Consolidated Agribusinesses, Incorporated

20 Oct 2013: Capital (Ch. 30, “Impact of the Agricultural Revolution on Industry. The Creation of a Home Market for Industrial Capital,” 1867, Karl Marx)

Another brief and somewhat reiterative chapter, emphasizing the awareness that newer large farms or manufactures should properly, historically be viewed as combinations of pre-existing properties or businesses. A lengthy quote from a French writer Mirabeau details this in opining that things are far more effective or at least spiritually satisfying for the workers and the consumers in an economy where people have a more personal stake in what they do, though Marx disagrees as to the effective productivity of Mirabeau’s preferred system of independent producers in a footnote. By virtue – or lack thereof, perhaps – of expropriating the populace from their ordinary means of direct subsistence (i.e. living off the land), capital (or pre-capital) creates a large base of consumers now dependent on the products of larger-scale agriculture. Poorer and unable to produce such needed goods themselves, they are now forced to buy them from the industrial farmers, thereby enriching the very people who banished their erstwhile independence. Marx notes that even as manufactures grew in towns, independent farmers were never eliminated entirely from the landscape – people working for wages would take on small auxiliary tasks for additional income to supplement their regular jobs. Shifts in demand would cause land usage to vacillate between cattle-breeding and crop-growing, and so at times (even in the historical trend toward capital buildup) peasants would resurface, only to perish entirely with large-scale machinery.

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