Forces of Production

Karl Marx (1818-1883)
Karl Marx (1818-1883) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Forces of Production is a concept developed from the work of Karl Marx. Although Marx’s theory of history is variously interpreted, writers such as G. A. Cohen argue that politics, religion and economics (i.e. the social aspect of exchange) do not determine a given societal formation.

Instead, societal type is an outcome of the dominant forces of production, or ‘productive forces.’ The forces of production refers to the way a given society actually produces commodities. The forces of production include raw materials, tools, technology and the knowledge of how to organize labor power and use available tools.

While some writers apply the term ‘economics’ to include the forces of production, Cohen and other theorists say that economics more properly refers to the social relations of production. The relations of production refers to the uniquely social aspects of production in a given society, usually the legal or brute force mechanisms of exploiting labor, extracting surplus and maintaining social dominance of the few over the many.

One comment

  1. The uncertainties of the contemporary times, projected into the future, invite us to revisit dismissed ideas with an attitude of openness.


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