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Modes Of Production: A Synthesis

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Chapter Summary

In a broad historical perspective, the history of Europe was defined by an exuberance of economic forms, compared to what Marx saw as the monotony and stagnation of Asiatic development. The two general senses in which Marx used the term mode of production are (1) as an epoch of production or economic formation of society, of which the best example is capitalism itself, and (2) as a mode of labour, labour-process or form of production, that is, an organisation of labour based on the requirements of a given type of industry or branch of production such as agriculture. A major theme to emerge from recent historiography is the persistence of slavery through late antiquity and the early middle ages down to about the ninth century. The powerful rivalries of the age of Company capitalism were completely different in character from the banking and commercial capitalism of thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.

Keywords: commercial capitalism; early middle ages; late antiquity; Marx



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