Social production and national development planning


By Dr Kashiwa Bulaya

Social Production The planet Earth is about 4.5 billion years old.  Life appeared on Earth some 900 million years ago.  The Zambezi river is more than 3 million years old.  The first people lived on Earth 2 million years ago.  The human population on Earth is more than 7.3 billion people. Fiftteen million, nine hundred and thirty three thousand, eight hundred and eighty three (15,933,883) of those 7.3 billion people live in Zambia. In order to live the more than 7.3 billion people on Earth need food, clothes, shelter and free time.  Nature as it is does not provide those material and cultural needs in a ready made form. People therefore, have to produce the material wealth to sustain a living and subsequently for society to develop. What is production? Production is a conscious and purposeful activity through which man with the help of his labour power and instruments of labour acts on nature to transform it and the natural resources to produce the material wealth for human requirements.   In the production process man uses the means of labour to change nature to obtain material goods. The means of labour are on one hand the instruments of labour i.e. the tools, sticks, axes, hoes, machines, equipment etc. which man uses to interact with nature; on the other hand these are production premises from where man works or operates such as land, canals, all forms of transport, buildings, electricity transmission lines etc. Within the concept of the means of labour, the instruments of labour develop faster and serve as a measure of man’s domination over the environment. In primitive society for example, people used sticks and stones but today they use many machines and people’s domination over nature has grown immeasurably. Objects of labour With the assistance of the means of labour man works on the objects of labour.  What are objects of labour? Objects of labour are the natural resources which are the main target of the production process. Objects of labour also include the raw materials. The raw materials are objects of labour to which labour power has been expended but are still subject to further production process before they are transformed into finished commodities.   In the contemporary epoch, many new objects of labour not found in nature are also used.  These are materials created by man such as polymers, synthetic resins and others. Means of Production The means of labour and objects of labour together constitute the means of production. On their own the means of production, no matter how modern and sophisticated cannot produce the material goods and services.   The owners of the means of production the capitalists or bourgeoisie go to the labour market to hire workers also known as proletariat and engage them at an exploitative price called salary or wage.   The workers do not own the means of production but only labour power which they sell to the owners of the means of production – the capitalists.   What is labour power?  Labour power is the totality of the mental and physical capabilities and abilities for the worker to work. Labour power might be skilled or unskilled, trained or untrained, specialised or non-specialised – general. Productive Forces The means of production together with labour power are known as productive forces.  The level of development of the productive forces determines man’s command over nature and its forces. Production Relations During the production process, people enter into economic relations known as production relations. These include relations of production, relations of distribution, relations of exchange, relations of consumption, property relations and forms of ownership. The nature and character of production relations are determined by the form of ownership of the means of production. If the means of production are owned privately – private ownership like the case is under capitalism or any socio-economic formation based on private ownership of the means of production, relations are antagonistic, hostile and exploitative. Two classes exist. The class which owns the means of production – the class of capitalists and the class of workers which is deprived of the means of production but only owns labour power – the working class. Mode of Production and Economic Basis The productive forces and the production relations taken together form the mode of production.   For example, primitive communal mode of production, slave mode of production, feudal mode of production, capitalist mode of production and socialist mode of production. Upon the mode of production emerges the economic basis which is one side of the mode of production – the production relations constituting the economic system of society. Superstructure The economic basis gives rise to the superstructure.  The most important element of the superstructure is the state with its apparatus such as the army, airforce, police, intelligence, courts, prisons etc. as state machinery for maintaining law and order. Socio-Economic Formation or Society The economic basis and the mode of production together make a socio-economic formation or society. For example, primitive socio-economic formation or primitive society, slave socio-economic formation or slave society, feudal socio-economic formation or feudal society, capitalist socio-economic formation or capitalist society and socialist socio- economic formation or socialist society. NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLANNING Economic Laws of Development In any society production presupposes the distribution of labour, material and financial resources, in a definite ratio, between and among various sectors of economy. That process calls for planning. Any planner therefore, must know the basics of political economy and economic laws governing the production, distribution, exchange and consumption of material benefits. Planning and direction are based on the recognition and utilisation of objective economic laws. Economic laws are laws of the development of relations of production, that is, those relationships that arise between and among people in the process of production, distribution, exchange and consumption of material goods and services. Economic laws of development of society must not be confused with judicial laws. Judicial laws are decrees of the state promulgated according to the wishes and in the interests of the people in a given country. An economic law is an internal, essential and constantly renewed connection between economic phenomena and processes, determining the course of their functioning and the possibility of development. Economic laws have an objective character, they function independently of the consciousness and will of the people. But this in no way means that people are helpless in the face of economic laws. A knowledge of the workings of economic laws permits their utilisation in the interests of society and a scientific approach to planning the basic directions of development and the ratio of production and consumption at all levels of economic planning. Without correct application of economic laws neither systematic planning nor balanced development of economy is possible. Economic laws differ from laws of nature such as the law of gravity which also function independently of the will of people. Laws of nature existed long before the appearance of man, whilst economic laws arose only after the appearance of society, in the process of productive activity.



Govt pledges to clamp down on wildlife thieves ANY unscrupulous people airlifting wildlife out of the country risk punitive action as the ministry is up to the task to combat such illegal activities which are costing the country  millions of dollars in revenue, says Tourism and Arts Minister Charles Banda. In an interview yesterday, Mr Banda said that the ministry had an open-door policy to accommodate ideas aimed at taking the ministry to greater heights but warned people with illegal motives of punitive action through collaborative efforts with law enforcement agencies as well as trained personnel and the community. He said that the Government had prioritized the diversification of the economy from over-dependence on copper and that tourism and arts one such measure to help cushion against sudden economic shocks. “I am aware that in the past some unscrupulous people airlifted wildlife from our parks but the truth of the matter is that we are up to the task to curb such illicit activities through our trained personnel, law enforcement agencies and the help of surrounding communities,” he said. Mr Banda emphasized the need to protect and preserve wildlife, stating that it was one of the key features that had the potential to attract more tourists which in turn earned the country foreign exchange and created employment opportunities among many youths. He said that there was need for the country to take advantage and tap into the large market of tourists that was mainly coming from China. “There is need to protect and preserve wildlife which is an important element in tourism because in many countries they do not have such animals, hence it attracts tourists,” he said. Mr Banda said that arts was another aspect that had the potential to contribute to the alleviation of poverty, stating that Zambia needed to learn from Nigeria’s film industry that largely contributed to that country’s gross domestic product.