Productive forces

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Productive forces, productive powers, or forces of production (German: Produktivkräfte) is a central idea in Marxism and historical materialism.

In Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels' own critique of political economy, it refers to the combination of the means of labor (tools, machinery, land, infrastructure, and so on) with human labour power.

Together with the social and technical relations of production, the productive forces constitute a historically specific mode of production.

The productive forces are the unity of means of production and labour:

  1. All labour (individual, union)
  2. Instruments of production (buildings, machines)
  3. Subjects of production (raw materials, labor)

Modern uses

While the definition of productive forces hasn't changed, it's become a popular term in recent decades as the People's Republic of China has been emphasizing increasing their economy's productive forces in order to advance to higher stages of socialism, and eventually to the lofty ideal of communism, where there is immense material abundance.

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