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Print version ISSN 2007-2538


KARATANI, Kojin. An introduction to Modes of Exchange. Valenciana [online]. 2020, vol.13, n.25, pp.203-235.  Epub June 15, 2020. ISSN 2007-2538.

In The Structure of World History (2010; english edition 2014), I proposed the notion of switching “from modes of production to modes of exchange”. Here, I would like to provide a simple explanation of this. Orthodox Marxist theory, using an architectural metaphor, explains the history of social forms in terms of modes of production, which form the economic base (foundation), and of the political or ideational superstructures that are determined by that base. A mode of production consists of the productive forces, which arise from the relations between humans and nature, and the relations of production, which are constituted by the relations between humans. I do not oppose the idea that the history of social forms is determined by the economic base, but in my view that base consists not of modes of production, but rather modes of exchange. What I call modes of exchange includes both relations between nature and humans and relations between humans.

Keywords : Marxism; Historical exchanges; Religion and ethics; Credit and money; Nomadism.

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