Vladimir Ilyich Lenin


Chapter VI. Capitalist Manufacture and Capitalist Domestic Industry

IV. The Territorial Division of Labour and the Separation of Agriculture From Industry

Directly connected with division of labour in general is, as has been noted, territorial division of labour – the specialisation of certain districts in the production of some one product, of one sort of product and even of a certain part of a product. The predominance of hand production, the existence of a mass of small establishments, the preservation of the worker’s connection with the land, the tying of the craftsman to a given trade, – all this inevitably gives rise to the seclusion of the different industrial districts of manufacture; sometimes this local seclusion amounts to complete isolation from the rest of the world,[1] with which only the merchant masters have dealings.

In the following effusion Mr. Kharizomenov underrates the significance of the territorial division of labour: “The vast distances of the Empire go hand in hand with sharp differences of natural conditions: one locality is rich in timber and wild animals, another in cattle, while a third abounds in clay or iron. These natural features determined the character of industry. The great distances and inconveniences of communication made the transport of raw materials impossible, or extremely costly. As a result, industry had necessarily to nestle where an abundance of raw material was close at hand. Hence the characteristic feature of our industry – the specialisation of commodity production in large and compact areas” (Yuridichesky Vestnik, loc. cit., p. 440).

Territorial division of labour is not a characteristic feature of our industry, but of manufacture (both in Russia and in other countries); the small industries did not produce such extensive districts, while the factory broke down their seclusion and facilitated the transfer of establishments and masses of workers to other places. Manufacture not only creates compact areas, but introduces specialisation within these areas (division of labour as to wares). The availability of raw materials in the given locality is not at all essential for manufacture, and is hardly even usual for it, for manufacture presupposes fairly wide commercial intercourse.[2]

Connected with the above-described features of manufacture is the circumstance that this stage of capitalist evolution is marked by a specific form of separation of agriculture from industry. It is no longer the peasant who is the most typical industrialist, but the non-farming “artisan” (and at the other pole – the merchant and the workshop owner). In most cases (as we have seen) the industries organised on the lines of manufacture have non-agricultural centres: either towns or (much more often) villages, whose inhabitants hardly engage in agriculture at all, and which should be classed as settlements of a commercial and industrial character. The separation of industry from agriculture is here deeply rooted in the technique of manufacture, in its economy, and in the peculiarities of its way of life (or culture). Technique ties the worker to one trade and therefore, on the one hand, renders him unfit for agriculture (physically weak, etc.), and, on the other, demands continuous and long pursuit of the craft. The economic structure of manufacture is characterised by a far deeper differentiation among the industrialists than is the case in the small industries; and we have seen that in the small industries, differentiation in industry is paralleled by differentiation in agriculture. With the utter pauperisation of the mass of producers, which is a condition and a consequence of manufacture, its working personnel cannot be recruited from among farmers who are at all economically sound. Among the cultural peculiarities of manufacture are, firstly, the very lengthy (sometimes age-old) existence of the industry, which leaves its impress upon the population; and secondly, the higher standard of living of the population.[3] We shall deal with the latter circumstance in greater detail further on, but first let us note that manufacture does not bring about the complete separation of industry from agriculture. Under hand technique the big establishments cannot eliminate the small ones completely, especially if the small handicraftsmen lengthen their working day and reduce the level of their requirements: under such conditions, manufacture, as we have seen, even develops the small industries. It is natural, therefore, that in the majority of cases we see around the non-agricultural centre of manufacture a whole region of agricultural settlements, the inhabitants of which also engage in industries. Hence, in this respect, too, we find clearly revealed the transitional character of manufacture between small hand production and the factory. If even in the West the manufacturing period of capitalism could not bring about the complete separation of the industrial workers from agriculture,[4] in Russia, with the preservation of many institutions that tie the peasants to the land, such separation could not but be retarded. Therefore, we repeat, what is most typical of Russian capitalist manufacture is the non-agricultural centre which attracts the population of the surrounding villages – the inhabitants of which are semi-agriculturists and semi-industrialists – and dominates these villages.

Particularly noteworthy in this connection is the fact of the higher cultural level of the population of such non-agricultural centres. A higher degree of literacy, a considerably higher standard of requirements and life, vigorous dissociation from the “rawness” of “native village soil” – such are the usual distinguishing features of the inhabitants of such centres.[5] One can understand the enormous significance of this fact, which clearly demonstrates the progressive historical role of capitalism, and moreover of purely “people’s” capitalism, which even the most ardent Narodnik would scarcely dare characterise as “artificial,” since the overwhelming majority of the centres described are usually classified under the heading of “handicraft” industry! The transitional character of manufacture is revealed here too, since it merely begins the transformation of the mentality of the population, and only large-scale machine industry completes it.


[1] The squirrel-fur industry in Kargopol Uyezd, the wooden spoon industry in Semyonov Uyezd.—Lenin

[2] Imported (i.e., not local) raw material is used in the weaving industries, the Pavlovo and Gzhel industries, the Perm leather industries, and many others (cf. Studies, pp. 122-124). (See present edition, Vol. 2, The Handicraft Census of 1894-95 in Perm Gubernia. –Ed.)—Lenin

[3] Mr. V. V. in his Essays on Handicraft Industry, assures us that “in our country . . . there are very few localities of handicraft industry where agriculture has been entirely abandoned” (36) – we have shown above that, on the contrary, there are very many – and that “the slight manifestations of division of labour that we observe in our country must be ascribed not so much to the energy of industrial progress as to the immobility of the size of peasant holdings. . . ” (40). Mr. V. V. fails to notice that these “localities of handicraft industry” are distinguished by a special system of technique, economy and culture, and that they characterise a specific stage in the development of capitalism. The important thing is that the majority of “industrial villages” received the “smallest allotments” (39) – (in 1861, after their industrial life had proceeded for scores and in some cases hundreds of years!) – and of course, had there not been this connivance of the authorities there would have been no capitalism.—Lenin

[4] Das Kapital, I2, 779-780.[6]Lenin

[5] The importance of this fact impels us to supplement the data given in § II with the following. Buturlinovka settlement, Bobrov Uyezd, Voronezh Gubernia, is one of the centres of leather production. There are 3,681 households, of which 2,383 do not engage in agriculture. Population over 21,000. Households with literate persons constitute 53%, as against 38% for the uyezd (Zemstvo statistical returns for Bobrov Uyezd). Pokrovskaya settlement and Balakovo village, Samara Gubernia, each have over 15,000 inhabitants, of whom very many are from outside. Non-farming households – 50% and 42%. Literacy is above average. The statistical materials state that the commercial and industrial villages in general are distinguished for their higher literacy and the “mass-scale appearance of non-farming households” (Zemstvo statistical returns for Novouzensk and Nikolayevgk uyezds). Regarding the higher cultural level of “handicraftsmen” cf. additionally Transactions of the Handicraft Commission, III, p. 42; VII, p. 914; Smirnov, loc. cit., p. 59; Grigoryev, loc. cit., p. 106 and foll.: Annensky, loc. cit., p. 61, Nizhni-Novgorod Handbook, Vol. II, pp. 223-239; Reports and Investigations, II, p. 243; III, 151. Then Industries of Vladimir Gubernia, III, p. 109, giving a lively account of the conversation of the investigator, Mr. Kharizomenov, with his driver, a silk-weaver. This weaver strongly and bitterly declaimed against the “drab” life of the peasants, the scantiness of their requirements, their backwardness, etc., and wound up with the exclamation: “Good Lord, to think what these people live for!” It has long been observed that what the Russian peasant is poorest in is consciousness of his own poverty. Of the artisan in the capitalist manufactory (not to mention the factory), it must be said that in this respect he is, comparatively speaking, very rich.—Lenin

[6] Karl Marx, Capital, Vol. I, Moscow, 1958, pp. 747-749. [p. 434]

  III. Technique in Manufacture. Division of Labour and its Significance | V. The Economic Structure of Manufacture  

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