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Means of Consumption

When studying the capitalist economy from a conflict perspective, attention has historically been focused on issues relating to the means of production. According to Karl Marx, classes are defined by their relationship to the means of production. Control of the means of production is a key to power, and private ownership of the means of production underpins class oppression and exploitation. Clearly, production is an important part of the capitalist economy and an important part of a sociological analysis of capitalism.

Marx's work, while focused on production, does not neglect consumption. Basic consumption, from the Marxist perspective, is utilization of use-values either in productive consumption or individual consumption. Instruments of labor, tools, and raw materials (the means of production) are used up in productive consumption—the ...

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