Productive forces  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Productive forces, "productive powers" or "forces of production" [in German, Produktivkräfte] is a central concept in Marxism and historical materialism.

In Karl Marx and Frederick Engels's own critique of political economy, it refers to the combination of the means of labor (tools, machinery, infrastructure and so on) with human labour power. Although this is little known, Marx and Engels in fact derived the concept from Adam Smith's reference to the "productive powers of labour" (see e.g. chapter 8 of The Wealth of Nations).

All those forces which are applied by people in the production process (body & brain, tools & techniques, materials, resources and equipment) are encompassed by this concept, including those management and engineering functions technically indispensable for production (as contrasted with social control functions). Human knowledge can also be a productive force.

Together with the social and technical relations of production, the productive forces constitute an historically specific mode of production.



Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Productive forces" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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