Relations of production


Relations of production
   This is a key term in Karl Marx’s theory of historical materialism. Relations of production, or production relations, consist of relations involved in actual production and relations which arise because production creates a need for them. To put it another way, they are the relations which exist between people, or between people and things, in the productive process. For example, the relation of a supervisor in a factory to the workers he supervises, the relation between a manager and his staff, the relations between employer and employee, between slave and master, between serf and lord, or worker and capitalist are all relations of production. Examples of relations of production between people and things involved in the productive process include ownership relations or property relations, such as the ownership of land or factories, or any means of production. Along with the forces of production, the relations of production constitute the economic base of society which shapes the character of the rest of society. A change in the forces of production leads to a contradiction between them and the relations of production, with the latter frustrating the development of the former. This produces a crisis in the mode of production which is reflected in the social and political spheres, and ultimately leads to revolutionary change.

Historical dictionary of Marxism. . 2014.

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