mode of production

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mode of production

(MARXISM) a particular combination of a specific set of RELATIONS OF PRODUCTION and FORCES OF PRODUCTION to form an historically specific way of organizing economic production. In recent years this has been an important concept for structuralist Marxists influenced by ALTHUSSER. See FEUDAL MODE OF PRODUCTION, ASIATIC MODE OF PRODUCTION, PRIMITIVE COMMUNISM, CAPITALISM, MARX.

Mode of Production


the historically determined method of producing the material goods required by man for productive use and personal consumption; the mode of production represents the unity of productive forces and production relations.

The two aspects of the mode of production are joined in an inner reciprocity. Productive forces are predominant, since the character of production relations depends on the level of development of productive forces. Changes in property relations, in the character of the relationship between the labor force and the means of production, in the forms assumed by the relations between producers, in the class structure of society, and in the motivations and goals of economic activity—changes that are specific to each mode of production—are ultimately dictated by the development of productive forces, which themselves reflect the degree of man’s dominion over nature.

The mode of production is decisive for the conditions of the life of society. “The mode of production of material life,” noted Marx, “conditions the social, political, and intellectual life in general” (K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 13, p. 7). A certain superstructure takes shape in dependence on the existing mode of production. The history of human society has known five modes of production: the primitive-communal mode of production, the slaveholding mode of production, the feudal mode of production, the capitalist mode of production, and the communist mode of production (the first phase of which is socialism). The question of whether it is correct to distinguish an Asiatic mode of production is debated in Marxist literature.

The interrelationship between the two aspects of social production and the dependence of the character of production relations on the level of development of productive forces are expressed in the law of correspondence between production relations and the character and level of development of the productive forces; this law explains the succession of historically determined modes of production. Production relations, which are a form of the development of productive forces, in turn actively influence productive forces, either accelerating or slowing their progress. Moreover, the interaction of productive forces and production relations is subject to the reciprocal influence by the superstructure (seeBASE AND SUPERSTRUCTURE), which is possessed of a relative independence.

At a certain stage of development, productive forces come into conflict with production relations. Within certain limits, production relations have the capability to adapt, within the framework of a given mode of production, to the requirements of the productive forces, without change in their own qualitative distinctiveness. However, such adaptation is achieved at the expense of growing inner contradictions within the existing mode of production, in which the material preconditions of the new social order are taking shape and the social forces capable of carrying out fundamental socioeconomic transformation are growing. In a class-antagonistic mode of production, the conflict between productive forces and production relations leads, as a result of social revolutions, to the replacement of one mode of production by another.

The communist mode of production affirms the planned organization of production on the basis of the predominance of public property. Thus are opened possibilities for limitless improvement of productive forces and increases in the effectiveness of social production. The contradictions that arise under socialism between the growth of productive forces and production relations are by no means antagonistic; such contradictions are resolved through improved production relations achieved through the conscious management of social processes.


Marx, K. Naemnyi trud i kapital. In K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 6.
Marx, K. Iz ekonomicheskoi rukopisi 1857–1858 godov. (Introduction.) Ibid., vol. 12.
Marx, K. K kritikepoliticheskoi ekonomii. (Foreword.) Ibid., vol. 13.
Engels, F. Anti-Dühring. Ibid., vol. 20, sec. 2, ch. 1; sec. 3.
Lenin, V. I. Chto takoe “druz’ia naroda” i kak oni voiuiut protiv sot-sial-demokratov? Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 1.
Lenin, V. I. Ekonomicheskoe soderzhanie narodnichestva i kritika ego v kn. g. Struve. Ibid.
Kronrod. Ia. A. Zakony politicheskoi ekonomii solsializma. Moscow, 1966.
Kuz’minov, I. I. Ocherki politicheskoi ekonomii solsializma. Moscow, 1971.
Pravotorov, G. B. Stoimostnye kategorii i sposob proizvodstva. Moscow, 1974.


References in classic literature ?
We see, therefore, how the modern bourgeoisie is itself the product of a long course of development, of a series of revolutions in the modes of production and of exchange.
Conservation of the old modes of production in unaltered form, was, on the contrary, the first condition of existence for all earlier industrial classes.
I m pleased to see the recent efforts that China has made in promoting less resource-intensive development, phasing out energy-intensive and highly polluting modes of production, and pursuing a circular economy.
In terms of breadth, the collection covers multiple genres and modes of production, incorporates a diverse blend of methodological approaches, and presents a global selection.
Paradigms of living conditions, islands exaggerate existing modes of production and consumption of urban spaces.
Different geographic and temporal contexts as well as modes of production are juxtaposed, often exposing deep inequalities and contradictions.
Mohr argues that the more these Calvinists became dependent on capitalist modes of production, the more enchanted their lives, and subsequently their church became.
However, in order to achieve this, a major transformation of our economies, policies, technologies and modes of production and consumption is required.
We required a moulding and packing solution which had no restrictions, navigated numerous obstacles both technically and commercially and could easily switch between several different modes of production," commented Carclo Technical Plastics' Technical Director, Lee Dodd.
art historians), but there is no training offered there for those who synthesize current modes of production and create new frameworks (i.
She suggests that thinking about the trade solely in terms of domestic and capitalist modes of production is misleading, and she outlines a hybrid "fur trade mode of production" as an alternative way of conceptualizing this distinctive variety of cross-cultural trade.
His latest book, "Makers," released last month, expands on the idea that do-it-yourself modes of production made possible by new technology like 3D printing are going to launch a new industrial revolution that gives to underpaid and underappreciated workers the very means of production they have sought to control for so long.