Historical materialism is an approach towards the study of economics, history and society. It was first suggested by Karl Marx that the conception of history was materialistic. This is a theory that strives to study the social and economic development where changes in productive capacity and technology are the key determinants on how human economy and society is organized. Basically historical materialism attempts to study the contributing factors to developments and the various changes in the society and ways by which man produces the essentials of life. After the death of Marx, this theory has been subject of modification and many Marxist thinkers have expanded on it (Mitchell, 2004).
Historical materialism began from a basic reality with regard to the existence of humans: that for man to continue living and surviving from one generation to the other, he must produce and reproduce materials that are necessary in life. Marx later made an emphasis on this theory by stressing the significance of the fact that, for people to produce goods and exchange them with other individuals, then they will have to form positive social relations, which he later termed as “production relations” (Mitchell, 2004).
It is, however, noted that production does not just take place in abstraction, or via getting into random or arbitrary associations chosen freely. Man tends to work on nature together though they do not end up doing the same kind of work. This is because the issue of division of labour arises where people not only engage in different kinds of job, but going by Marxist theory, a number of individuals survive from the work done by others because of the mere fact that they are owners of means of production. In what manner this is achieved is hinged on the kind of society concerned. Production takes place via certain associations among individuals. These...