Relations of production

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This is a term in the Marxian theory, historical materialism.

Relations of production are the objective material relations that exist in any society independently of human consciousness, formed between all people in the process of social production, exchange, and distribution of material wealth.[1]

According to an entry by William Shaw in Bottomore's A Dictionary of Marxist Thought, relations of production "are of two broad types: on the one hand those technical relations that are necessary for the actual production process to proceed; on the other the relations of economic control (which are legally manifested as property ownership) that govern access to the forces and products of production. The contrast is between the material work relations and their socio-economic integument. . . ." She goes on to say that, "Types of economic structure," (ie., modes of production) "are differentiated by their dominant social production relations."[2]


  1. Definition from, "Relations of Production".
  2. William H Shaw, "historical materialism", in Tom Bottomore, A Dictionary of Marxist Thought, 1991.