The theories of revolutions in the development of society's productive forces
According to Marxist--Leninist doctrine, the most mobile, active and determining role in the development of society is played by its productive forces.
Society's productive forces play the same role in the development of production relations, and by means of them also in the development of other social relations, as the natural conditions or the environment play in the development of biological organisms or in the development of flora and fauna. Productive forces are "the environment" for production relations, changes in which inevitably result in changes of the latter. In some cases production relations alter, remaining within the framework of one and the same socio-economic structure, in other cases one specific form of production relations is replaced by another form -- a social revolution takes place.
When production relations are in conformity with the level and nature of the society's productive forces, the society is prospering and progressing and the rate of economic growth is high. When productive forces outstrip the existing production relations, that have already become narrow for them and, in consequence of it, enter into ever growing contradiction with them, the society gradually turns from prosperity to stagnation, from high to low rate of growth of social production. Obsolete production relations impede the development of productive forces more and more. This contradiction between society's new productive forces and its old production relations eventually develops into conflict and is being settled in the course of a social revolution, which eliminates production relations that hamper the development of productive forces, replaces them with new, progressive production relations, which give a wide scope for the further development of the society's productive forces. "At a certain stage of development, the society's material and productive forces enter into contradiction with existing production relations or -- that is just a legal expression of the latter -- with relations of ownership, inside which they developed until that time. These relations turn from the forms of development of productive forces into their fetters. Then the epoch of social revolution comes" (Marx, Engels vol.13, p.7).
It shows what an important and decisive role is played by productive forces in the development of society, first of all by production equipment, which being a component of productive forces plays such an important role in their development as production relations do in the development of social relations, a component of which they are. "The difference between economic epochs is not in the things produced, but in the ways and means of labour by which they are produced. Means of labour are not just a criterion of the development of human labour, they are an index of those social relations, under which the labour takes place." (Marx, Engels vol.22, p.191).
But if productive forces and especially production equipment as the totality of instruments of production play such an important role in the development of society, then both their study and the research of objective laws of their development should be especially careful. The scientists instead do not give due attention to the objective laws of the development of productive forces.
Before the modern scientific and technological revolution it was impossible to reveal all the objective laws of the development of productive forces, but in the course of it, the revelation of these objective laws becomes not only possibility, but social necessity as well. "Objective logic of the scientific and technological progress could not be revealed, for example, during the period of spreading the machine tools or steam engines. Technology had to reach a high standard, which made possible to reveal the objective laws of its development. It is proceeding from the analysis of automatic machines that Marx develops the theoretical principles of scientific and technological progress.
Modern scientific and technological revolution, the core of which is automation, uncovers the inner logic of technological expansion and makes it entirely accessible to the researchers".
How do the society's productive forces develop? Does it happen in such a way that with the development of productive forces only quantitative changes take place, which in the process of their evolutionary development cause qualitative, revolutionary changes in the development of productive relations and, by means of them, also in the development of other social relations? But how can such objective phenomena in the development of society as the industrial revolution, which took place in Europe and North America from XVIII to XIX centuries, and the scientific and technological revolution, which nowadays takes place in most countries of the world, both socialist and bourgeois, developed and developing, large and small, be explained?
Do the society's productive forces develop in such a way that the periods of evolution in the development of productive forces periodically change into revolutionary periods, i.e. such qualitative changes in the development of productive forces that the whole technical, technological and structural-branch foundations of the society radically change? How many and what revolutions have then taken place in the development of productive forces during the history of society and what is their essence?
The periodization of the history of technics is of great interest for us thereupon. How many periods can or, rather, should the history of technological expansion be divided into? And what are qualitative differences between technics of different periods?
The majority of Soviet authors of transactions on the history of technics take the periodization of the development of social relations as the basis of the periodization of the history of technics. L.D.Bel'kind, I.Y.Konfederatov and Y.A.Shneiberg write in their "The History of technics": "Periodization of the history of technics on the whole coincides with periodization of history of the development of human society, which is based on the change of socio-economic formations. That is why it is expedient to discuss technological expansion in accordance with the established periodization of society".
P.S.Kudryavtsev and I.Y.Konfederatov in "The History of physics and technics" suggest the same periodization. They divide the history of technics into the following periods: " of the primitive society, technics of the slave-holding society, technics of the feudal society, technics of the period of origin and consolidation of capitalism and imperialism, technics in the time of socialism".
The authors of these transactions do not write about the very qualitative difference between technics of the periods indicated by them. They cannot do it since the basis of periodization of technological expansion for them is not the process of technological expansion in itself, but the periodization according to socio-economic structures, which should be explained as well, that is to say they see not the initial but the derivative as the basis of periodization of technics, they interchange cause and effect.
The authors of corporate "The History of technics" A.A.Zvorynin, N.I.Os'mova, V.I.Chernyshev and S.V.Shukhardin accept a bit different periodization of the history of technics. They point at " following stages of technological expansion:
The origin and expansion of simple instruments of labour under conditions of primitive communal mode of production.
The development and expansion of complex instruments of labour under conditions of slave-holding mode of production.
The expansion of complex instruments of labour, operated by man, under conditions of feudal mode of production.
The origin of prerequisites for the creation of machine technics (machinery) under conditions of manufactory period.
The expansion of machine tools on the basis of steam engine during the period of victory and establishment of capitalism in advanced countries.
The development of machines on the basis of electric drive during the period of monopoly capital.
Transition to automatic system of machines during the period after the Great October Socialist Revolution".
G.N.Volkov writes about this periodization, criticizing it quite fairly: " the development of productive forces, as well as technics, is the decisive factor in one or another social structure and also in the development of society, it is natural first to clear up the inner logic of the development of productive forces, the inner logic of technological expansion and not to determine this logic with the help of phenomena which require analysis of the peculiarities of technological progress for their own explanation.
The authors of "The History of technics" unfortunately have not taken this view into consideration. They try to find the "own" period of technological expansion for each formation.
The authors write about technics of feudalism as about complex instruments operated by man in contrast to complex instruments of slave-holding societyThe authors, apparently to satisfy their preconceived scheme and having failed to find essential distinctions between instruments of labour, did not go beyond verbal differenceBut only one variant is possible: either there is a proper logic of technological expansion and periodization should then proceed from this logic, or technological expansion is entirely determined by production relations and then it is necessary to accept "periodization according to socio-economic formations as the basis of the history of technics" [p.37, 38]5.
In fact, the authors of "The History of technics" write about simple instruments of labour in primitive communal society in contrast to complex instruments of labour of slave-holding and feudal society. Hence, if we follow their point of view, then a bow with an arrow, a drilling machine, a potter's wheel with a foot drive (fly-wheel) and a fire drill with bow-shaped drive, which were widely used in primitive communal society, are simple and not mechanical instruments of labour. Or, as G.Volkov pointed, the authors of "The History of technics" distinguish complex instruments of labour of feudal society from complex instruments of labour of slave-holding society by the fact that the former are man-operated. Two questions arise here. First, what is the qualitative difference herein if, as the authors think, both are complex instruments of labour and both are man-operated? Second, in East Asian, ancient and medieval societies, the source of motion for the majority of instruments of labour in the key branch of social production -- agriculture was draught force (muscular energy) of animals, not the force of.
The point of view, according to which periodization of the development of productive forces as well as technological expansion coincides with periodization of the society's development, i.e. in accordance with the change of socio-economic formations, was developed most completely and consistently by the group of authors of the book "The Modern Scientific and Technological Revolution".
We shall dwell upon this theory of the development of the society's productive forces in some more detail.
Depending on the necessity of accomplishing of some or other tasks people in the process of their activity impart different forms to technics (man-made means of activity, which are created and used to generate, transmit and convert energy, to affect the objects of work during the creation of material and cultural welfare, to gather, to store, to process and to transfer information, to study the laws and phenomena of nature and society, to travel and to govern the society, to wage war and to defend, for service and life as well). Technics may be in form of instruments of labour (tooling), machines, automatic machines, devices. It can also be in machineless form (p.10).
Each socio-economic structure (or, rather, each of its phases) is conformed by a certain historically developed mode of technics, which embraces main forms of man-made technical means, forms of energy that are used and the technological mode of production, which is understood as the totality of three factors: organization of use of technical means, technical mode of joining producers with technical means and a division of labour (p.11).
During certain historical periods, revolutionary shifts in technical mode of social production -- technical revolutions -- take place, which result in the creation of new, higher mode of technics, which is characteristic of a new social mode of production, for the final victory of which "the production revolution" that is a result and at the same time a sequel to the technological revolution is required as well (p.17).
If, according to the theory of the authors of "The Modern Scientific and Technological Revolution", a certain technological mode of production is a constituent ("is embraced"), together with the main forms of technical means and forms of energy, of a corresponding mode of technics, then, during the change from one mode of technics to another, i.e. during technological revolution, one (old) technological mode of production should automatically change into another (new). However, further we will see something different and contradictory to the aforesaid.
During certain historical periods, society's productive forces experience technical revolution, the essence of which is the appearance and introduction of inventions causing revolution in means of labour, forms of energy, production techniques and general material conditions of manufacturing process. Technical revolution is a process of creation and introduction of technical means, "which prepare (!) the transition to a new technological mode of production" (p.27).
Technical revolution under appropriate (new) production relations causes the production revolution, i.e. a process, under which a new technological mode of production is created on the basis of new technical means, which is characterized by a new division of labour, new position of producers and new social relations in production (!), new social structure of the society (p.27).
So, according to the theory of the authors of "The Modern Scientific and Technological Revolution", when one technological mode changes into another (production revolution), the replacement of old production relations with the new ("new social relations in production") takes place as well. But this principle contradicts the doctrine of the founders of Marxism--Leninism according to which the replacement of certain production relations with the other, new, takes place during the social revolution. If the authors spoke not about "the new social relations in production", but about consolidation, final victory or alteration of the present production relations, there would be no contradiction. However, the authors of this theory speak differently on this subject further.
"If social revolution results in the establishment of new production relations, the liberation of productive forces, then technical revolution transforms means of production, and production revolution, grown from it, leads to total victory, domination of the new mode of production" (p.27).
Technical revolution is a precursor of production revolution; the latter cannot begin without preliminary implementation of the former. Production revolution is a gradual process, the beginning of which can be hardly dated precisely. There cannot be a sharp distinction between technical and production revolutions, the production revolution seems to grow smoothly from the technical one and does not begin when the latter ends (p.27).
Implementation of technical and, growing from it, production revolution takes place in each socio-economic structure, that is why in the development of society and its productive forces the authors of this theory discover five technical and five production revolutions. Since the number of technical revolutions is five, the number of modes of technics, which are divided by technological revolutions, is six, and since the number of production revolutions is five as well, the number of technological modes of production, which are divided by production revolutions, is also.
Now we shall proceed to studying these revolutions (technical and production) taken separately, according to socio-economic structures.
The process of the formation of human society ended about 40--30 thousand years ago. The use of fire and making of crude, not grinded and simple stone tools resulted by that time in the creation of the first mode of technics. Technological mode of production consisted in gathering natural food products, collective hunting and making instruments of labour and weapons from stone. In the process of production, only a natural division of labour (according to sex and age) was.
"In order that a primitive communal mode of production would become the prevailing one, a radical change in the mode of technics was required. Such a change took place owing to the invention of bow and arrows, and then to mastering of drilling, grinding, sawing that made the creation of a stone axe and a stone mattock with helves possible. It was the first technical revolution, which resulted in the creation of a new mode of technics. It took place during the period from about 13 to 4 thousand years BC" (p.29).
Here we see a new contradiction. As it was mentioned above, the production revolution finally establishes the existing mode of production. Now we see that this role has passed on to technical revolution.
According to the authors' theory, the first technical revolution went through two stages. The first stage was bound up with the invention and use of bow and arrows, which became a decisive weapon for man and made it possible to pass on from hunting by big collectives to hunting by small groups, which resulted in increase of the amount of food being obtained. The second stage of technical revolution was bound up with making stone axe at first without lugs, and then with lugs and helve. The inventions of revolutionizing nature, which made it possible to create complex compound instruments of labour, were drilling, grinding, sawing; drilling was the most important at that stage, and due to it an axe with a helve became the most important and effective instrument of labour. The invention and use of stone mattock with handle, which made the cultivation of the soil and the increase of labour productivity in agriculture possible, was also very important (p.30).
"Though the first stage of technological revolution took place in Mesolithic period (13--7 thousand years BC) and the second -- in the Neolithic one (7--4 thousand years BC), i.e. several thousand years elapsed between these periods, they are two stages of one and the same process -- the creation of mode of technics of primitive communal mode of production" (pp.30--31).
The first technical revolution was followed by fundamental change in the material production as a whole -- the first large-scale social division of labour took place: the first to emerge were shepherd tribes, then agriculture became an independent branch of production. As a result of it, the material and technical basis of primitive-communal system was formed. These changes were the first industrial revolution, which led to the worldwide domination of primitive communal mode of production (p.30).
So, the first technical revolution was required for the "primitive-communal mode of production to become prevailing", the first production revolution in its turn results "in the worldwide domination of primitive communal mode", the essence of the first production revolution is the first large-scale social division of labour -- the emergence of shepherd tribes and the creation of agriculture as an independent branch of production. Thus, the first production revolution comes to the division of labour only, though first it was claimed that the production revolution replaces one technological mode of production with another one, which is understood as the totality of three factors: organization of use of technical means, technical mode of joining producers with technical means and division of labour (pp.11, 26, 27).
In primitive-communal society, various new technical means continue to be created, a great number of them being the elements of the new (third) mode of technics, which is typical to slave-holding mode of production, revolutionize productive forces. Pottery, weaving, smelting and processing of metal belong to such inventions and technical means. Taming and then breeding the animals, which not only yielded milk, meat, pelts, fur and other products, but gradually became a draught power, are typical of this period. People learned to use new kind of energy -- the force of animals (p.31).
It might seem that this process is indeed (to some extent) the content of the second revolution in the development of the society's productive forces, but, according to the theory of the authors of "The Modern Scientific and Technological Revolution", revolutions in the development of productive forces should take place only after social revolutions. That is why they name this process neither a revolution in the development of the society's productive forces nor even its beginning, they call it just the origin of the elements of new mode of technics in the depths of old society. The revolution (second) in the development of the society's productive forces begins only several thousand years later.
According to this theory, for the slave-holding mode of production, which won by that time in many countries, to become dominant on a world-historical scale, new technical revolution and new production revolution should take place, which should create new mode of technics, material and technical basis and technological mode of production.
The XX century is the century when a new phenomenon appeared on the Earth. This phenomenon arose at the turn of XIX century and since then it strides imperiously over the planet not reckoning with the state boundaries, national and language differences, social and political systems. This phenomenon is the scientific and technological revolution.
What is the scientific and technological revolution? There are a lot of definitions, but most researchers hold the opinion that the modern scientific and technological revolution is a revolution in the development of the society's productive forces. However, this simple answer raises at least two new questions.
Question one: if the scientific and technological revolution is a revolution in the development of modern society's productive forces, is there cause-effect relation between it and the socialist revolution, which takes place in the development of modern society's social relations?
Question two: if the scientific and technological revolution is a revolution in the development of modern society's productive forces, were there any other revolutions in the development of the productive forces at different stages of the society's historical development? If there were, what did they represent?
The author's long-term research has resulted in the affirmative answer to both these questions. First, modern scientific and technological revolution is in the very direct cause-effect relation with modern socialist revolution. If before the scientific and technological revolution the socialist revolution was just a possibility, then, with its origin and beginning, the socialist revolution becomes a socio-historical necessity, it is an essential consequence of the scientific and technological revolution.
Second, a thorough study of the objective laws governing the historical development of the society's productive forces makes it possible to reveal three more revolutions in their development: the first revolution in the development of the society's productive forces, in this research called "the hunting-technical revolution", took place approximately from 40--35 to 20--15 thousand years ago; the second revolution in the development of the society's productive forces, which we call "the agrarian-technical revolution", happened approximately from 7 to 4--3 thousand years ago; the third revolution in the development of the society's productive forces, which we call "the industrial-technical revolution", took place approximately in XI to XIX centuries AD.
Thus, both in the development of the society's productive forces and in the social relations development, there are four revolutions. In the development of productive forces, they are the hunting-technical, the agrarian-technical, the industrial-technical and the scientific and technological revolutions. In the development of socio-productive relations, they are slave-holding, feudal, bourgeois and socialist revolutions.
It might seem that only one simple conclusion should be drawn. Since the fourth revolution in the development of the society's productive forces is in cause-effect relation with the fourth social revolution and there's a dialectical interrelation between the society's productive forces and the productive relations, we should draw a conclusion that each of the four social revolutions is in cause-effect relation with corresponding revolution in the development of the society's productive forces, their number being also four. But it's the point where the main difficulties arise.
If we compare chronological bounds when social revolutions and revolutions in the development of the society's productive forces took place, it turns out that in historical development they do not stand in such order that the first social revolution conforms to the first revolution in the development of productive forces, etc., they stand a different and a bit unexpected way. Chronological coincidence is found only for the third and the fourth revolutions in the development of productive forces and productive relations, i.e. the industrial-technical revolution coincides with the bourgeois-social revolution, and the scientific and technological revolution coincides with the socialist revolution. The first revolutions in the history of society correlate a different way. Thus, it is the second, not the first revolution in the development of productive forces, i.e. the agrarian-technical, not the hunting-technical revolution that conforms to the first social, i.e. slave-holding revolution. And the feudal-social and the hunting-technical revolutions have no "pairs" at all. What is the reason?
The study of socio-economic history of medieval society led us to the conclusion that feudalism did not exist as an independent socio-economic structure at all. So-called feudalism of V--XVII centuries is an artificial combination of the last phase of the development of slave-holding (slave-holding-serf) society and the first phase of the development of bourgeois-capitalist society. If we assume this principle, then it turns out that two generally accepted phases of capitalist society (pre-monopolistic and monopolistic capitalism) are preceded by one more phase -- the phase of trade capitalism. Thus we should think that capitalist society has three phases of its development: the phase of trade capitalism, the phase of industrial capitalism and the phase of monopolistic, or joint-stock capitalism; or trade, productive and usurious phases, if we proceed from the forms of exploitation of the labour by the capital prevailing in.
If we take up the economic development of slave-holding society, time bounds of which being shifted from V to XIV--XV centuries, in Eastern Europe even up to XIX century, it turns out that it has three phases in its development as well: trade, productive and usurious. Thus, both class socio-economic formations (slave-holding-serf and bourgeois-capitalist) have the same phases in their development; they seem to copy one another. The historic bound dividing these formations is the abolition of serfdom, which is the essence of bourgeois-social revolution that took place in Western Europe in XIV--XV centuries, and in Eastern Europe in XIX century.
"Having got rid" of "feudal-social" revolution, for which there's no corresponding revolution in the development of the society's productive forces, we should look to the primitive-communal society, in the depths of which the first revolution in the development of productive forces, i.e. the hunting-technical revolution takes place. Close analysis of socio-economic development of primitive-communal society led us to the conclusion that primitive-communal society, as well as feudal one, is also an artificial combination of two different societies: primitive (primitive-tribal) and communal (communal-clan). If communal society is the first socio-economic structure in the development of the formed and highly developed society, the primitive society is then a society being formed, it is the period of transition from biological to social form of development of matter, period of formation of society, which precedes the first, communal socio-economic structure. Besides, primitive society is separated from communal-clan society by the hunting-technical and, interconnected with it, communal-social revolution being the first social revolution in the development of society.
Taking all the aforesaid into consideration one can see a well-balanced scheme of the development of society's productive forces and socio-productive relations: the first, communal-social revolution in the development of socio-productive relations conforms to the first, hunting-technical revolution in the development of productive forces; slave-holding-social revolution (the second) conforms to the agrarian-technical revolution (the second); bourgeois-social revolution (the third) conforms to industrial-technical revolution (the third); the socialist revolution, which is the fourth revolution in the development of society conforms to the scientific and technological revolution (the fourth). At that, the revolutions in the development of the society's productive forces are the reason (the first cause) of the social revolutions conforming to them, and it is under their direct influence that social revolutions take place, because the new productive forces, becoming such as a result of just another revolution in their development, require new socio-productive relations and new social system for their further progressive development.
We will not dwell here upon the conception suggested to the reader, which is stated in more detail further in this research. We should only note, that it has some rather significant deviations from views generally accepted in Marxist literature, as the readers have already noticed. But we think, that it is erroneous to consider these deviations as a refutation of Marxist doctrine. Our conception is not a refutation of Marxist doctrine; it is its creative development.
Marxism--Leninism is not a dogma -- it's a guide to action. In the course of further development of the society, the revelation of its new features, phenomena and laws, getting and accumulation of new and unknown before historical facts, a further development of Marxist--Leninist doctrine, its improvement, refusal of some obsolete or erroneous principles and an addition of new principles to it should also inevitably take place, for Marxist--Leninist theory is a reflection of an objective development of society and matter, and since the society develops and changes, social science should develop as.
If any creative development of Marxism is identified with revisionism, then the greatest "revisionists" are considered to be Marx, Engels and Lenin, who during all their lives developed, changed, refined, improved and supplemented their doctrine, many principles of which were rejected by them without any hesitation the moment their fallacy was understood.
The guiding principle of this research is in the following remarkable words by V.I.Lenin: "We never regard Marx's theory as something finished and inviolable; on the contrary, we are sure that it put only the corner-stone of the science, which should be moved by socialists further in all directions, if they do not want to fall behind the times." (Lenin V.I. Works vol.4, p.184).
The author set himself a rather limited aim, i.e. to study the historical development of the society's productive forces and socio-productive relations in their dialectical unity and interrelation. Besides, the author tried not to reiterate in his research all that well-known verities, which had already been covered explicitly enough in social literature.