Karl Marx believed that economics was the driving force of society because it “drove productions for means of substance” (Simmons, 2013, p. 175); meaning that human must consume in order to survive, and so we create a set of rules or relations under which guide our exchange of production and consumption. Marx argues that the “mode of production that drives society is the real material economic base for society; which can be broken into two parts: 1) the forces/tools of production, and 2) the relations/class of production” (Simmons, 2013, p. 175). Marx classified “all other non-economic institutions, practices and beliefs as part of a ‘Superstructure of Society’; which refers to social relations and social consciousness involved in political, law, ideology, religion, art, science, culture and other non-economic activities” (Simmons, 2013, p. 176). These are the norms, and rules constructed by that society. Marx claims that “the mode of production determines the superstructure of non-economic activities” (Simmons, 2013, p. 176). It is the tools used for consumption and the class-hierarchy in which we obtain those items that help shape the social relations within a society. Social actions of behaviour are controlled by social structures within a given society.
Simmons, T. (2013). Revitalizing the Classics: What Past Social theorists Can Teach Us Today. Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada: Fernwood Publishings.