Mode of production

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A mode of production is the system of relations guiding material production, the way of acquiring the material resources necessary for social life. It can be summarized as the sum total of productive forces and the relations of production that exist at any given moment.

According to the historical materialist analysis, modes of production do not neatly and linearly succeed one another. Counter-revolution and reactionary restoration, as well as a lacking ability to sustain itself, can cause society to revert to a previous mode of production. Thus, due to the fact that new modes of production emerge slowly and old modes of production don't instantly disappear after a revolution, there may be multiple different modes of production coexisting within a given society. For instance, countries where the countryside is feudal while capitalism has emerged in the cities; or a socialist state which tolerates capitalist relations to increase its productive forces. The totality of all modes of production and associated superstructural expressions is called the "social formation".

Historical Modes of Production
Mode of production Time of Origin Productive forces Relations of production
Primitive communism Prehistory Hunter-gatherers' labor, primitive stone tools In the small tribe or community, everyone works together for survival through foraging and hunting. There is no 'private property'.
Slave society Early civilizations Slave labor, metal tools, beasts of burden, handicraft Through the social division of labor, society stratifies into classes, which leads to the creation of the state. The contradiction between slave-owners and slaves is primary, as slavery provides the cheapest form of surplus extraction.
Feudalism Medieval period Serf labor, craftsmen, more advanced metal tools, beasts of burden, handicrafts, small commodity production The contradiction between landowner and peasant existed already in slave-based society, but it becomes the standard under feudalism. Landowners wield political and legal power to coerce surplus value from serfs working their land. Over the course of feudal history, a merchant class arises in towns, and craftsmen and artisans engage in simple commodity production, which eventually leads to the development of capitalism.
Capitalism Renaissance Wage labor, large-scale industry, agriculture and large-scale for-profit commodity production As the merchant class gains dominance over the economy, the sale of goods for profit and further accumulation of profit leads to a system of mass production, investment by financiers and the inception of a class of wage laborers, who are coerced with the threat of homelessness or starvation to sell their labor on the market. Production for profit creates disequilibrium and leads to crisis.
Socialism 1920s Labor, collectivised industry and agriculture, commodity production for use[1] Collective industrial forces and agriculture are centrally planned by the workers' state, directing all economic activity towards meeting human need rather than profit, and in order to rapidly industrialize and modernize the country for the sake of advancement to communism.
Communism Future Post-scarcity society, an abundance of material wealth available to all members of society Absence of class antagonism, money, and production guided by the slogan "From each according to their ability, to each according to their need"

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