Monday, 12 September 2016

Capital III, Chapter 47 - Part 11

The products handed over are not just agricultural products, because such a situation implies a natural economy, in which there exists a combination of domestic industry with agricultural production. In fact, as productivity rises, the proportion of industrial products handed over in the rent rises. The landlord can only use so much in the way of agricultural products, whereas industrial products can not only be consumed, but are also more easily stored, as well as exchanged, and sold on expanding markets, in order to obtain both money and access to other commodities from foreign markets.

“In this form of rent it is by no means necessary for rent in kind, which represents the surplus-labour, to fully exhaust the entire surplus-labour of the rural family. Compared with labour rent, the producer rather has more room for action to gain time for surplus-labour whose product shall belong to himself, as well as the product of his labour which satisfies his indispensable needs. Similarly, this form will give rise to greater differences in the economic position of the individual direct producers. At least the possibility for such a differentiation exists, and the possibility for the direct producer to have in turn acquired the means to exploit other labourers directly.” (p 795-6)

This form of rent, along with a natural economy in which the peasant can exist, isolated from the market, by producing nearly all of their requirements, for themselves, is well suited to conditions that can remain stable for long periods, such as existed under the Asiatic Mode of Production.

“Here, as in the earlier form of labour rent, ground-rent is the normal form of surplus-value, and thus of surplus-labour, i.e., of the entire excess labour which the direct producer must perform gratis, hence actually under compulsion although this compulsion no longer confronts him in the old brutal form — for the benefit of the owner of his essential condition of labour, the land. The profit, if by erroneously anticipating we may thus call that portion of the direct producer’s labour excess over his necessary labour, which he retains for himself, has so little to do with determining rent in kind, that this profit, on the contrary, grows up behind the back of rent and finds its natural limit in the size of rent in kind. The latter may assume dimensions which seriously imperil reproduction of the conditions of labour, the means of production themselves, rendering the expansion of production more or less impossible and reducing the direct producers to the physical minimum of means of subsistence. This is particularly the case, when this form is met with and exploited by a conquering commercial nation, e.g., the English in India.” (p 796)

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