Definition of Asiatic Mode of Production
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels first suggested the Asiatic Mode of Production to explain why oriental nations like China and Egypt were comparatively backward. Karl Wittfogel, a member of the Frankfurt School, wrote more about it in his 1957 book, Oriental Despotism.
They believed that Asian economies were characterized by a lack of private property, governmental control over public works, an independent village economy, the absence of autonomous cities, and straightforward manufacturing techniques. Stasis would result if there was no class conflict between landlords and peasants due to a lack of private property. Even though class conflict is natural in the West, it is only a problem in the East because of colonialism and the way it spread capitalist exploitation.
In Marxism, a society is described as having an Asiatic mode of production if it lacks the historical evolution that can be seen in European civilization and assumes that land is either held by the state or self-sufficient village groups.
Asia “has no history,” according to Marx. When he made these assumptions, Marx just accepted much of the then-common Western perception of Asian culture as being state-dominated, deficient in private land ownership, and hence failing to exhibit the economic and political progress typical of European civilization when he made these assumptions.
Marx also agreed with the then-dominant but now completely debunked theory that the distinctive characteristics of Asian societies could be explained by their geographical location, which necessitated extensive public works to build and maintain irrigation systems and flood controls.
In fact, Marx seems to have developed the idea mostly in recognition of the early nineteenth-century belief that all “Aryan” peoples originated in Asia, on whose past his materialist understanding of history was first focused on. Later on, largely influenced by Lewis Henry Morgan’s view of the evolution of the human race as a whole, he developed a more expansive vision of primitive communism. The term “Asian society” has been used to describe a variety of non-Western social structures that are neither primitively communist nor based on slavery. However, at other times, it has been claimed that only Japan and China fall under the definition of Asian society, or its more popular synonym, Oriental despotism.
One of Marx’s historical periods, the Asian stage, is marked by the state’s control over irrigation plans and the ownership of the land by independent village groups. Although the reality of the Asiatic mode of production is not widely supported by empirical data, Marx used the phrase to denote the relative stability of Asian cultures as opposed to the dynamic societies of western Europe. A Eurocentric perspective of development has been charged against it.
The idea of a single fundamental form of Asian production and a related type of society is now completely in question. This notion has been challenged in two ways: first, by scientific research that disproves a similar depiction of Asiatic production; and second, by acknowledging that the Eurocentric Myth of “Oriental Society” has dominated European Thought.