Farmer John Q. Private

20 Oct 2013: Capital (Ch. 29, “The Genesis of the Capitalist Farmer,” 1867, Karl Marx)

This very brief chapter outlines how wealthy landowners came to dominate the agricultural landscape. Much of this, as already detailed, comes out of enclosures, expropriations and general seizures of property that bulked up their individual holdings, but it was cemented by a drop in the value of precious metals, i.e. money. This effectively lowered rents, which were based on old prices, along with lowering the effective price of labor, while the market price of agricultural commodities increased – a footnote explains how those who furnish their own goods for sale profit greatly from such shifts in prices, whereas those who require large outlays of capital for the means of production do not profit at the same level because they are bound to feel the price-shift on both sides. Upon the concluding sentence of the chapter, relating how these masters of agriculture rose to new heights of wealth and power, a lengthy footnote runs down the curse of the middle man, sucking out the “lion’s share” of the wealth in all societal positions.

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