Socioeconomic Structure

Socioeconomic Structure

 

the integrated system of production relations that determines the societal pattern of production. Societies may have one or more such structures, but in the latter case one socioeconomic structure will dominate. Unifying and subordinating the other structures, the dominant structure defines the character of the society and determines which socioeconomic formation the society belongs to. In this sense, the dominant structure serves as the foundation of society as a whole.

A socioeconomic structure that has attained dominance in a “social organism” may subsequently lose its position; by the same token, a subordinate structure may come to be dominant. More fundamental is the distinction between formative and non-formative structures. The first type includes primitive communal, slaveholding, feudal, capitalist, and communist structures. Non-formative structures are those that in principle are unable to dominate; this type includes patriarchal (subsistence economy) and petit bourgeois (small commodity-exchange economy) structures.

It is sometimes the case that production relations exist in a society without constituting an integrated system. Here, the relations merely form an adjunct of greater or lesser importance to the socioeconomic structure formed by production relations of a different type. Examples are provided by hired labor in ancient Babylonia and ancient Rome and slavery in Russia in the 15th to 17th centuries. Transitional historical periods, during which no socioeconomic structure is dominant, are also known to occur, for example, in societies in transition from capitalism to socialism. In Soviet Russia during the 1920’s, the socialist socioeconomic structure occupied the leading position. However, a patriarchal peasant economy, small-scale commodity production, private capitalism, and state capitalism also existed (V. I. Lenin, Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 36, p. 296; vol. 43, pp. 158, 207, 221). In modern times, the absence of a dominant socioeconomic structure is characteristic of many developing countries in Asia and, especially, Africa.

REFERENCES

Lenin, V. I. Razvitie kapitalizma v Rossii. Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 3.
Lenin, V. I. “Retsenziia: A. Bogdanov, Kratkii kurs ekonomicheskoi nauki.” Ibid., vol. 4.
Lenin, V. I. “Tri istochnika i tri sostavnykh chasti marksizma.” Ibid., vol. 23.
Lenin, V. I. “O ’levom’ rebiachestve i o melkoburzhuaznosti.” Ibid., vol. 36.
Lenin, V. I. “Velikii pochin.” Ibid., vol. 39.
Lenin, V. I. “O prodovol’stvennom naloge.” Ibid., vol. 43.
Semenov, Iu. I. “Kategoriia ‘obshchestvenno-ekonomicheskii uklad’ i ego znachenie dlia filosofskoi i istoricheskoi nauk.” Nauch. dokl. vyssheishkoly: Filosofskie nauki, 1964, no. 3.

IU. I. SEMENOV

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