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Do Farmers Exploit People?

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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 01 Nov 2003, 13:17
Ideology: Other
Forum Commissar
Post 08 Jun 2012, 05:09
According to the Marxist point of view do farmers who own their own land and capital but employ no one and simply sell their produce for how little or great amount they earn exploit people?
Loz
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Dec 2009, 23:17
Philosophized
Post 08 Jun 2012, 05:33
No. How could they exploit people?
In the Soviet Union kolkhozniks were allowed a small personal plot for growing their own produce and many people made extra money by going to towns and selling their personal surpluses there for higher prices.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Mar 2010, 01:20
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Forum Commissar
Post 08 Jun 2012, 07:10
Maybe not according to "Marxist theory" but charging excessive prices for something which a person needs (but can't get elsewhere) sounds pretty exploitative to me.

In that case though, it's got more to do with their trading activities rather than their farming directly.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 17 Oct 2009, 09:10
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Pioneer
Post 08 Jun 2012, 07:16
Quote:
farmers who own their own land and capital but employ no one


Such farmers are a small minority and hardly can affect the socio-economical state of society. I won't be worrying about them as in the larger scheme of things, they are irrelevant.
Mankind is divided into rich and poor, into property owners and exploited; and to abstract oneself from this fundamental division; and from the antagonism between poor and rich means abstracting oneself from fundamental facts.
Joseph Stalin
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Oct 2007, 23:49
Ideology: Social Democracy
Komsomol
Post 08 Jun 2012, 08:03
Loz wrote:
No. How could they exploit people?
In the Soviet Union kolkhozniks were allowed a small personal plot for growing their own produce and many people made extra money by going to towns and selling their personal surpluses there for higher prices.



I thought this was only during the NEP, and was reversed by Stalin?
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Loz
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Dec 2009, 23:17
Philosophized
Post 08 Jun 2012, 08:08
Quote:
I thought this was only during the NEP, and was reversed after Stalin and then reinstated during the late 50's?

No, you're wrong.
Besides there was only a handful of kolkhozes during the NEP.
I can't think of a source in English but private plots did exist, and actually had an important role during the 30s.
Here's what Wikipedia says:

Quote:
Members of kolkhoz were allowed to hold a small area of private land and some animals. The size of the private plot varied over the Soviet period but was usually about 1 acre (0.40 ha). Before the Russian Revolution of 1917 a peasant with less than 13.5 acres (5.5 ha) was considered too poor to maintain a family.[7] However, the productivity of such plots is reflected in the fact that in 1938 3.9 percent of total sown land was in the form of private plots, but in 1937 those plots produced 21.5 percent of gross agriculture output.[8]

Members of the kolkhoz were required to do a minimum number of days work per year on both the kolkhoz and on other government work such as road building. In one kolkhoz the requirements were a minimum of 130 days a year for each able-bodied adult and 50 days per boy aged between 12 and 16. That was distributed around the year according to the agricultural cycle.[9] If kolkhoz members did not perform the required minimum of work, the penalties could involve confiscation of the farmer's private plot, a trial in front of a People's Court that could result in three to eight months of hard labour on the kolkhoz, or up to one year in a corrective labor camp.[10]
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 13 Feb 2008, 15:25
Ideology: Other Leftist
Politburo
Post 08 Jun 2012, 18:07
fuser wrote:
Such farmers are a small minority and hardly can affect the socio-economical state of society. I won't be worrying about them as in the larger scheme of things, they are irrelevant.


This. I hate to take the wind out of your sails PI, but I think your thread title is a bit misleading, at least in the case of the Western world. Every major farm I've ever been on employs people and is thus exploitative - some worse than others. I've been on family run hobby farms, but they are just that. They aren't intended to be a main source of income or even to make a tangible profit.

Putting that aside, many farmers here in Australia get a pretty raw deal. They don't get the subsidies from the government European and U.S. farmers do, and see little of the selling price of their produce. The super markets and intermediaries get the lion share. I think that farmers almost fit into their own social category. They are not working class, but not bourgeoisie either. In fact, they get exploited by the later. I guess you could call them petit bourgeoisie, but I'm not sure this is good enough to describe their position in Capitalism. Farmers and the working class, at least here, have more in common than they don't in my estimation.
Loz
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Dec 2009, 23:17
Philosophized
Post 08 Jun 2012, 18:12
Individual farmers are an atavism anyway and it can be assumed that they will gradually disappear, except for wine-producers and such and get replaced by huge agro-conglomerates. Obviously it would be much easier to set up a socialist agriculture on such foundations.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 16 Feb 2005, 02:51
Party Bureaucrat
Post 09 Jun 2012, 01:52
Yes, industrialisation pushes agriculture towards centralisation, Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath and depicts the process very nicely, large capital allow conglomerates to acquire far larger tracts land than can be achieved by individual farmers, and increased land area allows for complete mechanisation and application of chemicals in large quantity, achieving greater productivity than what is possible under traditional methods. Self employed small producers do eventually become economically insignificant.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Aug 2010, 14:21
Party Bureaucrat
Post 09 Jun 2012, 02:28
Quote:
Maybe not according to "Marxist theory" but charging excessive prices for something which a person needs (but can't get elsewhere) sounds pretty exploitative to me.

It seems pretty Marxist to me. What is value? It is a derivative of work, isn't it? Then, if the farmer needs one hour of work to produce his marchandise, and sells it twice the price of his work, that is to say, for example, 2 hours of labor of a manufactory worker, then this is clearly exploitation. And this kind of exploitation is the most primitive shape of capitalism.
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"Fishing is part of agriculture" Gred
"Loz, you are like me" Yami
"I am one of the better read Marxists on this site" Gred
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Mar 2010, 01:20
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Forum Commissar
Post 10 Jun 2012, 03:47
OP-Bagration wrote:
It seems pretty Marxist to me.
Maybe I'm getting my definitions a little mixed up.
Thanks for clarifying.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 26 Jun 2006, 15:59
Ideology: Other Leftist
Party Bureaucrat
Post 11 Jun 2012, 15:28
Quote:
charging excessive prices for something which a person needs (but can't get elsewhere) sounds pretty exploitative to me.


How can a farmer do this? If I don't like his price for wheat I can buy it from one of his millions of competitors. Farmers produce generic commodities and as such are unable to exploit any concentrated market structure for their own benefit.

It is possible to accumulate value through trade but not in a highly competitive market. Food crops are actually one of the most highly competitive markets you find in the real ecnomy.
The moment one accepts the notion of 'totalitarianism', one is firmly locked within the liberal-democratic horizon. - Slavoj Žižek
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Aug 2010, 14:21
Party Bureaucrat
Post 11 Jun 2012, 20:58
This is a typical capitalist point of view: if you don't like the price, just go elsewhere. But it doesn't work like that. Farmers don't set their prices freely, they have a class interest. During the French Revolution for example, the revolutionaries had to set the "maximum général" :
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_maximum
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"Fishing is part of agriculture" Gred
"Loz, you are like me" Yami
"I am one of the better read Marxists on this site" Gred
Soviet cogitations: 3448
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 26 Jun 2006, 15:59
Ideology: Other Leftist
Party Bureaucrat
Post 11 Jun 2012, 23:31
Farmers don't set prices at all, markets do. A farmer can't charge a price above the market equilibrium because if he did he would lose out to competitors who sell at a lower price.

Price gouging is only possible in a highly uncompetitive market (such as a monopoly, cartel, oligopoly) or in the short-run (usually in response to sudden shocks) before new competitors enter the market and drive the price down.

Production of most food crops has a low barrier to entry (grains, most livestock, etc.) and as such is a highly competitive market, with prices adjusting quickly. There are some food crops where this is not the case (such as with the production of certain fruits, which require a considerable investment as it can be decades before land put to this purpose is producing economically. Such industries are dominated by the big bourgeois oligopolies though, nothing to do with small farmers who employ no labour.
The moment one accepts the notion of 'totalitarianism', one is firmly locked within the liberal-democratic horizon. - Slavoj Žižek
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