Sample Essay On Step Three: Revision
The question is about the reason or reasons for the decline or replacement of the different mode of productions from the different periods of economic systems. The best way to explain this is by laying a chronological story that states the problems created by the previous systems which created the need for the emergence of a new system.
The modes of production that are used in the production of goods and services, as well as their distribution, determine the economic system that is applied in a given society. There are different modes of production such as the feudal system, the mercantile system, and the capitalist regimes. They were functional during different periods of human civilization. Each system was impacted by divergent forces and methods of production.
The Feudal System
Feudalism is a social system that bases an individual’s rights and duties to the land tenure and personal relationships. These relationships relate to the ownership system of the land and other sources of income. The lords owned the land, and other sources of income and the subjects have a duty to offer services and their loyalty to the lords. This system thrives in a closed agricultural society with the presence of lords, vassals, and fiefs. The salient characteristics of this system are:
The purpose of fulfilling official duties, whether civil or military came with the expectation for personal links to the overlord so that they could receive remuneration by way of fiefs. The fiefs were held hereditary. The public authority in the feudal system was decentralized and fragmented. This is because; public functions were associated with the fief and not with the person who held them. A Lord of the Manor was vested with the legal and economic power in the manorial society. He controlled the open fields where the peasants worked. The feudal system declined because:
The benefices transformed into hereditary fiefs. These were later dominated by merchants who introduced a competitive labor market. The vassals were free from the lords, but they had to offer labor in order to sustain their lands. The royal powers declined, and there was the emergence of local dynasties that later became independent and built up territorial states for themselves. The relationship between the Vassal and Lord was replaced by the relationship between subject and sovereign through a more ordered society. The towns with a significant economic power imposed their concepts about the society against the notions of the knights. They performed this through their militias. This was through collaboration between the monarchs and the merchants who emerged to control trade. The manorial system faced an economic crisis. This system was the basis of feudalism, and its breakdown meant that the whole economic system collapsed. There was the introduction of technology in agriculture and people began to value other ways of existence. The increased productivity in the fields led to a surplus in production. This meant that there was a need for trade so that the community could acquire items that they did not produce in exchange for the excess products that they had harvested. This situation led to the emergence if the mercantile system.
The main ideas carried forward from the feudal system were the modern terms of a constitutional government, payment of taxes, resisting or defying the lords, and the balance of rights of individuals such as those of lords and vassals.
The Mercantile System
This was an economic system that was based on the imports and exports of a community. A country’s economic strength in this system was determined by its balance of trade, whereby the exports should be more than the imports. The positive balance of trade results in accumulation of excess of gold, silver, and other precious metals in a country’s treasury. This system is opposed to free trade, free enterprises, free movement of people, and the free circulation of goods and services.
The components of a mercantile system were the concentration to nationalism whereby there was minimal interference of a country from international players. Foreign trade was thought of in terms of the impact it had on a country’s stock of the precious metals. When the country did not own any mines, precious metals were maintained through excessive exports over imports. Additionally, trade policies encouraged exportation and restricted importation. Lastly, the economic and political foreign policies would always support the above roles.
This system played a transitional role from feudalism to capitalism. The merchants dominated the trading system, but not the production of goods and services. The lower class was involved in the production while the Monarchs struck deals with the merchants so that they could control the systems of survival.
A crafts system that was used in the production of goods was replaced by a system of manufacturing and industrial workers. The industrial system was strengthened by constant technological inventions that were happening at the time.
There was also a continuous increase in the level of foreign competition. The nations that had many colonies had a stronger influence on trade activity in the world and the economic affairs. Over time, the colonial system declined in power, and the colonies gained freedom. Therefore, they could trade with other countries. The states would choose other trade partners apart from the colonial master.
There was the application of excessive regulations regarding the mercantile trade systems. They were similar to trade controls over imports and exports. The local suppliers encountered limitations in accessing lucrative foreign market places. They involuntarily sold their products at low prices in addition to paying taxes. These controls led to the backlash of the merchants against the government. They demanded freedom from the state, and this eventually resulted in many conflicts. This marked the decline of the mercantile trade system.
The Capitalism System
Capitalism refers to the economic and political system of a country that is dominated by private owners. The owners control the trade, means of production, and the industrial system for the purpose of profit making. The system applies laissez-faire and the rule of law to govern the people politically. In the economic dimension, the system operates in a free market.
The main feature of the capitalist structure is the presence of a class system. The top class is the capitalist class that owns the means of production and distribution of goods, and the next class is the working class that sells their labor in return for wages and salaries. The owners can be corporations or individuals that make decisions on the use of resources. There is also the division of labor whereby people can specialize in an absolute trade. It occurs through education and training. This leads to the eminence of another class, the middle class,
The central idea of the existence of corporations is to make profits. They offer goods and services that satisfy the needs of the people in return for profits. Competition exists in the market in order to regulate prices of the commodities. There is minimal government interference in the activities of corporations. They are, however, required to obey government regulation in the course of their operations.
The three systems can also be economic periods in the history of the world. The decline of the previous system gave birth for the new system. In the feudal system, peasants, which are the producers, produce for the landlords. The decline of monarchy also spelled the decline for the feudal system. Producers had a surplus of goods that is why trade became necessary, then came the mercantile system. The mercantile system declined because of the decline of the power of the colonizers. Independent states created barriers for trade that is why mercantilism became unpractical. Capitalism then emerged where the well connected merchants from mercantilism stood in the front lines. Private property became the news of the day and another mode of production is made, where firms’ sole purpose to produce is to profit.