The capitalist mode of production is the type of economy and society that is dominated by the exchange of commodities in markets, and is propelled by the desire of capitalists (the bourgeoisie class) to obtain profits and accumulate capital. In Karl Marx's historical materialist theory, it is the mode of production which follows feudalism and precedes socialism.

"The capitalist mode of production cannot ... be considered as a simple effect of one term or element — it is a relation, or an ensemble of relations" (Jason Read, The Micropolitics of Capital, 2003, p 23.)

There must be a meeting between:

  • "owners of money, means of production, means of subsistence"; and
  • "free workers," ie., without property but not property themselves.(Read, p 23.)

The owners of means of production have to have the power to skim commodities (surplus value) from the workers' production stream — which they do because obviously they are the powerful ones (they have resources, the labourers have none). So it's not a question of labour hiring capital.

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