The Economic Content of Narodism and the Criticism of it in Mr. Struve’s Book

(The Reflection of Marxism in Bourgeois Literature)


Chapter IV

How Mr. Struve Explains Some Features of Russia’s Post-Reform Economy

The last (sixth) chapter of Mr. Struve’s book is devoted to the most important problem, that of Russia’s economic development. Its theoretical contents are divided up into the following sections: 1) over-population in agricultural Russia, its character and causes; 2) the differentiation of the peasantry, its significance and causes; 3) the part played by industrial capitalism in ruining the peasantry; 4) private-landowner farming; the character of its development, and 5) the problem of markets for Russian capitalism. Before proceeding to examine Mr. Struve’s line of argument on each of these problems, let us examine what he says about the peasant Reform.

The author voices his protest against the “idealistic” understanding of the Reform and points to the requirements of the state, which needed greater labour productivity, to land redemption, and to the pressure “from below.” It is a pity the author did not make his legitimate protest a thorough one. The Narodniks explain the Reform by the development in “society” of “humane” and “emancipatory” ideas. This is an undoubted fact, but thus to explain the Reform means to slip into empty tautology and to reduce “emancipation” to “emancipatory” ideas. The materialist requires a special examination of the content of the measures effected to put those ideas into practice. History has never known a single important “reform,” even though it has been of a class character, which has not had lofty words and lofty ideas advanced in its support. This is equally true of the peasant Reform. If we pay attention to the   actual content of the changes it has effected, we shall see that their character is as follows: some of the peasants were deprived of the land, and—this is the chief thing—the rest of the peasants, who retained part of their land, had to redeem it from the landlords, as though it was something to which they had absolutely no right, and what is more, to redeem it at an artificially high price. Not only here in Russia, but also in the West, such reforms were invested with theories about “freedom” and “equality,” and it has already been shown in Capital that it was commodity production that provided the basis for the ideas of freedom and equality. At any rate, however complicated the bureaucratic machine that put the Reform into effect in Russia, howeverapparently[1] distant it was from the bourgeoisie themselves, it remains an undoubted fact that only the bourgeois system could develop on the basis of such a reform. Mr. Struve is quite right in pointing out that the stock way of contrasting the peasant Reform in Russia to those in Western Europe is wrong: “it is quite wrong (in so general a form) to assert that in Western Europe the peasants were emancipated without the land, or, in other words, were deprived of the land by legislation” (196). I underscore the words “in so general a form,” because separation of the peasants from the land by legislation was an undoubted historical fact wherever a peasant Reform was carried through, but it is not a universal fact, for in the West part of the peasants, when emancipated from feudal dependence, redeemed the land from the landlords, and are doing so in Russia. Only the bourgeoisie are capable of hiding the fact of redemption and of asserting that the “emancipation of the peasants with land[2] made a tabula rasa of Russia” (the words of a Mr. Yakovlev, “heartily welcomed” by Mr. Mikhailovsky—see p. 10 of P. Struve’s work).



Let us proceed to Mr. Struve’s theory about the “character of over-population in agrarian Russia.” This is one of the most important points in which Mr. Struve departs from the “doctrine” of Marxism for that of Malthusianism. The essence of his views, developed by him in his controversy with Mr. N. —on, is that over-population in agricultural Russia is “not capitalist, but, so to speak, simple over-population, that goes with natural economy.”[3]

Since Mr. Struve says that his objection to Mr. N. —on “fully conforms with F. A. Lange’s general objection to Marx’s theory of relative over-population” (p. 183, footnote), we shall first turn to this “general objection” of Lange’s and examine it.

Lange discusses Marx’s law of population in his Labour Problem, Chapter V (Russian trans., pp. 142-78). He begins with Marx’s main proposition that “every special historic mode of production has its own special laws of population, historically valid within its limits alone. An abstract law of population exists for plants and animals only.”[20] Lange’s comment is:

“May we be permitted to note firstly that, strictly speaking, there is no abstract law of population for plants and animals either, since abstraction is, on the whole, merely the extraction of the general from a whole number of similar phenomena” (143), and Lange explains in detail to Marx what abstraction is. Evidently, he simply did not understand the meaning of Marx’s statement. In this respect Marx contrasts man to plants and animals on the grounds that the former lives in diverse historically successive social organisms which are determined by the system of social production, and, hence, distribution. The conditions for human reproduction are directly dependent on the structure of the different social organisms; that is why the law of population must be studied in relation to each organism separately, and not “abstractly,” without   regard to the historically different forms of social structure. Lange’s explanation that abstraction means to extract the general from similar phenomena turns right against him self: only the conditions of existence of animals and plants can be considered similar, but this is not so with regard to man, because we know that he has lived in organisationally different types of social association.

Having expounded Marx’s theory of relative over-population in a capitalist country, Lange goes on to say: “At first sight it may seem that this theory breaks the lengthy thread that runs through the whole of organic nature up to man, that it explains the basis of the labour problem as though general investigations into the existence, reproduction and perfection of the human race were quite superfluous to our purpose, i.e., to an understanding of the labour problem” (154).[4]

The thread that runs through the whole of organic nature up to man is not at all broken by Marx’s theory, which merely requires that the “labour problem”—since it only exists as such in capitalist society—be solved not on the basis of “general investigations” into human reproduction, but on the basis of specific investigations of the laws of capitalist relations. Lange, however, is of a different opinion: “Actually, however,” says he, “this is not so. Above all it is clear that factory labour from the very outset presumes poverty” (154). And Lange devotes a page and a half to proving this proposition, which is self-evident and does not advance us a single hair’s breadth: firstly, we know that poverty is created by capitalism itself at a stage of its development prior to the factory form of production, prior to the stage at which the machines create surplus population; secondly, the form of social structure preceding capitalism—the feudal, serf system—itself created a poverty of its own, one that it handed down to capitalism.

“But even with such a powerful assistant [i.e., want], only in rare cases does the first employer succeed in winning over large numbers of workers to the new kind of activity. Usually what happens is the following. From the locality where factory industry has already won itself citizenship rights the employer brings with him a contingent of workers; to them he adds a few landless peasants,[5] who at the moment are workless, and the further supplementation of the existing factory contingent is done from among the rising generation” (156). Lange places the last two words in italics. Evidently, the “general investigations into the existence, reproduction and perfection of the human race” were expressed in precisely the postulate that the factory owner recruits new workers among the “rising generation,” and not among decrepit old folk. The good Lange spends a whole page more (157) on these “general investigations” and tells the reader that parents try to give their children an assured existence, that the idle moralists are wrong in condemning those who try to work their way out of the condition into which they were born, that it is quite natural to try to arrange for children to earn their own living. Only after we have got over all these reflections, which may be in place in copybooks, do we get down to business:

“In an agrarian country where the soil belongs to small and big owners—provided that the tendency of voluntary birth-control has not firmly gripped the people’s morals—there inevitably arises a constant surplus of hands and consumers who wish to exist on the products of the given territory” (157-58). This purely Malthusian proposition is put forward by Lange without offering any proof. He repeats it again and again and says: “In any case, even if such a country is thinly populated in the absolute sense, there are usually signs of relative over-population” and “on the market the supply of labour is constantly in excess and the demand insignificant” (158)—but all these   assertions are totally unsupported. Whence does it follow that a “surplus of workers” was really “inevitable”? Whence does the connection arise between this surplus and the absence in the people’s morals of a tendency to voluntary birth-control? Ought he not, before arguing about the “people’s morals,” to take a glance at the production relations in which the people live? Let us imagine, for example, that the small and big proprietors to whom Lange refers were connected in the production of material values as follows: the small proprietors received allotments from the big landowners on which they could exist, and in return engaged in corvée service for the big landowners, cultivating their fields. Let us imagine, further, that these relations have been shattered, that humane ideas have turned the heads of the big proprietors to such an extent that they have “emancipated their peasants with land,” i.e., have cut off approximately 20% of the allotment land of the peasants, and compelled them to pay for the remaining 80% a purchase price that has been raised 100%. Naturally, with such a guarantee against the “ulcer of the proletariat” the peasants still have to continue working for the big proprietors in order to exist, although they do not now work on the instructions of the feudal steward, as formerly, but on the basis of free contract—hence they snatch the work out of one another’s hands, since they are no longer bound together, and each one farms on his own account. This way of snatching up work inevitably forces some peasants out: because their allotments have grown smaller and their payments bigger, they have become weaker in relation to the landlord, and so competition among them increases the rate of surplus product, and the landlord can manage with a smaller number of peasants. However much the tendency to voluntary birth-control becomes entrenched in the people’s morals, the formation of a “surplus” is inevitable. Lange’s line of argument, which ignores social-economic relations, merely serves as striking proof that his methods are useless. And apart from such arguments he gives us nothing new. He says that the factory owners willingly transfer industry into the depths of the countryside, because there “the requisite amount of child labour is always ready to hand for any undertaking” (161), without investigating   what history, what mode of social production has created this “readiness” on the part of parents to place their children in bondage. The methods he uses are most clearly seen from the following of his arguments: he quotes Marx, who says that machine industry, by enabling capital to buy female and child labour, makes the worker a “slave—dealer.”

“So that’s what he’s getting at!” cries Lange triumphantly. “But is it to be expected that the worker, whom want forces to sell his own labour-power, would so lightly sell his wife and children, if he were not impelled to take this step by want, on the one hand, and by temptation, on the other?” (163).

The good Lange has carried his zeal to the point of defending the worker against Marx, to whom he proves that the worker is “prompted by want.”

...“And what, indeed, is this ever-growing want but the metamorphosis of the struggle for existence?” (163).

Such are the discoveries resulting from “general investigations into the existence, reproduction and perfection of the human race”! Do we learn anything at all about the causes of “want,” about its political-economic content and course of development if we are told that it is the metamorphosis of the struggle for existence? Why, that can be said about anything you like—about the relation of the worker to the capitalist, the landowner to the factory owner and to the peasant serf, etc., etc. We get nothing but such vapid banalities or naïveties from Lange’s attempt to correct Marx. Let us now see what Lange’s follower, Mr. Struve, gives us in support of this correction, in discussing the specific problem of over-population in agrarian Russia.

Commodity production, begins Mr. Struve, increases the capacity of the home market. “Exchange exerts such an effect not only by the complete technical and economic reorganisation of production, but also in those cases where the technique of production remains at the former level, and natural economy retains its former dominant role in the general economy of the population. In that case, however, ’over-population’ inevitably sets in after a brief revival; but if commodity production is to blame, it is only: 1) as the exciter, 2) as the complicating factor” (182). Over-population   would set in without commodity economy: it is non-capitalist in character.

Such are the propositions advanced by the author. From the very outset one is struck with the fact that these propositions are just as unsubstantiated as those of Lange. The assertion is made that over-population is inevitable under natural economy, but no explanation is given of exactly what process gives rise to it. Let us turn to the facts in which the author finds confirmation of his views.

The data for 1762-1846 show that the population in general did not multiply so rapidly, the annual increase being from 1.07 to 1.5%. What is more, the increase was more rapid, according to Arsenyev, in the “grain-growing” gubernias. This “fact,” concludes Mr. Struve, “is highly characteristic of the primitive forms of people’s economy, where reproduction is directly dependent on natural fertility, a dependence which one can feel with one’s hands, so to speak.” This is the action of “the law of the correlation of the growth of the population with the means of subsistence” (185). “The wider the expanse of territory, and the higher the natural fertility of the soil, the greater is the natural growth of the population” (186). The quite unsubstantiated conclusion drawn is the following: the one fact that in the central gubernias of European Russia the growth of the population between 1790 and 1846 was smallest in Vladimir and Kaluga gubernias is made the basis for a whole law correlating the growth of the population with the means of subsistence. But can one judge of the population’s means of subsistence from the “expanse of territory”? (Even if we were to admit that such few data enable us to draw general conclusions.) The “population,” after all, did not divert to their own use the products of the “natural fertility” they had secured: they shared them with the landlords, with the state. Is it not clear that the different types of landlord farming—quitrent or corvée, the size of tributes and the methods of exacting them, etc.— exerted a far greater influence on the amount of “means of subsistence” available to the population than the expanse of territory, which was not in the exclusive and free possession of the producers? More than that. Irrespective of the social relations that were expressed in serfdom, the population   was bound together, even then, by exchange: “The separation of manufacturing industry from agriculture,” rightly says the author, “i.e., the social, national division of labour, existed in the pre-Reform period, too” (189). The question, then, arises why should we presume that the marsh-dwelling Vladimir handicraftsman or cattle-dealer had a less abundant supply of “means of subsistence” than the rude tiller of Tambov with all his “natural fertility of the soil”?

Then Mr. Struve cites data about the decline in the serf population before the emancipation. The economists whose opinion he quotes attribute this to a “decline in living standards” (189). The author concludes:

“We have stopped to deal with the fact of the decline in the serf population before the emancipation, because, in our view, it throws clear light on the economic situation in Russia at that time. A considerable part of the country had ... the maximum population for the given technical-economic and social-juridical conditions: the latter were very unfavourable for any rapid increase as far as almost 40% of the population was concerned” (189). What has the Malthusian “law” of the correlation of population increase and means of subsistence to do with the matter, when the feudal social order directed these means of subsistence into the possession of a handful of big landowners, and passed over the mass of the population, the growth of which is under investigation? Can any value be attached, for example, to the author’s argument that the growth in population was smallest either in the less-fertile gubernias where industry was poorly developed, or in the thickly populated and purely agricultural gubernias? Mr. Struve wishes to see in this a manifestation of “non-capitalist over-population,” which was bound to have set in even without commodity economy, and which “corresponds to natural economy.” But one might say with equal, if not greater, justice that this over-population corresponded to feudal economy, that the slow increase in the population was due most of all to the increased exploitation of peasant labour that resulted from the growth of commodity production on the landlords’ farms, when they began using corvée labour to produce grain for sale, and not merely for their own needs. The author’s   examples tell against him: they tell of the impossibility of constructing an abstract law of population, according to the formula about correlation of growth and the means of subsistence, while ignoring historically specific systems of social relations and the stages of their development.

Passing to the post-Reform period, Mr. Struve says: “In the history of the population following the collapse of serfdom we see the same basic feature as before the emancipation. The dynamics of population increase are directly dependent on the expanse of territory and the land allotment” (198). This is proved by a small table, which groups the peasants according to size of allotment, and shows that the greater the size of the allotment, the greater the increase in population. “And it cannot be otherwise under natural, ’self-consumer’ ... economy that serves primarily to satisfy the direct needs of the producer himself” (199).

Truly, if this were so, if the allotments served primarily to satisfy the direct needs of the producer, if they were the only source of satisfying these needs, one could then, and only then, evolve a general law of population increase from these data. But we know that this is not the case. The allotments serve “primarily” to satisfy the needs of the landlords and the state: they are taken away from their owners, if these “needs” are not satisfied on time; payments are levied on the allotment in excess of the peasants’ paying capacity. Further, they are not the peasants’ only resources. A farming deficit—says the author—is bound to be reflected preventively and repressively on the population. Furthermore, outside employments, by diverting the adult male population, retard reproduction (199). But if the deficit from allotment farming is covered by renting land or by outside earnings, the peasant’s means of subsistence may prove to be adequate enough for “energetic reproduction.” Undoubtedly, such a favourable turn of events may be the lot of only a minority of the peasants, but, where no special examination is made of production relations existing within the peasantry, there is nothing to show that this growth proceeds evenly, that it is not called forth mainly by the prosperity of the minority. Finally, the author himself makes natural economy a condition of the demonstrability of his thesis, whereas after the Reform, on his own   admission, commodity production penetrated in a broad stream into the hitherto existing life. The author’s data are obviously quite inadequate for establishing a general law of reproduction. More, the abstract “simplicity” of this law which presumes that the means of production in the society under review “serve primarily to satisfy the direct needs of the producer himself” gives absolutely wrong, and totally unsupported, treatment of highly complicated facts. For example, after the emancipation—says Mr. Struve—it was to the landlords’ advantage to lease their land to the peasants. “Thus, the food area available to the peasantry, i. e., their means of subsistence, has increased” (2Q0). To assign the whole of the rented land in this forthright way to the category of “food area” is quite unfounded and wrong. The author himself points out that the landlords appropriated the lion’s share of the produce raised on their land (200), so that it is still a question whether such renting of land (on a labour-service basis, for example) has not worsened the conditions of the tenants, whether it has not placed obligations on them that have led, in the final analysis, to the food area declining. Further, the author himself points out that the renting of land is only within the capacity of the prosperous (216) peasants, in whose hands it serves as a means of expanding commodity farming rather than consolidating “self-consumer” farming. Even if it were proven that generally speaking the renting of land improved the position of the “peasantry,” of what importance could that be when, to use the words of the author himself, the peasant poor have been ruined by renting land (216)—i.e., improvement for some meant worsening for others? Evidently in the peasant renting of land the old, feudal and the new, capitalist relationships intertwine; the author’s abstract reasoning, which takes no account of either the one or the other, confuses matters instead of helping to achieve clarity about these relationships.

There remains one more reference by the author to data supposedly confirming his views. It is where he says that “the old word land-poverty is merely the term commonly used to express what science calls over-population” (186). The author thus bases himself, as it were, on the whole of our Narodnik literature, which established the fact beyond doubt   that the peasant allotments were “inadequate,” and which “fortified” thousands of times over their desire for the “expansion of peasant land tenure” with the “simple” argument:

the population has increased; the allotments have been split up—naturally, the peasants are being ruined. However, this hackneyed Narodnik argument about “land-poverty can hardly be of any scientific[6] value, it can hardly be of use for anything but “loyal speeches” in a commission dealing with the painless advance of the fatherland along the right road. In this argument the wood cannot be seen for the trees, the basic social-economic background of the picture cannot be seen for the outer contours of the object. The fact of a huge mass of land belonging to members of the “old-nobility” system, on the one hand, and the acquisition of land by purchase, on the other—such is the basic background under which every “expansion of land tenure” will be a miserable palliative. Both the Narodnik arguments about land-poverty, and the Malthusian “laws” about population increase being correlated to the means of subsistence are at fault in their abstract “simplicity,” which ignores the given, specific social-economic relations.

This review of Mr. Struve’s arguments leads us to the conclusion that his thesis—over-population in agrarian Russia is to be explained by reproduction not being correlated to the means of subsistence—is absolutely unproved. He concludes his arguments as follows: “And so, we are faced with a picture of natural-economic over-population complicated by commodity-economic factors and other important features inherited from the social structure of the feudal epoch” (200). Of course, one can say that any economic phenomenon in a country undergoing a transition from “natural” to “commodity” economy is a “natural-economic” phenomenon complicated by “commodity-economic factors.” The opposite can also be said: “a commodity-economic” phenomenon “complicated by natural-economic factors,”—but all this, far from giving a “picture,” cannot give even   the slightest idea of exactly how over-population is created on the basis of the given social-economic relations. The author’s final conclusion against Mr. N. —on and his theory of capitalist over-population in Russia reads: “Our peasants produce insufficient food” (237).

The peasants’ agricultural work continues to this day to yield produce that goes to the landlords, who, through the medium of the state, receive redemption payments; peasant production serves as a constant object of merchant’s and usury capital operations, depriving vast masses of the peasantry of a considerable part of their produce; finally, among the “peasantry” itself this production is distributed in so complicated a fashion that the general and average gain (renting) turns out to be a loss for the masses, and Mr. Struve cuts all this network of social relations, like a Gordian knot, with the abstract and totally unsupported solution: “production is insufficient.” But no, this theory will not hold water at all: it merely encumbers that which is to be investigated, namely, production relations in peasant agricultural economy. The Malthusian theory pictures matters as though we are confronted by a tabula rasa, and not by feudal and bourgeois relations interwoven in the contemporary organisation of Russian peasant economy.

It goes without saying that we cannot be satisfied with merely criticising Mr. Struve’s views. We must in addition ask ourselves the questions: what is the basis of his mistakes? And who of the contending parties (Mr. N. —on and Mr. Struve) is right in his explanation of over-population?

Mr. N. —on bases his explanation of over-population on the fact of masses of workers being “freed” because of the capitalisation of the peasant industries. And he merely cites data relating to the growth of large-scale factory industry, and disregards the parallel fact of the growth of handicraft industries, which expresses the deepening of the social division of labour.[7] He transfers his explanation   to agriculture, without even attempting to give an exact description of its social-economic organisation and the degree of its development.

Mr. Struve indicates in reply that “capitalist over-population in Marx’s sense is closely connected with technical progress” (183), and since he, together with Mr. —on, finds that the “technique” of peasant “farming has made practically no progress” (200), he refuses to recognise the over-population in agricultural Russia to be capitalist, and seeks for other explanations.

Mr. Struve’s remarks in reply to Mr. N. —on are correct. Capitalist over-population is due to capital taking possession of production; by reducing the number of necessary workers (necessary for the production of a given quantity of products) it creates a surplus population. Marx, speaking of capitalist over-population in agriculture, says the following:

“As soon as capitalist production takes possession of agriculture, and in proportion to the extent to which it does so, the demand for an agricultural labouring population falls absolutely, while the accumulation of the capital employed in agriculture advances, without this repulsion being, as in non-agricultural industries, compensated by a greater attraction. Part of the agricultural population is therefore constantly on the point of passing over into an urban, or manufacturing proletariat....[8] (Manufacture is used here in the sense of all non-agricultural industries.) This source of relative surplus population is thus constantly flowing. But the constant flow towards the towns presupposes, in the country itself, a constant latent surplus population, the extent of which becomes evident only when its channels of outlet open to exceptional width. The agricultural labourer is therefore reduced to the minimum of wages, and always stands with one foot already in the swamp of pauperism” (Das Kapital, 2 Aufl., S. 668).[21]

Mr. N. —on did not prove the capitalist character of over-population in agrarian Russia, because he did not connect it with capitalism in agriculture: confining himself to a cursory and incomplete reference to the capitalist evolution of private-landowner farming, he completely overlooked the bourgeois features of the organisation of peasant farming. Mr. Struve should have corrected this unsatisfactory feature of Mr. N. —on’s exposition, which is of very great importance, for ignoring capitalism in agriculture, its domination, and at the same time its still weak development, naturally led to the theory of the absence or the contraction of the home market. Instead of reducing Mr. N. —on’s theory to the concrete data of our agricultural capitalism, Mr. Struve fell into another error—he denied the capitalist character of over-population completely.

The invasion of agriculture by capital is characteristic of the entire history of the post-Reform period. The landlords went over (whether slowly or quickly is another matter) to hired labour, which became very widespread and even determined the character of the major part of peasant earnings; they introduced technical improvements and brought machines into use. Even the dying feudal system of economy—the provision of land to the peasants in return for labour service—underwent a bourgeois transformation due to competition among the peasants; this led to a worsening of the position of tenants, to severer conditions,[9] and, consequently, to a decline in the number of workers. In peasant economy the splitting up of the peasantry into a village bourgeoisie and proletariat was quite clearly revealed. The “rich” extended their tillage, improved their farms [cf. V. V., Progressive Trends in Peasant Farming] and were compelled to resort to wage-labour. All these are long established, generally recognised facts which (as we shall see in a moment) are referred to by Mr. Struve himself. Let us take as a further example the following   case, a usual one in the Russian village: a “kulak” has wrested the best slice of allotment land from the “village community,” or more exactly, community members of the proletarian type, and is farming it with the labour and the implements of the very same “allotment-provided” peasants who have become enmeshed in debts and obligations and are tied to their benefactor—for social mutual adaptation and common action—by the strength of the community principles beloved of the Narodniks. His farm is better run, of course, than those of the ruined peasants, and far fewer workers are required than when this slice of land was held by several small peasant farmers. No Narodnik can deny that these are not isolated but common facts. Their theories are exceptionalist only in their refusal to call facts by their real name, in their refusal to see that these facts signify the domination of capital in agriculture. They forget that the initial form of capital has always and everywhere been merchant’s, money capital, that capital always takes the technical process of production as it finds it, and only subsequently subjects it to technical transformation. They therefore do not see that by “upholding” (in words, of course—no more than that) the contemporary agricultural order against “oncoming” (?!) capitalism, they are merely upholding medieval forms of capital against the onslaught of its latest, purely bourgeois forms.

Thus, one cannot deny the capitalist character of over population in Russia, just as one cannot deny the domination of capital in agriculture. But it is quite ridiculous, of course, to ignore the degree of the development of capital, as Mr. N. —on does; in his enthusiasm he presents it as almost completed and for that reason concocts a theory about the contraction or the absence of the home market, whereas actually, though capital is dominant, it is in a relatively very undeveloped form; there are still many intermediate phases before it reaches full development, before the producer is completely divorced from the means of production, and every step forward by agricultural capitalism means a growth of the home market, which, according to Marx’s theory, is created precisely by agricultural capitalism—and which in Russia is not contracting, but, on the contrary, is taking shape and developing.

Further, we see from this albeit very general description of our agricultural capitalism[10] that it does not embrace all social-economic relations in the countryside. Alongside of it we still see feudal relations—in both the economic sphere (e.g., the leasing of cut-off lands in return for labour service and payments in kind—here you have all the features of feudal economy: the natural “exchange of services” between the producer and the owner of the means of production, and the exploitation of the producer by tying him to the land, and not separating him from the means of production), and still more in the social and the juridical-political sphere (compulsory “provision of allotment,” tying to the land, i.e., absence of freedom of movement, payment of redemption money, i.e., the same quitrent paid to the landlord, subordination to the privileged landowners in the courts and administration, etc.); these relations also undoubtedly lead to the ruin of the peasants and to unemployment, an “over-population” of farm labourers tied to the land. The capitalist basis of contemporary relations should not hide these still powerful relics of the “old-nobility” stratum which have not yet been destroyed by capitalism precisely because it is undeveloped. The undeveloped condition of capitalism, “Russia’s backwardness,” considered by the Narodniks to be “good fortune,”[11] is only “good fortune” for the titled exploiters. Contemporary “over-population,” consequently, contains feudal in addition to its basic capitalist features.

If we compare this latter thesis with Mr. Struve’s thesis that “over-population” contains natural-economic features and commodity-economic features, we shall see that the former do not rule out the latter, but, on the contrary, are included in them: serfdom relates to “natural-economic,” and capitalism to “commodity-economic” phenomena. Mr. Struve’s thesis, on the one hand, does not exactly indicate precisely which relations are natural-economic and which commodity-economic, and, on the other hand, leads us back to the unfounded and meaningless “laws” of Malthus.

These defects naturally gave rise to the unsatisfactory character of the following passage. “In what way,” asks the author, “on what basis can our national economy be reorganised?” (202) A strange question, formulated again in a very professorial style, precisely as Messrs. the Narodniks are accustomed to put questions when they proclaim the unsatisfactory character of the present situation and select the best paths for the fatherland. “Our national economy” is a capitalist economy, the organisation and “reorganisation” of which is determined by the bourgeoisie, who “manage” this economy. Instead of the question of possible reorganisation, what should have been put is the question of the successive stages of the development of this bourgeois economy; and it should have been put from the viewpoint of precisely that theory in whose name the author so splendidly replies to Mr. V. V., who describes Mr. N. —on as an “undoubted Marxist,” that this “undoubted Marxist” has no idea of the class struggle and of the class origin of the state. Had the author altered the manner of posing the question in the sense indicated it would have saved him from the confused arguments about the “peasantry” that we read on pages 202-04.

The author begins with the statement that the peasantry have insufficient allotment land, that even if they cover this insufficiency by renting land, “a considerable part of them” nevertheless always have a deficit; one cannot talk of the peasantry as a whole, for that means to talk of a fiction[12] (p. 203). And the conclusion directly drawn from this is:

“In any case, insufficient production is the basic and dominating fact of our national economy” (p. 204). This is quite unfounded and totally unconnected with what was said earlier: why is not the fact that the peasantry as one whole is a fiction, because antagonistic, classes are taking shape within it, made the “basic and dominating fact”? The author draws his conclusion without any data, without any analysis of the facts relating to “insufficient production” [which, however, does not prevent a minority from becoming affluent at the expense of the majority], or to the splitting up   of the peasantry—simply due to some prejudice in favour of Malthusianism. “Therefore,” he continues, “an increase in the productivity of agricultural labour is a plain benefit and blessing to the Russian peasantry” (204). We are at a loss: the author has only just advanced against the Narodniks the serious (and to the highest degree legitimate) accusation of arguing about a “fiction”—the “peasantry” in general—and now he himself introduces this fiction into his analysis! If the relations within the ranks of this “peasantry” are such that a minority become “economically strong,” while the majority become proletarians, if a minority expand their landownership and wax rich, while the majority always have a deficit and become ruined, how can one speak of the process in general being a “benefit and blessing”? Very likely the author wanted to say that the process is of benefit to both the one and the other section of the peasantry. But then, firstly, he should have examined the position of each group and have investigated it separately, and, secondly, in view of the antagonism existing between the groups he should have definitely established from which group’s viewpoint reference is made to the “benefit and blessing.” This example goes to confirm over and over again the unsatisfactory and incomplete character of Mr. Struve’s objectivism.

Since Mr. N. —on holds an opposite view on this subject and asserts that an “increase in the productivity of agricultural labour[13] cannot serve to raise the national well being if the goods are produced as commodities” (Sketches, p. 266), Mr. Struve now proceeds to refute this opinion.

Firstly, he says, the peasant who has been hit by the full weight of the contemporary crisis, produces grain for his own consumption; he does not sell grain, but buys extra supplies of it. For such peasants—and they constitute as much as 50% (one-horse and horseless) and certainly not less than 25% (horseless)—increased labour productivity is at any rate beneficial, despite the drop in the price of grain.

Yes, of course, an increase in productivity would be beneficial to such a peasant, if he could retain his farm and   raise it to a higher level. But the trouble is that the one-horse and horseless peasants do not enjoy these conditions. They are not able to retain their present farms, with their primitive implements, careless cultivation of the soil, etc., let alone improve their farming technique. Technical improvement is the result of the growth of commodity economy. And if, at the present stage of the development of commodity economy, even those peasants who have to buy extra supplies for themselves find it necessary to sell grain, then, at the following stage, such sales will be still more essential (the author himself recognises the need for a transition from natural to commodity economy), and the competition of peasants who have improved their farming methods will inevitably and immediately expropriate proletarians who are tied to the land and turn them into proletarians who are as free as birds. I have no wish to say that such a change will be of no benefit to them. On the contrary, once the producer has fallen into the clutches of capital—and this is an undoubtedly accomplished fact as regards the group of the peasantry under examination—complete freedom, which enables him to change masters, and gives him a free hand, is very much of “a benefit and a blessing” to him. But the controversy between Messrs. Struve and N. —on is not at all conducted around such considerations.

Secondly, continues Mr. Struve, Mr. N. —on “forgets that an increase in the productivity of agricultural labour is only possible by effecting changes in the technique and in the system of farming or crop growing” (206). Certainly, Mr. N. —on forgets that, but this consideration merely strengthens the thesis of the inevitability of the total expropriation of the economically weak peasants, the “proletarian type” of peasants. To effect technical improvements money resources must be available, but these peasants do not even possess enough food resources.

Thirdly, concludes the author, Mr. N. —on is wrong in asserting that a rise in the productivity of agricultural labour will compel competitors to lower prices. For such a price reduction—Mr. Struve rightly remarks—it is necessary that the productivity of our agricultural labour should not only catch up with that of Western Europe   [in that case we shall sell produce at the level of socially necessary labour], but even outstrip it. That objection is quite a sound one, but it tells us nothing whatever about which particular section of the “peasantry” will benefit from this technical improvement and why.

“In general, Mr. N. —on has no reason to fear an increase in the productivity of agricultural labour” (207). He does so, in Mr. Struve’s view, because he cannot imagine agricultural progress except as the progress of extensive agriculture, accompanied by the ever-increasing elimination of workers by machines.

The author very aptly describes Mr. N. —on’s attitude to the growth of agricultural technique with the word “fear”; he is quite right in saying that this fear is absurd. But his line of argument does not, we think, touch the basic error of Mr. N. —on.

While Mr. N. —on apparently adheres to the strict letter of the doctrine of Marxism, he none the less draws a sharp distinction between the capitalist evolution of agriculture and the evolution of manufacturing industry in capitalist society, the distinction being that he recognises the progressive work of capitalism with regard to the latter—the socialisation of labour—and does not do so with regard to the former. That is why he “does not fear” an increase in the productivity of labour with regard to manufacturing industry, but “does fear” it as regards agriculture, although the social-economic aspect of the matter and the reflection of this process on the different classes of society are exactly the same in both cases.... Marx expressed this point very strikingly in the following remark: “Philanthropic English economists, like Mill, Rogers, Goldwin Smith, Fawcett, etc., and liberal manufacturers like John Bright and Co., ask the English landed proprietors, as God asked Cain after Abel, where are our thousands of freeholders gone? But where do you come from, then? From the destruction of those freeholders. Why don’t you ask further, where are the independent weavers, spinners, and artisans gone?” (Das Kapital, I, S. 780, Anm. 237.)[22] The last sentence clearly identifies the fate of the small producers in agriculture with the fate of those in manufacturing industry, and emphasises the formation of the classes of bourgeois society   in both cases.[14] Mr. N. —on’s chief error lies precisely in the fact that he ignores these classes, their formation among our peasantry, and does not set himself the aim of following, with the utmost precision, every successive stage in the development of the antithesis between these classes.

But Mr. Struve deals with the problem quite differently. Far from correcting the error of Mr. N. —on that we have mentioned, he himself repeats it, arguing from the viewpoint of a professor standing above classes about the “benefit” of progress to the “peasantry.” This attempt to rise above classes leads the author to extreme haziness in stating his points, a haziness so great that the following bourgeois conclusions may be drawn from them: in opposition to the undoubtedly correct thesis that capitalism in agriculture (as capitalism in industry) worsens the conditions of the producer, he advances the thesis of the “benefit” of these changes in general. This is the same as if someone were to argue about machines in bourgeois society and refute the romantic economist’s theory that they worsen the conditions of the working people by proofs of the “benefit and blessing” of progress in general.

In reply to Mr. Struve’s view the Narodnik will very likely say: what Mr. N. —on fears is not increased productivity of labour, but bourgeoisdom.

There is no doubt that technical progress in agriculture under our capitalist system is connected with bourgeoisdom, but the “fear” displayed by the Narodniks is, of course, quite absurd. Bourgeoisdom is a fact of actual life, labour is subordinated to capital in agriculture too, and what is to be “feared” is not bourgeoisdom, but the producer’s lack of consciousness of this bourgeoisdom, his inability to defend his interests against it. That is why it is not the retardation of the development of capitalism that is to be desired, but on the contrary, its full development, its thorough development.

To show with as great detail and precision as possible the basis of the error committed by Mr. Struve in treating agriculture in capitalist society, let us try to depict (in   the most general outline) the process of the formation of classes together with the technical changes that gave grounds for the argument. In this connection Mr. Struve distinguishes strictly extensive agriculture and intensive, seeing the root of Mr. N. —on’s misapprehensions in his refusal to recognise anything but extensive agriculture. We shall endeavour to prove that Mr. N. —on’s chief error lies not in this, and that as agriculture becomes intensive the formation of the classes of bourgeois society is essentially identical with that taking place as extensive agriculture develops.

There is no need to say much about extensive agriculture, because Mr. Struve also admits that here the “peasantry” are ousted by the bourgeoisie. Let us merely note two points. Firstly, technical progress is evoked by commodity economy; to bring it about the proprietor must have free, surplus monetary resources [surplus in relation to his consumption and the reproduction of his means of production]. Where can these resources be got? Obviously from no other source than the conversion of the cycle: commodity—money—’ commodity into the cycle: money—commodity—money with a surplus. In other words, these resources can be got exclusively from capital, from merchant’s and usury capital, from the same “welshers, kulaks, merchants,” etc., whom the naïve Russian Narodniks assign not to capitalism but to “rapacity” (as though capitalism is not rapacity! as though Russian reality does not show us the interconnection of all possible varieties of this “rapacity”—from the most primitive and primeval kulakdom to the very latest, rational enterprise!)[15] Secondly, let us note Mr. N. —on’s strange   attitude to this question. In the second note to page 233 he refutes V. Y. Postnikov, author of Peasant Farming in South Russia, who points out that machines have exactly doubled the working area of the peasant household, from 10 to 20 dessiatines per worker, and that for that reason the cause of “Russia’s poverty” is “the small size of the peasant farm.” In other words, technical progress in bourgeois society leads to the expropriation of the small and backward farms. Mr. N. —on objects: tomorrow technique may raise the working area three times over. Then the 60-dessiatine farms will have to be turned into 200- and 300-dessiatine farms. Such an argument against the thesis of our agriculture being bourgeois is as ridiculous as somebody setting out to prove the weakness and impotence of factory capitalism on the grounds that the steam-engine of today will have to be replaced “tomorrow” by the electric motor. “Nor is it known where the millions of released labourers get to”—adds Mr. N. —on, who sets himself up as judge of the bourgeoisie and forgets that the producer himself is the only one to judge them. The formation of a reserve army of unemployed is just as necessary a result of the use of machinery in bourgeois agriculture as in bourgeois industry.

And so, with regard to the development of extensive agriculture there is no doubt that technical progress under commodity economy leads to the transformation of the “peasant” into a capitalist farmer, on the one hand (understanding by farmer the entrepreneur, the capitalist in agriculture), and a farm labourer or day labourer, on the other. Let us now examine the case where extensive agriculture becomes intensive. It is from this process that Mr. Struve expects “benefit” for the “peasant.” To prevent any argument about the suitability of the material we are using to describe this transition, let us make use of Mr. A. I. Skvortsov’s[16]   The Influence of Steam Transport on   Agriculture, who has earned such boundless praise from Mr. Struve.

In Chapter 3 of the fourth section of his book, Mr. A. Skvortsov examines the “change in agricultural technique under the influence of steam transport” in countries employing extensive and intensive farming. Let us take his description of this change in the thickly-populated extensive countries. One might think that central European Russia would fit into that category. Mr. Skvortsov foresees for such a country the changes that, in Mr. Struve’s opinion, will inevitably take place in Russia too, namely, transformation into a country of intensive agriculture with developed factory production.

Let us follow Mr. A. Skvortsov (§§ 4-7, pp. 440-51). A country of extensive[17] agriculture. A very considerable part of the population is engaged in agriculture. Uniformity of occupation leads to the absence of a market. The population is poor, firstly, because of the small size of the farms and, secondly, because of the absence of exchange: “requirements other than food, which is raised by the agriculturist himself, are satisfied exclusively, it can be said, by the products of primitive artisan establishments, known as handicraft industry in Russia.”

The building of a railway raises the price of agricultural produce and, consequently, increases the purchasing power of the population. “Together with the railway the country is flooded with the cheap products of the manufactories and mills,” which ruin the local handicraftsmen. This is the first cause of the “collapse of many farms.”

The second cause of the collapse is crop failures. “Agriculture has also been conducted hitherto in a primitive   fashion, i.e., always in an irrational way and, consequently, harvest failures are no rare occurrence, but with the building of the railway line the rise in the price of the product, that formerly resulted from crop failure, either does not take place at all or in any case is considerably smaller. That is why the natural consequence of the very first crop failure is usually the collapse of many farms. The smaller the surpluses left from normal harvests and the more the population have had to count on earnings from handicraft industries, the more rapidly the collapse occurs.”

In order to manage without handicraft industries and to guarantee oneself against crop failures by going over to intensive (rational) agriculture, the following are necessary: firstly, big monetary surpluses (from the sale of agricultural produce at higher prices), and, secondly, the intellectual force of the population, without which no increased rationality and intensity is possible. The mass of the population do not, of course, enjoy these conditions: they apply to a minority only.[18]

“The surplus population thus formed” [i.e., as a result of the “liquidation” of many farms ruined by the failure of handicraft industries and by the greater demands on agriculture] “will partly be swallowed up by the farms that emerge from this situation more happily and that are able to increase the intensity of production” (i.e., of course they will be “swallowed up” as wage-workers, farm labourers and day labourers. Mr. A. Skvortsov does not say that, maybe because he considers it too obvious). A great expenditure of human energy will be required, since the proximity of the market brought about by improved communications makes it possible to raise perishable produce, and “the latter, in most cases, entails a considerable expenditure of manpower.” “Usually, however,” continues Mr. Skvortsov, “the process of destruction proceeds much more rapidly than the process of improving the surviving farms, and part of the ruined peasants have to move, at least to the towns, if not right out of the country. It is this part that has constituted   the main contingent added to the population of European cities since the railways were built.”

Further. “Surplus population means cheap hands.” “The soil being fertile (and the climate favourable ...) all the conditions are created for the cultivation of plants and in general of raising agricultural produce that requires a large expenditure of labour-power per land unit” (443), especially since the small size of the farms (“although they will perhaps increase as compared with their former size”) makes the introduction of machines difficult. “In addition to this, fixed capital will not remain unchanged, and first and foremost it is farm implements that will change their character.” And apart from machines “the need for better cultivation of the soil will lead to the replacement of the former primitive implements by more up-to-date ones, and of wood by iron and steel. This transformation will lead of necessity to the establishment here of factories engaged in the production of such implements, for they cannot be produced even tolerably well by handicraft methods.” The development of this branch of industry is favoured by the following conditions: 1) the need to get a machine or part of it rapidly; 2) “hands are here in abundance, and they are cheap”; 3) fuel, buildings and land are cheap; 4) “the small size of the economic units leads to an increased demand for implements, for it is well known that small farms require relatively more equipment.” Other kinds of industries also develop. “In general there is a development of urban life.” There is a development, out of necessity, of mining industries, “since, on the one hand, a mass of free hands is available and, on the other, thanks to the railways and the development of the mechanised manufacturing and other industries there is an increased demand for the products of the mining industry.

“Thus, such a district, which before the railway was built was thickly populated and whose agriculture was extensive, turns more or less quickly into a district of very intensive agriculture with more or less developed factory production.” Increased intensity is manifested by the change in the system of crop raising. The three-field system is impossible because of harvest fluctuations. A transition has to be made to a “crop rotation system,” which does away   with harvest fluctuations. Of course, the complete crop rotation system,[19] which requires a very high level of intensity, cannot be introduced immediately. At first, therefore, grain crop rotation [proper succession of crops] is introduced; cattle-raising, and the planting of fodder crops are developed.

“Finally, therefore, our thickly-populated extensive farming district turns more or less rapidly, as railways develop, into one of highly intensive farming, and its intensity, as has been said, will grow primarily on account of an increase in variable capital.”

This detailed description of the process of development of intensive farming shows clearly that in this case, too, technical progress under commodity production leads to bourgeois economy, splits the direct producers into the farmer, who enjoys all the advantages of intensive farming, improvement of implements, etc., and the worker, who with his “freedom” and his “cheapness” provides the most “favourable conditions” for the “progressive development of the entire national economy.”

Mr. N. —on’s chief error is not that he ignores intensive agriculture and confines himself to extensive agriculture, but his vapid lamentations about “us” going the wrong way to which he treats the reader, instead of analysing the class contradictions in the sphere of Russian agricultural production. Mr. Struve repeats this error by obscuring the class contradictions with “objective” arguments, and only corrects Mr. N. —on’s secondary errors. It is all the more strange since he himself quite rightly chides this “undoubted Marxist” with failing to understand the theory of the class struggle. It is all the more regrettable since Mr. Struve, by that error, weakens the force of his quite correct idea that “fear” of technical progress in agriculture is absurd.

To finish with this problem of capitalism in agriculture, let us sum up what has been said. How does Mr. Struve pose the problem? He starts out from the a priori, unfounded explanation of over-population being the result of population increases not conforming to the means of subsistence;   then he points out that the production of food by our peasant is “inadequate,” and settles the problem by arguing that technical progress is beneficial to the “peasantry,” and that “agricultural productivity must be raised” (211). How should he have presented the problem had he been “bound by the doctrine” of Marxism? He should have begun with an analysis of the given production relations in Russian agriculture, and, after showing that the oppression of the producer is to be explained not by chance or by politics but by the domination of capital, which necessarily comes into being on the basis of commodity economy—he should then have shown how this capital destroys small production and what forms class contradictions assume in the process. He should then have shown how further development leads to capital growing from merchant’s into industrial (assuming such and such forms under extensive farming, and such and such under intensive), developing and accentuating the class contradiction whose basis was firmly laid under its old form, and once and for all opposing “free” labour to “rational” production. It would then have been sufficient simply to contrast these two successive forms of bourgeois production and bourgeois exploitation, in order that the “progressive” character of the change, its “advantage” to the producer should be quite evident: in the first case the subordination of labour to capital is covered up by thousands of the remnants of medieval relations, which prevent the producer from seeing the essence of the matter and arouse in his ideologist’s mind absurd and reactionary ideas about the possibility of expecting aid from “society,” etc.; in the second case this subordination is quite free of medieval fetters, and the producer is enabled to engage in and understands the necessity for independent, conscious activity against his “antipode.” Instead of arguments about a “difficult and painful transition” to capitalism we would have had a theory that not only spoke of class contradictions but also really disclosed them in each form of “irrational” and “rational” production, and of “extensive” and “intensive” farming.

The results we reach from our examination of the first part of Chapter VI of Mr. Struve’s book, which is devoted to the “character of over-population in agrarian Russia,” can be formulated as follows: 1) Mr. Struve’s Malthusianism is   not supported by any factual data and is based on methodologically incorrect and dogmatic postulates. 2) Over-population in agrarian Russia is explained by the domination of capital and not by a lack of conformity between the increase in the population and the means of subsistence. 3) Mr. Struve’s thesis about the natural-economic character of over-population is only true in the sense that the survival of feudal relations holds back agricultural capital in forms that are undeveloped and are therefore particularly hard for the producer. 4) Mr. N. —on did not prove the capitalist character of over-population in Russia because he did not investigate the domination of capital in agriculture. 5) Mr. N. —on’s main error, repeated by Mr. Struve, is that he did not analyse the classes that come into being where bourgeois agriculture develops. 6) This ignoring of class contradictions by Mr. Struve naturally led to the fact that the quite correct thesis of the progressiveness and desirability of technical improvements was expressed in an extremely vague and unsatisfactory form.


[1] Actually, as has already been indicated, this machine could only serve the bourgeoisie by virtue both of its composition and of its historical origin. —Lenin

[2] To speak the truth one should say: make it possible for part of the peasants to redeem part of their allotment land from the landlords at double the proper price. And even the words “make it possible” are no good, because the peasant who refused such “provision of an allotment” was faced with the threat of a flogging at the Volost Administration offices. —Lenin

[3] That is how it is formulated by Mr. Struve in his article in Sozialpolitisches Centralblatt (1893, No. 1 of October 2). He adds that he does not consider this view to be “Malthusian.” —Lenin

[4] And what can these “general investigations” consist of? If they ignore the specific economic formations of human society, they will be mere banalities. And if they are to embrace several formations, it is obvious that they must be preceded by specific investigations of each separate formation. —Lenin

[5] By the way, where have these “landless peasants” come from? Very likely, Lange imagines, they are not the left-avers of the serf system, or the product of the rule of capital, but the result of the fact that “the tendency towards voluntary birth-control has not firmly gripped the people’s morals” (p.157)? —Lenin

[6] That is to say, this argument is of no use whatever as an explanation of the ruin of the peasantry and of over-population, though the very fact of “insufficiency” is beyond argument, just as is its accentuation as a result of the growth of the population. What is needed is not a statement of the fact, but an explanation of its origin. —Lenin

[7] It is a known fact that our handicraft industries have grown and that a mass of new ones have appeared since the Reform. The theoretical explanation of this fact and of the capitalisation of other peasant industries is also known; it was given by Marx to explain the “creation of the home market for industrial capital” [Das Kapital, 2. Aufl., S. 776 u. ff.].[23]Lenin

[8] Incidentally. Observation of this fact very likely gave Lange an excuse to concoct an amendment to Marx’s theory, which he did not fully understand. When analysing this fact he should have made his starting-point the given (capitalist) mode of social production and followed its manifestation in agriculture; instead he took it into his head to invent all sorts of peculiarities in the “people’s morals.” —Lenin

[9] See, for example, Karyshev (Results of Zemstvo Statistical Investigations, Vol. II, p. 266)—reference in the Rostov-on-Don Uyezd Abstract to the gradual reduction in the peasant’s share in skopshchina.[24] Ibid. Chapter V, § 9—additional payments made in the form of labour by peasants engaged in share-cropping. —Lenin

[10] It will be dealt with in greater detail further on, taking the peasants and the landlords separately. —Lenin

[11] Mr. Yuzhakov in Russkoye Bogatstvo. —Lenin

[12] “The main defect of Mr. Golubev’s arguments in his fine articles is that he cannot rid himself of this fiction” (203). —Lenin

[13] “However desirable and necessary” it “may be,” adds Mr. N. —on. —Lenin

[14] See particularly § 4 of Chapter XXIV: “Genesis of the Capitalist Farmer.” Pp. 773-76.[25]Lenin

[15] Messrs. the Narodniks have another, very profound, method of covering up the roots of our industrial capitalism in “people’s production,” i.e., in “people’s” usury and kulakdom. The kulak takes his “savings” to the state bank; his deposits enable the bank, by basing itself on the growth of the people’s wealth, people’s savings, people’s enterprise, people’s solvency, to borrow money from the Englishman. The “state” directs the borrowed money to the aid of .—what a short-sighted policy! what deplorable ignoring of “modern science” and “modern moral ideas”!—...the capitalists. The question now arises: is it not clear that if the state directed this money (of the capitalists) not to capitalism but to “people’s production,”we here in Russia would have not capitalism but. “people’s production”! —Lenin

[16] It is customary in our literature to regard him as a Marxist. There is just as little grounds for that as there is for placing Mr. N. —on among the Marxists. Mr. A. Skvortsov is also unacquainted with the theory of the class struggle and the class character of the state. His practical proposals in his Economic Studies are no different from ordinary bourgeois proposals. He takes a far more sober view of Russian   reality than Messrs. the Narodniks do, bat then on those grounds alone B. Chicherin and many others should also he regarded as Marxists. —Lenin

[17] Mr. A. Skvortsov points out that by a country employing extensive agriculture a thinly-populated one is usually understood (footnote to page 439). He considers this a wrong definition and gives the following as the features of extensive farming: 1) considerable harvest fluctuations; 2) homogeneity of crops and 3) absence of home markets, i.e., of big towns where manufacturing industry is concentrated. —Lenin

[18] For such a country (with a population dense for the given level of economic efficiency) we must assume that, on the one hand, small surpluses, and, on the other, the population’s low educational level, force many farms into liquidation under the changed conditions” (442). —Lenin

[19] Its distinctive features are: 1) all the land is put under the plough; 2) fallow is eliminated as far as possible; 3) there is a regular succession of crops in the rotation; 4) cultivation is as thorough as possible; 5) cattle are kept in stalls. —Lenin

[20] See K. Marx, Capital, Vol. I, Moscow, 1959, p. 632. p. 453

[23] Lenin refers to Chapter XXX, Vol. I, Capital (Reaction of the Agricultural Revolution on Industry. Creation of the Home Market for Industrial Capital). (See K. Marx, Capital, Vol. I, Moscow, 1959. p. 745.) p. 463

[21] K. Marx, Capital, Vol. I, Moscow, 1959, p. 642. p. 464

[24] Skopshchina—the name given in the southern parts of Russia to a type of rent in kind, on terms of bondage, the tenant paying the landowner s kopny (from the corn-shock) a portion of the harvest (a half, and sometimes more), and usually fulfilling miscellaneous labour services in addition. p. 465

[22] See K. Marx, Capital, Vol. I, Moscow, 1959, p. 749, Footnote 2. p. 471

[25] K. Marx, Capital, Vol. I, Moscow, 1959, pp. 742-44. p. 472

  The Presentation of Economic Problems by the Narodniks and by Mr. Struve | II  

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