Production for use is a defining criterion of a socialist economy and distinguishes socialism from capitalism (which is based on production for profit). This criterion was one of the fundamental defining characteristics of socialism initially shared by Marxian socialists, evolutionary socialists, anarchists and Christian socialists.[1]

Production for use is contrasted with production for profit (subjecting production to the perpetual accumulation of capital). The criterion of production for use implies that the production of goods and services would be undertaken to satisfy economic demands and human needs directly and the value of economic output would be based on its usefulness instead of exchange-value; thus, the productive apparatus of society would directly serve individual and social needs. In contrast to production for use, production for profit implies that economic activity and production can only be undertaken if it generates a profit, or the indirect satisfaction of use-values by orienting production toward generating a profit to be reinvested into the economy (and the constant continuation of this process), the result being that society is structured around the perpetual need for a continuous accumulation of capital.

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