Mode of Production under Feudalism

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Mode of Production under Feudalism

Post by slavicsocialist on Tue Jan 06, 2015 1:28 am

How did the Mode of Production under Feudalism function?

What role did the Aristocracy function in feudal society?

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Re: Mode of Production under Feudalism

Post by Uberak on Wed Jan 14, 2015 2:41 am

slavicsocialist wrote:How did the Mode of Production under Feudalism function?

What role did the Aristocracy function in feudal society?

Feudalism was based on the ownership of land by an hereditary nobility.

Peasants, on the other hand, were not allowed to own said land and thus had to work on the land for the nobles to feed themselves. The nobles, allowing the peasant to work the allotted land, would tax some of the food from the peasants along with making rules and regulations over the peasants. The arrangement can be said to be like that of a landlord over his/her tenants. This is basically serfdom, though serfdom wasn't exclusively used in feudalism. In fact, the nobility are essentially landlords, and the term landlord probably originates from this. (Wage labor and slavery were also used, but serfdom was mainly used.)

There was a class of free peasants, but they were insignificant. But, this would change as feudalism slowly weakened in favor of capitalism with serfdom eventually being abolished.

Cities worked in a different way. There was a patrician class that largely governed the cities, though some cities were ruled in a relatively democratic way. They were wealthy merchants who had capital, but this capital lacked the power that it would have in the Capitalist system. Manufacturing was done by self-employed artisans who would later form guilds that had an hierarchy based on experience, and the goods would be sold by independent small merchants in markets. Finally, there would be an underclass of what we would call the lumpen-proletariat. Cities, while less stratified within themselves, gain a lot of the wealth that rural peasants do not usually receive. This would eventually make cities a sort of bastion for the commoner due to the lack of feudal rule, and the spawning point of the bourgeoisie. The name bourgeoisie came from the German root "burgher" (not to confused with a favorite American meal) which means "city-dweller". However, cities were very small and proportionally were insignificant compared to the peasant population.

Note that the clergy also had enough power and economic influence to be a class in themselves. The Catholic Church owned a great deal of the land in Medieval Europe and had it's own hierarchy. The Pope even ruled over the Papal States and influenced the nobility to a great degree. The Church can be considered more meritocratic than the nobility, but this isn't saying much. There was actually plenty of conflict between the clergy and nobility, but the rise of capitalism ultimately united the classes against the bourgeoisie.

This is all a gross simplification of the feudal class system, but I think it did its job.
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