Monday, 12 April 2021

The Economic Content of Narodism, Chapter 4 - Part 12

Danielson forgets that an increase in productivity can only come from changes in agricultural techniques, Struve says. Its true that Danielson forgets that, Lenin says, but this fact only strengthens the argument in relation to the differentiation. Its only the richest peasants that can bring about such changes, and this simply exacerbates the plight of the poor peasants, who are, thereby, proletarianised. The poor peasants don't even have enough food, let alone the money required to introduce improved techniques. 

Danielson argues that increased productivity would compel competitors to reduce prices, but agricultural prices were set on the global market, so, as Struve says, for Danielson's argument to be valid, Russian agriculture would have to raise its productivity to a level higher than in Western Europe and North America. 

“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.” (p 471) 

There is no reason for Danielson to fear rising productivity, Struve says, but he does, because he can only envisage agricultural progress based upon extensive cultivation, and with machines also increasingly replacing workers. Struve's description of Danielson's fear, and its absurdity is correct, Lenin says, but does not deal with the basic error of Danielson's position. Danielson adopts the Marxist position of the progressive role of rising productivity in industry, but rejects it in relation to agriculture, even though the socio-economic consequences are the same. Lenin quotes Marx from Capital I, where he points to the fact that liberal capitalists and economists berated the old landed aristocracy, asking “where are our thousands of freeholders gone?”, to which the landlords could equally respond to the industrialists, “where are the independent weavers, spinners and artisans gone?”

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