p.p1 increase in productivity would only benefit the

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Last updated: July 27, 2019


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s1 {font-kerning: none}span.Apple-tab-span {white-space:pre} Secondly, in order to validate Marx’s historical materialism asserting that it was economic force which played a crucial role in propelling the changes of society not through human consciousness, the three historical events occurred seem to illustrate the same pattern of what Marx pointed out. The three events when the lower class overthrew the ruling class happened between  Marx’s four modes of production: the Asiatic, ancient, feudal, and capitalist (1983, 161). First to elaborate on the Asiatic mode of production, which is also known as primitive communism, the productive forces were hardly developed at all and properties were shared in the community.

  This mode of production existed early in human history when population was still small, the division of labor was rudimentary, in which people sustained their livings through hunting and fishing(Ibid 1983, 165). The changes of this mode of production appeared when the population gradually increased, the wants of people grew and external relations such as war and trade expanded(Ibid 1983, 165). These are increases in the productive forces that propelled people to move away from the commune. The increasing independence of the individual within the commune meant that the Asiatic type of production was no longer applicable for survival(Marx 1993, 486-7). Eventually, Asiatic mode of production was replaced to the ancient mode of production. In the ancient mode of production, the system of class was a dominant form. The ruling class controlled the surplus and, therefore, controlled the lower class (Marx 1993, 486).

In this mode, the division of labor was still underdeveloped that the lower class played role as slaves in the class struggle (Laibman 2006, 189). Slaves had little or no incentives to improve the productive forces by increasing their labor productivity because, any surpluses caused by increase in productivity would only benefit the ruling class. Therefore, this ancient mode of production’s productive forces grew outward or extensively (Ibid 2006,190-1). This expansion, however, led to the fall of the ancient mode of production. Mainly because, since the number of ruling class was limited compared to the extensive size of the empire, the ancient states which maintained the ruling class to be yield by the  invasion. To illustrate, the fall of the Roman Empire conspicuously proves the inefficient factor and reason behind the collapse of the ancient mode. Subsequently, Feudalism followed the ancient mode of production.

Feudalism was constituted by serfdom and the guilds. Feudalism followed the ancient mode of production. Feudalism was characterized by serfdom and the guilds.

The unique factor about Feudalism was that it brought a significant shift in the development of the productive forces. Mainly because, since the lower class controlled certain means of production, the productive forces grew intensively (Ibid 2006, 193). The lower class during this period had motivation to enhance individual labor productivity and means of production because any surpluses  they obtained through improved production could be kept(Ibid 2006, 193).

Feudalism fell when the lower class overthrew the ruling class and established market-based productive relations to further enable them to develop productive forces. Consequently, this conversion signified the introduction of capitalism. Capitalism is a mode structured by private property and markets. The entrepreneurs own machines, buildings, and tools and make use of them to make profits by producing different items that can be sold in markets. In capitalism, individuals are not tied to land, guilds or dominated in any ways. On the surface, the lower class in this new system seem to be unrestrained by the class system because, individuals can freely choose to be employed by the businesses, where they earn a wage in return for their labor, to maintain their livings.

In other words, they essentially sell their labor to the business. However, with deeper observation of this system, it is another form of repression and class struggle and is more hidden than the previous modes of production. Mainly because, this structure also force lower class to work for the upper class due to the necessity of survival. To further elaborate, according to David Laibman, “this enables a structure of domination and surplus extraction to assume an outward form of personal (individual) equality and voluntary (rational) choice, a form that is not merely a disguise or illusion, but is objectively present in the social experience of the actors in this drama”(2006, 193-4). As indicated to this quotation, even though the lower class have their choice of which employer to sell their labor to, the fact still remains that they must sell their labor to survive. Once their labor is sold, members of the lower class becomes stuck in their role and cannot escape without losing their means of survival(Marx and Engels 1983, 177).

Thus, even though class struggle is not obvious, it still exists within capitalism. These three stages in the human history are the products of a long journey of transitioning between modes of production. In every transition, there was class struggle between the ruling and lower to obtain the right in the relations production strived by improved economic forces. Ultimately, history proves that Marx’s theory of economic forces affecting the changes of human lives is plausible.

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