Infrastructure - Term Overview

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Infrastructure in economics usually refers to the physical and material heritage that a country or society has for the development of its productive activities.

Infrastructure has several definitions. The most common and in common use is that which refers to the set of works, structures and other capital goods that an economy has. From Marxist theory, it's a broader concept and includes all productive forces and relations of production.

Infrastructure elements

The concept would include all the physical and material heritage that sustains or facilitates the productive development of a country. In this way, elements such as: roads, railways, irrigation systems, sewage systems, houses, dams, schools, electrical distribution networks, etc. would be included.

The more developed a country's infrastructure, the greater its productive capacity is expected. The foregoing inasmuch as production costs would be reduced by facilitating transport, communications, obtaining energy and other activities necessary for production.

It should also be noted that the less infrastructure a country has, the more profitable it will be to invest in it. This is because the impact of said investment on labor productivity is greater when it's scarce.

Definition according to Marxism

According to Marx, infrastructure is the material basis of the economy and includes all the forces and relations of production. This supports the social structure and above it's the superstructure, which includes culture, literature, religion, philosophy, art and science, along with political and legal institutions.

According to Marxist theory, the infrastructure sustains development and social change and influences the superstructure. In this way, for example, cultural changes aren't spontaneous, but are derived from changes in the relations of production.

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