Subject Philosophy General Philosophy


Marx writes that productive forces are acquired, but social forms are changed (137).
Explain what he means by explaining his account in the German Ideology of the development of the capitalist mode of production from the feudal mode of production that precedes it.

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In the short paper, “Society and Economy in History” Marx writes “productive forces are acquired, but social forms are changed.” For Marx, material history is the stuff of history. What he means is that the material production of society, what it builds, the art it produces, and the modes of production it acquires tell the story of history. What is produced is a reflection of the dominant desires of that particular epoch of history. Production is the reflection of the dominant social force. In the Middle Ages production was defined by the dominance of the noble class and its desires, while in capitalist society, the rise of property ownership, shifted dominance to the bourgeoise and its collective desires, which in turn influenced the transformation of different productive forces (156). The commodification of those desires is then bought and sold for profit. New needs, new desires, bring about new productive forces. Serfs turned into the proletariat, and the noble class transitioned into the State....

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