The reproduction of human existence is a social, collective, enterprise, and not the product of isolated individuals. Thus, production is always the reproduction of a mode of social existence. Capital became a universal form of production by making its forms of work, and commodity distribution, exchange, and consumption the conditions for human social and individual reproduction. Capital, in the United States by the late 1800s, unified those conditions, regionally and interregionally, through a national transportation system. But, as capital universalized itself as a national relation of private appropriation, it simultaneously and increasingly created itself as a particular within its own system of social reproduction.
Any economic system, whether slavery, feudalism, capitalism, or socialism, ultimately represents a social unity of production, distribution, exchange, and consumption. However, as Marx states: “Hunger is hunger; but hunger that is satisfied by cooked meat eaten with a knife and fork differs from hunger that devours raw meat with the help of hands, nails, and teeth” (1986a:29). In other words, human needs have a universal existence; what matters is the developed forms for their satisfaction and the ways in which those developed forms are presupposed and posited by common relationships within human social activities. Capitalism is the most socially developed form of existence prior to socialism because it creates the premises of human social reproduction on the basis of shared urban social space which is itself a product of human social production, human-made space. The production of human social existence becomes, in its particular forms, what, in its deepest essence, it has always been, a process of collective social reproduction.
Capitalism develops as a social economy because the conditions which it creates for production, distribution, exchange, and consumption assume common particular forms which become universal conditions for social existence as well as for corporate development. As these forms evolve into a common urban environment, they create the bases for