a paid soldiery, and the divorce of retainership from land tenure  - even if feudal privileges, ethics and enclaves would persist in Europe till the end of the millennium in residual forms.
The ruling class for Marx is the bourgeoisie , or the owners of capital who possess the means of production , who exploit the proletariat for surplus value , as the proletarians possess only their own labour power which they must sell in order to survive.
Under Capitalism the key forces of production include the overall system of modern production with its supporting structures of bureaucracy , bourgeois democracy , and above all finance capital. Socialism is the mode of production which Marx considered will succeed capitalism, and which will itself ultimately be succeeded by communism - the words socialism and communism both predate Marx and have many definitions other than those he used, however - once the forces of production outgrew the capitalist framework.
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In his work The State and Revolution , Lenin divided communism , the period following the overthrow of capitalism, into two stages: first socialism, and then later, once the last vestiges of the old capitalist ways have withered away, stateless communism or pure communism.
Marx typically used the terms the "first phase" of communism and the "higher phase" of communism, but Lenin points to later remarks by Engels which suggest that Marx's "first phase" of communism typically equates with what people commonly think of as socialism.
The Marxist definition of socialism is a mode of production where the sole criterion for production is use-value and therefore the law of value no longer directs economic activity. Marxist production for use is coordinated through conscious economic planning ,  while distribution of economic output is based on the principle of to each according to his contribution.
Pre-Capitalist Modes of Production
Communism is the final mode of production, anticipated to arise inevitably from socialism due to historical forces. Marx did not speak in detail about the nature of a communist society , which he would describe interchangeably with the words socialism and communism. He did however refer briefly in the Critique of the Gotha Programme to the full release of productive forces in "the highest phase of communist society In any specific society or country, different modes of production might emerge and exist alongside each other, linked together economically through trade and mutual obligations.
To these different modes correspond different social classes and strata in the population. For example, urban capitalist industry might co-exist with rural peasant production for subsistence and simple exchange and tribal hunting and gathering. Old and new modes of production might combine to form a hybrid economy.
However, Marx's view was that the expansion of capitalist markets tended to dissolve and displace older ways of producing over time. A capitalist society was a society in which the capitalist mode of production had become the dominant one.
The culture, laws and customs of that society might preserve many traditions of the preceding modes of production, thus although two countries might both be capitalist, being economically based mainly on private enterprise for profit and wage labour, these capitalisms might be very different in social character and functioning, reflecting very different cultures, religions, social rules and histories. Elaborating on this idea, Leon Trotsky famously described the economic development of the world as a process of uneven and combined development of different co-existing societies and modes of production which all influence each other.
This means that historical changes which took centuries to occur in one country might be truncated, abbreviated or telescoped in another.
Thus, for example, Trotsky observes in the opening chapter of his history of the Russian Revolution of that "[s]avages throw away their bows and arrows for rifles all at once, without travelling the road which lay between these two weapons in the past.
The European colonists in America did not begin history all over again from the beginning".
Pre-Capitalist Economic Formations
Thus, old and new techniques and cultures might combine in novel and unique admixtures, which cannot be understood other than by tracing out the history of their emergence. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Marxist economic theory. Theoretical works.
Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon. A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy.
Economic determinism Historical materialism Marx's dialectic Marx's method Philosophy of nature. Related topics. Related categories. Main article: Asiatic mode of production.
Main article: Capitalist mode of production Marxist theory. Main article: Socialist mode of production. Bureaucratic collectivism Capitalist mode of production Crisis Marxian Division of labour Economic system Means of production Relations of production Socialist mode of production Social system. Routledge, March P A Dictionary of Sociology.
Murray ed. King, The Philosophy Book London p. Lenin Internet Archive at marxists. Retrieved October 18, Critique of the Gotha Programme. Marxist phraseology and terminology. Barracks communism Base and superstructure Bourgeoisie Bourgeois democracy Bourgeois nationalism Bourgeois socialism Capitalist mode of production Class struggle Commodification Dialectics Dictatorship of the proletariat Historical materialism Imperialism Liquidationism Lumpenproletariat Means of labor Metabolic rift Petite bourgeoisie Primitive accumulation of capital Proletarian internationalism Proletarian revolution Pure communism Revolutionary spontaneity Revolutionary wave Scientific socialism Socialist mode of production Super-imperialism Theoretician Two stage theory Wage slavery Workers' council Workers' control World revolution.
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Deformed workers' state Degenerated workers' state French Turn Permanent revolution Social revolution Transitional demand Uneven and combined development United front World revolution. Categories : Modes of production Marxist terminology Theories of history Marxian economics Sociological terminology Production economics.
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The Commune was formed of the municipal councilors, chosen by universal suffrage in the various wards of the town, responsible and revocable at any time.
The majority of its members were naturally working men, or acknowledged representatives of the working class