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Means of Production

In Marxist theory, the “means of production” characteristic of a society is fundamental to understanding all other political, economic, and social relations. The means of production consist of a combination of “subjects” and “instruments” of labor. Subjects of labor are “the things worked on” because they are the literal subject of the productive effort. Raw materials are an example of subjects of labor. The oil pumped out of the ground or the trees that are harvested in forests are raw materials. So too are slabs of lumber, though the slabs of lumber are themselves the product of an earlier labor process. Instruments of labor include tools that “work on” the subjects of labor such as the lathes that turn the lumber into bowls or the ...

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