Primitive Communism – Concept, economy, advantages and disadvantages

We explain what primitive communism was, its economy, modes of production, advantages, disadvantages and other characteristics.

primitive communism production hunting prehistory
Early communism was the first form of social organization.

What was early communism?

From the perspective of Marxism, it is called primitive communism or primitive mode of production to the first of the stages of the political-social organization of humanity. It appeared with the first organized human communities (7000-2000 BC).

The primitive human being organized himself into tribes or groups dedicated to obtaining a livelihood through fishing, hunting or gathering. Its members exchanged goods based on a principle of simple cooperation, motivated by the fact that they were in a state of helplessness in the face of the dangers of nature.

That is why, as explained by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in texts such as The origin of the family, private property and the State (1884), these groups constituted the first social and collaborative community, devoid of any form of private property.

Let us remember that the Marxist vision (the so-called “dialectical materialism”) understands the history of humanity as the transition between certain modes of production, around which society is ordered, to new ones, as the struggle between the oppressed classes and oppressors leads to more or less violent transformations (revolutions).

Primitive communism came to an end with the Neolithic Revolution, with which agriculture and livestock were developed, among other forms of production. Thus the diversification of work and social division of the population was possible, laying the foundations for the subsequent urban revolution in which the first social classes appeared.

Characteristics of early communism

Early communism, as its name implies, was a communal and communal organization, in which there was no private property of any kind, nor was the land considered an exclusive property of anybody. Too lacked the presence of a stateSince there were no social classes, laws were not necessary to regulate coexistence between them.

Humans worked with rudimentary stone or bone tools, so the only division of labor was in terms of physical capacity each other, allowing women and children to survive on their own. Pregnant women and those who breastfeed were especially protected, to take care of the future generation together

According to some contemporary anthropologists, at that time there may have been a matriarchal society, led by women, in which polyandry existed (the same woman could have different sexual partners). However, the consensus among specialists affirms that there was never a matriarchal society, but there was a matrilineal one, and some still survive today.

Economics of primitive communism

The producers of primitive communism did not create surpluses for exchange, nor did they accumulate goods, but rather produced what was essential to satisfy the needs more immediate. That is, there was no currency or need for it, since there was no possibility of riches or poverty.

Everyone’s basic needs were guaranteed by their own work and by belonging to the community. Therefore, there were no exploitative relationships between human beings, since no one could work for another, nor could anyone therefore stop working and have free time.

Modes of production of primitive communism

primitive communism prehistoric community mammoth
The necessary resources were obtained by hunting, fishing and gathering.

Hunting, fishing and gathering were the modes of production of humanity during these primitive stages. That is, they went to look for or obtain food wherever it was, and only obtained what was necessary for sustenance.

Secondly, the community lacked major specializations in the work of preparing tools or shelters, since everything was done in equal parts by all. The only specialization that could be found was a male occupation in hunting and fishing, and a female one in gathering and breeding.

The end of primitive communism is marked by the change in the modes of production. The domestication of animals and the beginning of agricultural and livestock labors were means of production that generated much more product than was strictly necessary to survive.

In this way the accumulation of goods and the unequal distribution of work began, since some generated enough food so that others did not have to work in the same, but could dedicate themselves to other tasks, such as leadership, war, science and science. the arts.

Advantages of early communism

The advantages of this type of socio-political organization would be the following:

  • There was no exploitationTherefore, neither social resentments, nor envies, nor wars, nor any of the negative aspects of contemporary societies.
  • There were no political hierarchies, since the division of work did not contemplate any type of leadership or exercise of power that was exempt from work.
  • Work was passed down from one generation to the next, so there was cooperation between the groups humans instead of competition.
  • It was a society in harmony with the environment, without producing pollution or irreparable changes in the natural balance.

Disadvantages of early communism

On the other hand, the most negative aspects of primitive communism were:

  • Very low level of development, given that the division of work did not allow free time to explore new and better working methods, or for innovation of any kind.
  • It was a society focused on survival, which does not allow the emergence of scientific, philosophical or artistic knowledge, wasting the creative potential of the species.
  • Very simple way of life, with a very low life expectancy, in which disease and animal attacks claimed victims with impunity.
  • The change did not occur In no human sense, since the needs of the population were very limited and no spiritual concerns were explored.