feudal mode of production
feudal mode of production(MARXISM) the MODE OF PRODUCTION which Marx saw as historically preceding CAPITALISM in Western Europe, and in which the RELATIONS OF PRODUCTION were characterized by feudal landlords using political and legal power to extract an ECONOMIC SURPLUS from an unfree peasantry in the form of feudal rent (see SERFDOM). Marx saw this mode of production as emerging out of ANCIENT SOCIETY and the social forms introduced into Western Europe by the Germanic tribes who invaded the Roman Empire. Land was held on condition of providing rent or service to an overlord.
Marx also saw the feudal mode of production as associated with a considerable development of productive forces with the introduction of mills, heavy-wheeled ploughs and other innovations which increased agricultural productivity. For Marx, the growth of towns signified a new event in history since, for the first time, the relations of production in the towns differed from those on the land. Thus, unlike previous modes of production, the towns were not a continuation of the countryside, but the two were increasingly in opposition. This dynamic between the social relations of town and countryside, together with the development of trade and manufacturing in the towns, were important elements in Marx's analysis of the dynamic of the feudal mode of production and the TRANSITION FROM FEUDALISM TO CAPITALISM. See also FEUDALISM AND FEUDAL SOCIETY; NONCAPITALIST AND PRECAPITALIST MODES OF PRODUCTION; compare ASIATIC MODE OF PRODUCTION.