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Capitalism Versus Feudalism: Comparative Analysis

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Capitalism
  3. Relations of production under capitalism
  4. Earlier form of society
  5. Similarities
  6. Differences
  7. Effects of capitalism on technology


Karl Marx was a great philosopher, social theorist and economist. He was most famous for his theories about capitalism. Marx utilized the term “modes of production” to allude specific organization of economic production in a given society. Mode of production refers to the to the differed ways that individuals on the whole produce the methods for subsistence so as to endure and improve social being. According to the marxist theory the “modes of production” is a combination of “productive forces” which includes the human labour and the means of production and the “social and technical relations of production”. The term “Relations of production” basically alludes to the connections and the relations between the capitalists that possess or owns the means of production and the laborers and the low class that didn’t. According to Marx, history advances through the collaboration between the modes of production and the relation of production. The modes of production always advances towards the acknowledgment of its limits, however in that creates threats among the classes of people characterized by the relations of production.


Capitalism is a monetary framework dependant on the private ownership of means of production and their benefits and profits. Capitalism involves the capitalists thriving to make as much profit as possible by extracting as much labour as possible from workers at least costs due to the competition in the market and thus involves paying the laborers as meager as possible. This payment is only barely adequate to keep them alive and gainful deriving no sense of pride or self satisfaction. Capitalism thus in this way stigmatizes and demoralises human prominence.

In contrast to slavery in which the slave is ripped apart from his rights and freedom and is completely owned by the master who can implicate his will on him whatever way he wants, capitalism gives the laborers a chance to sell his labour in the market and thus giving them a vibe of independence and freedom but in this case the freedom is indirectly snacthed away as the laborers have to sell their labour to a capitalist for a fixes labour every day. No work means no payment and thus the sense of freedom is non existent in both. The exercise of power is such, that it originates a sense of alienation in the worker for himself, from other workers and also from his work.

Relations of production under capitalism

Marx specifies the relations of production explicit to capitalism being two folds. The first being the control relation in which, the laborer works under the control of the capitalist to whom he works, the capitalist taking a great consideration that the work has been done in the best way possible utilizing the means of production with insight to not cause any unnecessary misuse or wastage of crude material. The second being the ownership relation which means that the labour process is purchased by the capitalist, it has turned into his property which in turn means that the result of the process done is capitalist’s property.

Earlier form of society

Before Capitalism, Feudalism was the medieval arrangement of social and financial matters. Feudalism is a political and military system between a feudal gentry also known as master or lord, and his vassals. It is a medieval European political system comprised of various legal and military commitments spinning around the three ideas behind it, lords, vassals and fiefs. The premise of the structure of feudalism was formed through the obligations and the relationships among these three elements.

The functionality was quite clear, the lord provided vassal with fief and in return the vassal would provide military service to the lord. This relationship revolves around fief and thus required levels or hierarchies. Typically, a king was vested with the ownership of all the lands and from the king the hierarchy goes through nobles to seigneur. As part of the tax, the lord takes up a portion of production. Throughout, the medieval period rebellions happened which gradually broke the system of feudalism, eventually replacing it with a more contemporary approach to resource management i.e capitalism.

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Both in feudalism and capitalism, there exists an unequal circulation of assets. In both, the masters or the lords take up the majority of the profits gained by the vassals and they are left with just the bare minimum. Both are the frameworks which exploit the labour for profit. The complaints of the workers and the merciless working conditions stay comparable in either form of the society.


Feudalism was based on the obligations and relations among the lords, vassals and fief, these three formed the basis of feudalism whilst in capitalism, the main goal is just making more and more profits. In feudalism, the lords or kings gain powers based on their birthright, and the children of workers remain workers and thus had no chance of progression or improving the lifestyle but unlike this capitalism does not maintain such rules, a person can change his fortune, a worker can rise up at heights of socio economic stature by working hard. Capitalism alike feudalism provide supreme power to the ruler but unlike the later, there is fierce competition thus a capitalist always has to innovate new ways to develop his business. The major difference between these forms of society is that unlike in feudalism, capitalism allows the worker class with freedom to choose his employer. Also, in feudalism the majority of the work done by the workers were as peasants, their work being purely agricultural which was different from capitalism in which the works differed from person to person.

Effects of capitalism on technology

Technological development and innovation is largely affected by Capitalist mode of production. Technology affects individual freedom both ways, sometimes increasing and sometimes even confining it. The capitalist mode of production divides the society on the basis on affordability, and these inequalities are also affected by the technological changes. Capitalism came up with a new method of production that involves assembly lines designed such that sequential work can be done easily, where one person would be responsible for his own line. He has perform a single task which as time passed became a idea and all the heavy lifting shifted to the machines.

This is the main function of capitalism is to increase the profits, the easiest way to do so is by replacing unskilled labour by skilled labour, this is where technology is required since it provides better quality and mass production. Due to this reason, the capitalist are forced to choose the best possible innovations and technologies that will help them increase their profits, which in a way aspires and prompts creation and development of new technologies. In order to make more and more profits the capitalists are aspired to remove the unpredictable labour i.e the humans and add the more dependant labour i.e machines, this also inspires creation of new technologies.

In capitalism, every capitalist faces fierce competition in the line of profit making. Due to this every company has to adapt and build up the best and the most effective systems to maximise their profits. In this sense, it is a recurrent procedure since competition is birthed by capitalism which in turn creates a breeding ground for advancements. The laborers bit by bit figure out how to utilize offered technology in opposition to their superiors, which requires the requirement of the capitalist to change and adapt to a high level technology.

New minds and private ownerships are also a great factor affecting the technologies since to enter the race of capitalism, great minds create ideas and convert those ideas into realities. Even, if some ideas are not being received properly by the market it so may happen that that idea itself may give rise to a high grade technology if given into right hands. Thus, this reason of entrepreneurs makes new technologies possible.

The driving reason of capitalism is profit, as stated above this reason gives rise to new innovations and technological advancements. Over the years, the advancements in technology have skyrocketed in various fields such as cars, digitization, energy resources, etc and capitalism played as a major factor in all this.

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Capitalism Versus Feudalism: Comparative Analysis. (2022, August 12). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 9, 2023, from
“Capitalism Versus Feudalism: Comparative Analysis.” Edubirdie, 12 Aug. 2022,
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