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Modes Of Production In A Materialist Conception Of History

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Chapter Summary

Modern materialism, wrote Engels, characterised history as a process of evolution and set itself the task of discovering its laws of motion. All the various tendencies of that abstract scholastic formalism which dominated Marxist theory much later accepted the implicit premise that a. scientific history could be derived spontaneously from the materialist conception. When the revolutionary-Marxist tradition took up the analysis of the world-economy early in the present century, the context was set by an international division of labour centred on the requirements of capital-reproduction on the basis of large-scale industrial enterprises. The division between the peasants necessary and surplus labour-time would now be directly encapsulated in the distribution of arable, with the peasants holding fluctuating around the limits of subsistence. The historical roots of all varied forms of simple-commodity production lie in the patriarchal-subsistence mode of production based on small-scale parcellised property and the exploitation of family-labour.

Keywords: Marxist theory; modern materialism; simple-commodity production



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