Relations of production

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Relations of production called concept of Marxist economic theory , the social relationships that people in production , the exchange in the distribution and consumption of products for the purpose of satisfying needs or goods go together.

An important feature here are the ownership structure , i.e. who is the owner of the social (not individual!) Means of production or who has legal or factual power over them. During the free individual cobbler z. If, for example, the means of production such as tools, leather, etc. belong to him and so he owns the product of his work, the shoemaker in a factory has neither power of disposal over the means of production nor the product, the shoes, and has to use his labor himself according to specifications. Production is social and no longer individual. The development of the productive forces , e.g. B. Mechanization of shoe production can change the production conditions: The artisan shoemaker will mostly go under as a craftsman and must work as a double freelance wage worker in factories. This development occurs without intentional planning or the will of anyone involved to achieve this goal.

Since production or economy is essential for the existence of a society , these relations of production and property are also the essential basis for the distribution of power, worldview or ideology as well as aspects of the superstructure such as B. Law or religion in the respective society. This is why the primeval society with stone-age hordes differs from the slave-holding society , feudalism , capitalism , socialism or communism .

Marx himself formulates these highly complex relationships in the preface " On the Critique of Political Economy " as follows:

"The general result that came to me and, once obtained, served as a guide for my studies, can be summarized as follows:
In the social production of their life people enter into certain, necessary relations independent of their will , production relations which correspond to a certain stage of development of their material productive forces. The totality of these relations of production forms the economic structure of society, the real basis on which a legal and political superstructure rises and to which certain forms of social consciousness correspond. The mode of production of material life determines the social, political and spiritual life process in general.
It is not people's consciousness that determines their being, but, conversely, their social being that determines their consciousness. "

The importance that people enter into these relations of production "independently of their will" is shown in the fact that no one planned to introduce or abolish feudalism or capitalism as a social system, but it is natural, as it were, legally even without the will of people - yes, often developed against the will of the people. Even with knowledge of such regularities or the existing will to change production or social conditions, people are not, according to Marx, the driving force for social revolutions or upheavals. In the preface to his main work "Das Kapital" he only assigns the knowledge of these laws to the role of an obstetrician. In this sense, it is the changes and relationships on the material basis and the production relationships that bring about changes in the superstructure . This is a dialectical process in the sense of dialectical development, which can also gradually lead to reforms or to a revolution .

According to historical materialism , when the relations of production become fetters for the development of the productive forces, revolutions can arise that lead to a new social mode of production with possibly new relations of production. According to the law of the agreement of the relations of production with the character of the productive forces, the two form a dialectical unity .

Production relations always represent a multitude of different relations, which work together systematically according to the predominant mode of production in the national economy. The production relationships include:

  • Ownership structure,
  • Power relations,
  • Working conditions,
  • Distribution relationships,
  • Circulation ratios,
  • Consumption Relations.

See also

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Foreword to " On the Critique of Political Economy ", Marx-Engels-Werke, Volume 13, Pages 7 to 11, Dietz Verlag Berlin, 1972. First published in January 1859 by Franz Duncker, Berlin.

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