Last updated: February 26, 2019
Topic: Society
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Marxism on Capitalist Mode of Production

Mode of production is the social, political and economic processes that rule the society in a certain epoch. This process is a constant evolution of processes and productive forces, wherein, as they clash with the existing relations of production, social revolution happens thus calling for the need to reform the existing system.

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The Marxist notion of the capitalist mode of production entails private ownership of the means of production and exchange in a market economy wherein profit, is viewed as the main driving force. The owners of the capital are known as the bourgeoisie; and the working class is known as the proletariats. These proletariats do not own any means of capital and their only means for survival is through rendering labor power in exchange of wage.

Capitalism is the rebirth from feudalism’s extinction. After the feudalist epoch, wherein serfs have revolted against landlords, and after the fall of Divine Right Theory, capitalism was born.

Capitalism is centered on trade in goods, money and services, which the main purpose is served by the accumulation of wealth. Market is central to this mode of production, since market is where all the trades for both inputs and outputs are done. In capitalism, there is a distinct relationship between the inputs and the outputs, when it comes to pricing, supply, demand and profit.

Capitalism is also anchored on the growth of technology, social relationships and industrialism. Changes in the mode of production were caused by the advancement in technological process, wherein the development of such inventions were used to facilitate faster progress in the industry, faster production, and faster means of accumulating the most amount of wealth with the least amount of labor and costs. Competition is inherent to this system, thus the owners of the capital must find ways to cut production costs, and therefore must employ more efficient means of production through the use of sophisticated machineries.

Capitalism also tends to gear towards centralization and concentration of wealth in one single ownership. Because capitalists tends to cut-throat competitors, the winner gains all while the loser in the trade loses everything. Thus giving the victor all the means to accumulate wealth. Therefore making private property, owned in favor by very few.

As such, according to the Marxist thoughts, the birth of the capitalist mode of production, gives also birth to the tenets of oppression, exploitation and class struggle. The growth of capitalism and the accumulation of wealth by the dominant capitalist class, is equated to oppression and exploitation of the proletariats.

This gives rise to labor issues, wage issues and surplus theories. Capitalism manifests the current for the surplus value theory. According to Marx, capitalism has endowed the bourgeoisie the rights and capacity to oppress the proletariats through unfair labor relations – proletariats working hard for subsistence, working more than they are paid, and ending up being alienated from their own products.

To summarize, capitalism according to Marx is an oppressive mode of production, driven by the goal of accumulation of wealth through the practice of unfair labor relations between the owner of the capital and the working class.



Hirst, Paul. Marxism and Historical Writing. Routledge & Kegan Paul. 1981.