Domestic Mode of Production – Producing Goods for the Family

The domestic mode of production refers to when economic activity is organized around the domestic unit, typically the family. In this type of economy, people produce goods and services for their own consumption, as well as for exchange with other members of their community.

According to anthropologist Marshall Sahlins, the domestic mode of production is characterized by three main features:

  1. The domestic unit is the primary unit of economic activity.
  2. Production is primarily for use, rather than for exchange.
  3. Economic surplus is typically reinvested in the domestic unit, rather than being accumulated or distributed among members of the community.

The domestic mode of production is common in small-scale, subsistence societies. In these societies, people are more likely to produce for their own needs, rather than for exchange. They are also more likely to reinvest any surplus they generate back into the domestic unit, rather than accumulate it or distribute it among members of the community.

The domestic mode of production contrasts with the capitalist mode of production, in which economic activity is organized around the pursuit of profit. In capitalism, people produce goods and services for exchange, rather than for their own consumption. They also accumulate any surplus they generate, rather than reinvesting it in the domestic unit.

The domestic mode of production is not static; it can change over time. For example, as societies become more complex, they may develop new institutions, such as markets and money, which lead to changes in the way production is organized.

Related Terms:

Capitalism – An economic system in which private individuals or firms own the means of production and operate for profit.

Subsistence – The meeting of basic needs, such as food and shelter.

Surplus – Goods or resources that are in excess of what is needed for subsistence.

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