A use-value is something that is valuable because it is useful. It can also be a measurement of the
usefulness of a commodity.
According to Marx, labor-power is "the aggregate of those mental and physical capabilities
existing in the physical form, the living personality, of a human being, capabilities which he sets in motion
whenever he produces a use-value of any kind."
Means of production
The forces of production. This is comprised of the instruments of production (tools,
machines, etc.), methods of working (skills, forms of cooperation, division of labor, etc.), and applied
knowledge (science, etc.).
Mode of production
The economic structure of society that defines people's mode of living. It consists of the
means of production as well as the relations of production.
Relations of production
Relations between people necessary for a certain form of material production. This is
comprised of the distribution of the means of production, forms of possession (collective and individual private
property), and distribution of the product.
Marx argues that commodities have both a use-value and an exchange-value, and that their exchange-value is
rooted in how much labor-power went into them. While traditionally people bought commodities in order to use
them, capitalists use commodities differently. Their final goal is increased profit. Therefore, they put out money
and buy commodities, in order to sell those commodities for a profit. The cycle then repeats itself. The reason
why the capitalists are able to make a profit is that they only need to pay workers their value (how much it takes
to keep them functional), but the workers produce more than that amount in a day. Thus, the workers are
exploited. The capitalists are able to do this because they have more power, and control the means of
production. Furthermore, the workers' character is negatively affected by the system. They don't own the
products of their labor, and the repetitive work they have to do makes them little more than machines.
Independent craftsmen producing goods for sale helped break up feudalism, but simple commodity production
was from buying and selling
Capitalism isn’t commodity production because capitalism requires unequal or coercive relationships between
Historical materialism- historical because a society can only be understood in the context of history,
materialistic because the theory takes pre-conditions for survival and thus the interaction between human beings
and nature which satisfies them
Production= human effort to transform nature into useful objects
Social relations= interconnections between people
Materialist methodology= historical development starting with the interaction between humans and nature for
Level of development in productive forces = the extent to which a society develops its capacity to change nature