Summary
In economics, the means of production is a term which describes land, labor, and capital that can be used to produce products (such as goods or services); however, the term can also refer to anything that is used to produce products. It can also be used as an abbreviation of the "means of production and distribution" which additionally includes the logistical distribution and delivery of products, generally through distributors; or as an abbreviation of the "means of production, distribution, and exchange" which further includes the exchange of distributed products, generally to consumers. The concept of "means of production" is used by researchers in various fields of study - including politics, economics, and sociology - to discuss, broadly, the relationship between anything that can have productive use, its ownership, and the constituent social parts needed to produce it. From the perspective of a firm, a firm uses its capital goods, which are also known as tangible assets as they are physical in nature. Unfinished goods are transformed into products and services in the production process. Even if capital goods are not traded on the market as consumer goods, they can be valued as long as capital goods are produced commodities, which are required for production. The total values of capital goods constitute the capital value. The social means of production are capital goods and assets that require organized collective labor effort, as opposed to individual effort, to operate on. The ownership and organization of the social means of production is a key factor in categorizing and defining different types of economic systems. The means of production includes two broad categories of objects: instruments of labor (tools, factories, infrastructure, etc.) and subjects of labor (natural resources and raw materials). People operate on the subjects of labor using the instruments of labor to create a product; or stated another way, labor acting on the means of production creates a good.
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