INTRODUCTION

According to the most elemental social logic, what is common to the different periods of the historical development of humanity, has consisted in the simple fact that in order to live it is necessary to work.

From a technical generalpoint of view, the act of working is a relation between the working individual and the different objects that it finds in nature, which it transforms to satisfy certain vital needs. But whatís different between human societies from the rest of the animals, almost from their origins, consists in that in order to do their jobs they had each time used better improved instruments. The transforming action of the working individual, (being this individual or collective), does not fall directly on the object to transform, but it is mediated by a tool or medium of work. In any given society, the means of work (instruments) as the different objects to transform (raw materials) constitute the means of production.

From the beginning of history, the technical and economic progress has consisted in the working individualís capacity of putting in motion (n) an each time bigger mass of means of production (MP) by deploying its work force(WF). The technical advances and the development of the productive forces find their expression through the growth of MP in relation to WF - that is to say through the growing result of the relation between MP/WF. This is what, very synthetically, defines the progress of human work from a general technical point of view.

But the working process between human beings is not only a generic technical relation. It is not only defined by the relation between the worker and its instrument with respect to an object to transform but, above all, by a specific relation between humans. It always takes place in the context of a specific and fixed social organization. It is the social organization of work what defines the way of production or form of producing. Expressed in a more precise way: The relation between each worker and its tool is conditioned by a social relation or way of production. This in turn is defined according to the current type of property in each society.

Each of the three social forms prior to capitalism have been, so to speak, a halt in the way, a landmark or stage in the progressive development of the productive forces of humanity. The destinies of these societies, as their origins and historic limits, have inexorably corresponded with the transitory relevance of certain instruments or means of work. Its corresponding social ways of work or forms of production have given birth, developed and ended these social formations, being in this way historically determined. The same can be forecasted about capitalism. In fact, in the same way as the spreading in the use of hydraulic power in industry and the mechanical plough in the countryside in the past ended with slave work and feudal servility, the generalization of robotics tends to leave the social base of capitalism, the salaried work for the production of capital, each day with less economic sense. The same happens with its absolute basis: The mercantile and monetary links. Therefore, it is the inexorable development of the productive forces that gives birth to the social basis of modern communism. This is so, whether we like it or not.

In each one of the historic stages corresponding to the social pre-capitalists formations mentioned above, the process of basic growing unsuitability between the organization of work and the development of the productive forces operated in its bosom, had the specific characteristics of each of those social formations. In capitalism, that each time deeper contradiction or unsuitability between bourgeois relations of production and the social productive forces manifests itself during the periodical economic crisis of the system.

October 1998

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