The Communist Manifesto

by

Karl Marx

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The means of production represents everything involved in work apart from the people themselves. This includes the instruments of production (such as tools, machinery, and infrastructure) and the raw materials and natural resource that workers operate on in order to make products. For example, the means of production for baking would include the baker’s tools, the bakery itself, and the wheat used in the baking. Marx and Engels believe that it is fundamentally unfair that workers do not own the means of production. They argue that the means of production is only made useful by workers’ labor—yet all the benefits of that work are accumulated by the bourgeoisie.

Means of production Quotes in The Communist Manifesto

The The Communist Manifesto quotes below are all either spoken by Means of production or refer to Means of production. For each quote, you can also see the other terms and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Capitalism and Progress Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Signet edition of The Communist Manifesto published in 2011.
I. Bourgeois and Proletarians Quotes

The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionising the instruments of production, and thereby the relations of production, and with them the whole relations of society […] Constant revolutionising of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones […] All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real conditions of life and his relations with his kind.

Related Characters: Bourgeoisie
Page Number: 67
Explanation and Analysis:

The cheap prices of its commodities are the heavy artillery with which it batters down all Chinese walls, with which it forces the barbarians’ intensely obstinate hated of foreigners to capitulate. It compels all nations, on pain of extinction, to adopt the bourgeois mode of production; it compels them to introduce what it calls civilization into its midst, i.e., to become bourgeois themselves. In one word, it creates a world after its own image.

Related Characters: Bourgeoisie
Page Number: 68-69
Explanation and Analysis:

Modern bourgeois society with its relations of production, of exchange and of property, a society that has conjured up such gigantic means of production and of exchange, is like the sorcerer, who is no longer able to control the powers of the nether world whom he has called up by his spells.

Related Characters: Bourgeoisie, Proletariat
Page Number: 70
Explanation and Analysis:

Modern industry has converted the little workshop of the patriarchal master into the great factory of the industrialist capitalist. Masses of laborers, crowded into the factory, are organized like soldiers. As privates of the individual army they are placed under the command of a perfect hierarchy of officers and sergeants. Not only are they slaves of the bourgeois class, and of the bourgeois State; they are daily and hourly enslaved by the machine, by the overlooker, and, above all, by the individual bourgeois manufacturer himself. The more openly this despotism proclaims gain to be its end and aim, the more petty, the more hateful and the more embittering it is.

Related Characters: Bourgeoisie, Proletariat, Artisans
Related Symbols: Chains
Page Number: 73
Explanation and Analysis:
II. Proletarians and Communists Quotes

The proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest, by degrees, all capital from the bourgeoisie, to centralize all instruments of production in the hands of the State, i.e., of the proletariat organized as the ruling class; and to increase the total of productive forces as rapidly as possible.

Of course, in the beginning, this cannot be effected except by means of despotic inroads on the rights of property, and on the conditions of bourgeois production; by means of measures, therefore which appear economically insufficient and untenable, but which, in the course of the movement, outstrip themselves, necessitate further inroads upon the old social order, and are unavoidable as a means of entirely revolutionizing the mode of production.

Related Characters: Bourgeoisie, Proletariat
Page Number: 92
Explanation and Analysis:
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Means of production Term Timeline in The Communist Manifesto

The timeline below shows where the term Means of production appears in The Communist Manifesto. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
I. Bourgeois and Proletarians
Capitalism and Progress Theme Icon
Class and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Bourgeois society had its foundations in feudal society, in terms of the means of production and exchange. At some stage, say Marx and Engels, the feudal way of doing things—especially... (full context)
Capitalism and Progress Theme Icon
Class and Hierarchy Theme Icon
...a similar process of change is starting to bear down on the bourgeoisie itself—its gigantic means of production and of money-based exchange have grown beyond its control, like a “sorcerer no longer able... (full context)