noncapitalist and precapitalist modes of production
noncapitalist and precapitalist modes of production(MARXISM) the forms of economy and society which historically preceded the emergence of CAPITALISM and which in some societies may continue to exist together with the capitalist mode of production. Marx, especially in the Grundrisse, identified four main noncapitalist modes: ‘primitive communism’, the ‘ancient’, the ‘Asiatic’ and the ‘feudal’. Despite variations between them, one distinguishing feature from the capitalist mode which the last three shared was that political power was used to extract ECONOMIC SURPLUS from labourers, who existed in various forms of unfreedom, whereas Marx argued that capitalism was based on FREE WAGE LABOUR, whose EXPLOITATION occurred through economic means alone.
Since the 1970s there have been various attempts, mainly by structuralist Marxists influenced by ALTHUSSER, to refine Marx's work, especially in the light of contemporary anthropological studies. In particular, the concept of primitive communism has been modified by French anthropologists (Rey 1975; Terray, 1972) who developed the concept of lineage mode of production within which there are both hunting and gathering and horticultural societies (see HUNTER-GATHERER and HORTICULTURE). In this form elders (usually men) are seen to exert control over women, children and younger men through LINEAGE ties.