Production also involves a technical component known as the forces of production which includes the technology, raw materials and scientific knowledge employed in the process of production. Each major state in the development of the forces of production will correspond with a particular form of the social relationships of production. Thus the forces of production in a hunting economy will correspond with a particular set of social relationships. Taken together, the force of production and the social relationships of production from the economic base or infrastructure of society the other aspects of society, known as the superstructure, are largely shaped by the infrastructure. Thus the political legal and educational institutions, the belief and value systems are primarily determined by economic factors. A major change in the infrastructure will therefore produce a corresponding change in the superstructure.

Marx maintained that, with the possible exception of the societies of prehistory, all historical societies contain basic contradictions which mean that they cannot survive forever in their existing form. These contradictions involve the exploitation of one social group by another. For example in feudal society, lords exploit their serfs, in capitalist society, employers exploit their employees. This creates a fundamental conflict of interest between social groups since one gain at the expense of another. This conflict of interest leads to replacement of one mode of production by another one and transforming the superstructure as well. It will finally usher a communist society. Neo-Marxism on the other hand, seeks to analyze the subtle aspects of the phenomenon of dominance, and dependence, distortions in contemporary civilization and the possible ways to human emancipation.

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Theme of alienation is repeatedly evident in these writings. Herbert Marcuse is an outstanding Neo-Marxist.