The Communist Manifesto


Karl Marx

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Productive forces Term Analysis

Productive forces is part of Marx and Engels’ terminology to describe the way in which society changes when technological and work-related advances are made. It also relates to the effectiveness of work in terms of production and overall benefit to society. Marx and Engels view the productive forces of capitalism as extremely strong, because the capitalist system brings about rapid advances in technology (like the steam engine or the telegraph). These forces increase in power until they eventually bring about a change—or the need for change—in the overall economic system. For Marx and Engels, communism is in part a result of the productive forces of capitalism, which through relentless (and profit-driven) technological development has enabled members of the proletariat to harness their collective power

Productive forces Quotes in The Communist Manifesto

The The Communist Manifesto quotes below are all either spoken by Productive forces or refer to Productive forces. 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:
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Productive forces Term Timeline in The Communist Manifesto

The timeline below shows where the term Productive forces 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
Work Theme Icon
Marx and Engels point towards the bourgeoisie’s revolutionary “ productive forces .” These range from the “application of chemistry to industry and agriculture” to technological advancements... (full context)
Class and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Inequality and Distribution of Wealth Theme Icon
According to Marx and Engels, the bourgeoisie copes with these crises by destroying society’s “ productive forces ,” seeking new markets, and by further exploiting existing markets. This approach only leads to... (full context)