The basic ideas put forth in this book are not completely new to the reader of economic literature. The author first expounded some of them in 1912, i.e., more than ten years ago; others were gradually formed mi the course of research and were published in various articles and other works. Finally, in 1922 and 1923, the author had the opportunity to bring them together, with the addition of some work on problems not hitherto analyzed, and to publish them, in German in the first instance, in the form of a certain coherent whole.1
As is known, the theory evoked many critical notes and articles. These have been particularly abundant of recent years when a whole cluster of economists—Litoshenko, Prokopovich, Kritsman, Brutskus, Dubrovskii, Manuilov, Kondrat'ev, Bazykin, and others—have attempted to question many of the arguments.
Such a variety of critics, and the fierceness of the criticism itself, has shown us that the theory has achieved a certain maturity. I and my colleagues in this trend of economic thought no longer have to suffer from having our theories ignored; we must try in every way to defend our arguments, drawing up our formulations with the help of this varied criticism, rejecting elements that have been found wanting, amending and adding to that which has shown itself sound and correct in our theory.
Unfortunately, our critics for the most part used our early works for their analyses, and sometimes even simply popular pamphlets, which had been written with the necessary simplification and crude schematization. Due to this, the criticism contains many misunderstandings. This circumstance obliges us to proceed apace with the publication of this work, and to consider that its formulations and arguments alone correspond to the present state of the theory. All earlier works can be regarded as preparatory phases in this respect, of interest only as regards the theory's origins.
i A. Tschajanoff, Die Lehre von der bäuerlichen Wirtschaft (Berlin: P. Parey, 1923).
34 THE THEORY OF PEASANT ECONOMY
In a very extended Introduction to this book, the author deals in detail with the more important criticisms and tries to remove the often very unfortunate misunderstandings that have arisen. With the publication of the present text, all other "criticism" of itself misses the mark.
The German text of this work, compared with the author's earlier works, contained completely new chapters on the relationship of land, capital, and the family, on capital circulation on the peasant farm, and on the consequences for the national economy which follow from the nature of the peasant farm.
In the present Russian edition, an extensive chapter on the peasant farm's organizational plan and an Introduction have been added, the last chapters have been considerably extended, and the whole text has been reedited.
The author feels obliged to express his deep gratitude to Professors L. Bortkiewic, E. Laur, A. Weber, M. Sering, O. Auhagen, as well as to his German translator Fr. Schlömer, for numerous criticisms that the author has considered in working on the Russian text.
Barvikha, Moscow River Summer, 1924
For many decades now, peasant farming has been the subject of careful and detailed study. This study has more than once led to sharp arguments and divergent currents of economic thought. One might think it would be impossible to find any other theme in Russian economic literature to which has been devoted such an immeasurable quantity of books and pamphlets with varied approaches to the problem and very different trends of thought.
Therefore, in coming forward with a new work on the peasant farm it is absolutely essential to orient oneself with regard to all theories that formerly existed and problems that have been posed, and to determine as strictly as possible one's tasks and method of work. If this is not done, it will be difficult to avoid unfortunate misunderstandings and quite incorrect interpretations of the results obtained.
These precautions were ignored by those who carried out research on the school of thought to which the author belongs. As a result, before beginning an exposition of the results of his work, which has extended over many years, he must expend no small effort to prove the mere right of the school to exist, and must spend no little time on exactly formulating the methodological bases of his work, a common understanding of which is the only thing that will give the author, his critics, and the reader the opportunity of speaking the same language.
The current of Russian economic thought, which has, not entirely happily, been called the Organization and Production School and to which belong A. N. Chelintsev, N. P. Makarov, A. A. Rybnikov, A. N. Minin, G. A. Studenskii, the author, and others, was formed not long before the war and was brought forth by those deep social and economic changes observed in the life of our countryside after the 1905 revolution.
Prior to this period, people approached the study of peasant farming solely from the standpoint of the level of national economic development that then existed, as a seminatural, elemental feature in the economy; they were interested in it as a source for tax collection, as an internal market for the products of the urban industry which was to be encouraged, or as an inexhaustible source of cheap labor to be sent to the towns by the social strata in the countryside which were
36 THE THEORY OF PEASANT ECONOMY
being proletarianized. On the other hand, some students of social and political thought, who wanted to find in the roots of country life elements capable of resisting the threatening "calamity of capitalism," studied the peasant commune and the forms of day-to-day labor gangs, attempting to discover in them the defense they were seeking. However, this populist research, too, set itself social and economic problems. It was precisely on this plane that the whole well-known populist and Marxist argument about the fate of agriculture, the development of capitalism in it, and the differentiation and proletarianization of the peasants arose and was carried on. And, we repeat, it was impossible even to expect other approaches to the peasantry at that time.
Matters gradually begin to change in that a radical turning point is observed at the grass roots of our agriculture and, indeed, of the whole economy at the beginning of this century. The world market situation shifted favorably for agriculture. In Russia, an internal market for agricultural produce was formed, thanks to the development of industry; market relations and the commodity nature of peasant farming rapidly developed; trading capitalism grew rapidly; the cooperative movement grew without restraint; all bodies assisting agriculture and, in particular, groups offering agricultural advice to the population continually increased. All this, which appeared completely unnoticed in the form of every sort of "experiment," "initiative," and "interesting phenomenon," grew quantitatively more and more each year, and became a mass phenomenon. By the start of the war, our countryside qualitatively bore little resemblance to the countryside of the last century. It is self-evident that later, in the Soviet period of our history, all these processes went still further, and the gulf between new and old became still wider.
What was particularly important in this exceedingly deep historical process, for us at the present moment, was that many thousands of agricultural officers and cooperative workers appeared in the depths of the countryside. They not only observed and studied, but in their professional work were obliged to organize peasant farming, to enter in detail into the basis of its organizational plan, to seek and find ways to change it, and to build a new Russian countryside by means of their molecular work.
Of course, in this work, completely new for all Russian society, the agricultural officers and cooperative workers were frequently in the dark and often confused. A great number of half-technical, half-economic problems faced them—problems not envisaged by any book
and not yet reviewed by any learned school. Recording the profitability of chemical fertilizers in the conditions of the Russian countryside, rates of payment for fodder, the normal composition of the herd, the advantages of one or another crop rotation, the economic evaluation of various systems of feed-getting, the basis of petty credit, labor organization on the farm, the limits for the use of agricultural machinery, and many more in which techniques and economics intermingled in the most varied combinations—all these questions were very pressing. Without some solution or other, even a somewhat crude one, the continuation of agricultural advisory work itself became unthinkable.
It is, therefore, not surprising that in the most varied corners of the country all sorts of authors began to solve different organizational problems of agricultural production. One has only to read articles in local agricultural journals, the minutes of debates at uezd and guberniya meetings of agricultural officers, reports of agricultural officers, and statistical handbooks of the portentous years of the second decade of our century to see clearly the subsoil of the Organization and Production School in economic thought. The authors with whose names this school is linked, mostly agricultural officers, partly cooperative workers and statisticians, first met personally, if I am not mistaken, at the 1911 Moscow Oblast Agriculture Congress, and from that year the school of thought itself gradually crystallized out in the course of fierce internal polemics. The Khar'kov Agricultural Journal, edited by K. A. Matseevich, was the main citadel of the school; here, N. N. Sukhanov and P. P. Maslov worked together with the adherents of the school. The secretary, if I am not mistaken, was M. A. Larin.
Recently, for some reason, it has been commonly considered that the scientific research work of the Organization and Production School amounts to the construction of a particular peasant farm theory. This is one of the deepest delusions. In answering the practical demands of agricultural officers and cooperative workers, our group has worked out a wide range of topics:
1. Methods of agricultural regionalization.
2. Use of railway transport statistics to give a description of regions.
3. Bookkeeping analysis for peasant farms.
4. Methods of research on budgets and by means of questionnaires.
5. A minute study of special crops and cottage crafts.
6. Analysis of the work of petty credit institutions.
7. Monograph descriptions of the butter, potato, flax, and milk cooperatives.
38 THE THEORY OF PEASANT ECONOMY
8. Study of the evolution of agricultural organization forms.
9. The basis of water management on irrigated lands.
10. Establishment of the optimal sizes for agricultural undertakings.
11. Methods of technical accounting for agricultural production.
12. The theory of agricultural cooperation.
13. Methods of agricultural assistance to the population.
Such is a far from complete roundup of the topics elucidated in the works of A. N. Chelintsev, N. P. Makarov, A. A. Rybnikov, and other authors belonging to this school.
Peasant farm theory was but one of these topics. True, it was perhaps the most controversial, since all the other work has not usually encountered criticism. Nonetheless, in accordance with the subject of the present work we should leave aside all the other researches of this school and focus our attention on its theory of peasant farm organization.
The problem of the theoretical foundations of peasant farm organization gradually emerged in the heat of practical work in agricultural advice and cooperation, and was initially posed in the form of numerous isolated doubts and consideration of individual organizational problems.
Two streams of research work have merged to form our views.
1. An enormous quantity of empirical material on problems of peasant farm organization, obtained partly by work on zemstvo and state statistics, partly by independent researches, mostly on budgets, was gradually accumulated. Simple inductive generalization of this material has led to a whole series of incontestable empirical conclusions which, as the reader will see from subsequent chapters, forms two thirds of the contents of the present book.
2. Numerous facts and dependent relationships that did not fit into the framework of the usual conception of the organizational basis of private economic undertakings and that demanded some special interpretation have been established, also empirically. At first, special explanations and interpretations were given separately in each specific instance. But this introduced into the usual theory of the private economic undertaking such a number of complications that, finally, it seemed more convenient to generalize them and to construct a separate theory of the family undertaking working for itself, differing somewhat in the nature of its motivation from an undertaking organized on the basis of hired labor. This hypothesis freed the theoretical analysis of peasant farm organization from numerous corrections, exceptions, and complications, and allowed us to construct a
more or less harmonious, logical generalization of the whole empirical material.
Thus it was that a "particular understanding of the nature of the peasant farm" was created; many unfortunate misunderstandings are connected with it. Since only the second of these two sources of our views on peasant farm organization is of methodological and theoretical interest, we shall try to illuminate these stages in as much detail, and as concretely, as possible.
The chief facts and empirical dependent relationships which called attention to the peculiarities in peasant farm organization and which are of decisive significance for the development of the theory may be summed up as follows.
1. At the end of the last century, Kirsanov, a Perm' agricultural officer engaged in the popularization of improved equipment among the peasants, came up against extreme difficulties in popularizing the threshing machine, despite its great advantage when calculated in bookkeeping terms. He saw the chief cause of this failure in that, in this instance, the labor displaced by the machine was unable to be used on other tasks in winter in Perm' guberniya. Thanks to this, the undoubted reduction in output costs here came up against the fact that the introduction of an improved and advantageous machine not only failed to increase the total amount of the peasant's income, but also reduced it by the amount of the machine's annual depreciation. If by analogy with the organizational basis of the usual private undertaking we consider that the peasant farm is an undertaking in which entrepreneur and worker are combined in a single person, in this case the benefit to the peasant as entrepreneur is entirely canceled out by his losses as a hired worker obliged to lengthen his seasonal unemployment.
2. Not long before the 1904 revolution, the Kiev professor, V. Kos-sinskii, wrote a fat book, On the Agrarian Problem. In it, he showed with very great care and extensive material that the rents paid by peasants for arable land leased from private owners were considerably higher than the net profit that might be obtained with capitalist exploitation of these same lands. About the same time, P. P. Maslov noted this circumstance in the first volume of his Agrarian Problem. He established the concept of "consumer rent," in which land-hungry peasants, under pressure from consumption needs and avoiding forced unemployment, pay not only economic rent and total net income for the leased land but also a considerable part of their wages. In this instance again, the peasant's interests as a worker distressed by
40 THE THEORY OF PEASANT ECONOMY
unemployment on his farm prevail over his interests as an entrepreneur. Subsequently, it was shown that the pecularity noted applied not only to rent payments but also to land prices paid by peasants in amounts considerably exceeding the capitalized economic rent.
3. In analyzing the economic basis of peasant flax- and potato-growing, an explanation similar to the case of produce rents should have been given. Empirical materials collected on these labor-intensive crops have shown that frequently—compared with oats, for example—they give a very small net profit according to bookkeeping analysis and, therefore, are hardly ever widespread on private landowners' and large-scale peasant farms. The land-hungry peasants, though, proportionately losing some net profit, grow them quite widely, since this gives them the opportunity to increase the amount of labor they expend on their farms and to reduce seasonal unemployment.
4. Budget studies in Vologda, Voronezh, and a number of other gu-berniyas have shown us an inverse dependence between amount of land held and size of income from crafts and trades. The smaller the area of land for use, the greater the volume of craft and trades activity. Moreover, it is interesting that the total income from farming, crafts, and trades taken together, while not constant for those sowing different acreages, is, at any rate, more constant than income from crafts and trades and agricultural income taken separately. In other words, when our peasant as worker-entrepreneur is not in a position to develop an adequate sale of his labor on his own farm and to get for himself what he considers sufficient earnings, he temporarily abandons his undertaking and simply converts himself into a worker who resorts to someone else's undertaking, thus saving himself from unemployment in his own.
5. In one of his works in A. F. Fortunatov's seminar, Professor N. P. Nikitin succeeded in establishing that in Russia, unlike in England, wages were not directly but inversely proportional to the price of bread. Since bread prices were determined by the harvest, the natural explanation of this phenomenon was that in years of harvest failure and, consequently, of high prices the peasants as worker-entrepreneurs, unable to make ends meet by means of their own farming activities, threw themselves as workers onto the labor market and reduced wages by the mass influx of offers of working hands.
6. An analysis of budget materials for small-scale peasant farms in Switzerland and in Vologda, Moscow, Khar'kov, Novgorod, and Tambov guberniyas has established without any doubt that the peasant family labor force is far from fully utilized, and not at one degree of
intensity. The level of gross productivity of this labor to a great extent influences the level of this self-exploitation.
Thus, for example, if as a result of an improvement in the market situation or a more advantageous location of a farm each labor unit begins to give greater earnings, the total earnings of the farm will increase, of course, but not at the speed at which the productivity of a labor unit increases; consequently, the number of labor units sold falls. This is also confirmed by direct observations. In this case, the peasant as worker, having made use of the favorable situation of the farm and his unearned income, obliges the peasant as entrepreneur to offer him better labor conditions in the sense of a reduced working year, despite the natural tendency of the entrepreneur to extend the scope of his economic activity to make use of a favorable market situation.
This list of peasant farm violations of entrepreneurial rules may be considerably expanded, as the reader will see in subsequent chapters. The latest investigators have shown that they are all particularly vividly expressed in areas of agrarian overpopulation; these materials also served us for our first works. However, in view of the mass nature of agrarian overpopulation, the phenomena which have been noted are equally widespread and can give sufficient material for study.
As is seen from our incidental analysis, all these instances can be interpreted with the aid of the categories of the capitalist farm based on hired labor. To do this, however, we have to create an exceedingly doubtful concept; we must unite in the peasant both the entrepreneur capitalist and the worker he is exploiting—the worker who is subject to chronic unemployment and who obliges his master, in the name of his worker interests, to break up his farm and behave disadvantageous^ from an entrepreneurial viewpoint. It is possible that this fiction ought, in fact, to be preserved in the interests of the monism of economic thought, as was indicated, for example, by Professor A. Weber during a conversation I had with him concerning the German edition of this book.
To me personally, however, this seems too strained and artificial, and, moreover, in practice will rather confuse than explain the facts that have been observed. Therefore, I am more inclined to use another hypothesis to explain theoretically the organizational peculiarities that have been observed—a hypothesis based on the concept of the peasant farm as a family labor farm in which the family as a result of its year's labor receives a single labor income and weighs its efforts against the material results obtained.
42 THE THEORY OF PEASANT ECONOMY
In other words, we take the motivation of the peasant's economic activity not as that of an entrepreneur who as a result of investment of his capital receives the difference between gross income and production overheads, but rather as the motivation of the worker on a peculiar piece-rate system which allows him alone to determine the time and intensity of his work. The whole originality of our theory of peasant farm organization is, in essence, included in this modest prerequisite, since all other conclusions and constructions follow in strict logic from this basic premise and bind all the empirical material into a fairly harmonious system.
The whole key to the problem is in the confrontation of these two hypotheses. We ought to accept either the concept of the fictive twofold nature of the peasant, uniting in his person both worker and entrepreneur, or the concept of the family farm, with work motivation analogous to that of the piece-rate system. No third possibility is offered.
We have chosen the second as a hypothesis that is less fictive and more simply explains all the phenomena observed. Moreover, a certain extension of the theoretical statement of the peasant farm problem has influenced our choice to a considerable extent.
The concept of the peasant farm as an entrepreneurial one in which the head of the farm hires himself as a worker is conceivable only in a capitalist system, since it consists entirely of capitalist categories. The peasant farm as an organizational form, however—and at the moment, that is all that interests us—is also completely conceivable in other systems of national economy—namely, serf feudal or peasant and artisan countries and, finally, purely natural economy, i.e., economic systems in which the categories of hired labor and wages are logically, if not historically, completely absent.
In accordance with this, if we wish to have a single organizational concept of the peasant labor farm independent of the economic system into which it enters we ought inevitably to base our understanding of its organizational essence on family labor.
It is self-evident that for each system of the economy and even for each phase of its development the part played by peasant farms in the national economy, the interrelationship of these farms with other types of economic units and the interrelationships and struggle of the peasantry as a class with other coexisting classes, and, finally, the way in which they participate and share in the distribution of the national income will vary to a great extent. Yet, the organizational shape of the basic cell, the peasant family labor farm, will remain the
same, always changing in particular features and adapting to the circumstances surrounding the national economy, as long as the peasant farm exists as such, of course, and has not begun to be reconstructed into other organizational forms.
Such is the genesis and such the essence of our theory of the peasant farm as views on one of the organizational forms of private economic undertakings.
So far, I am claiming only what I have expounded and nothing more—only the particular chapter from the course on farm organization, the celebrated German Betriebslehre.
And those critics are quite incorrect who, not understanding the modesty of our intentions (and for this we also are guilty through some excessively bombastic phrases in our early works), accuse us of exceedingly bold attempts from which we ourselves are quite far removed. The criticisms that usually accompany the development of the Organization and Production School, if they are not to be considered random, are usually based on misunderstandings that naturally disappear on detailed acquaintance with a really systematic work. They usually amount to five serious accusations. We shall list them all.
1. They point out to us that the Organization and Production School treats the peasant farm statically and surveys it in isolation from the surrounding social and economic historical reality. After the latest Marxist and other works, this is naive and cruelly incorrect.
2. The Organization and Production School does not use Marxist method and is, in essence, an offspring of the Austrian marginal utility school.
3. At the present time, the peasant labor farm we have described, with its noble labor motivation, is not found in nature. The whole of the peasantry is agitated by entrepreneurial activity, and the capitalist farming type of organization is the proximate stage of our agriculture; therefore, it is not of practical interest to study outmoded forms.
4. The Organization and Production School completely ignores the fact that the peasant farm has been drawn into the worldwide capitalist economic system, is struggling with it, and of itself is not a homogeneous, ideological, sweet little collection of patriarchal labor farms, but is a series of differentiated groups carrying on a fierce struggle with one another.
5. The Organization and Production School idealizes the pulverized peasant farms imbued with the petty bourgeois spirit, hammers out their ideology, and thus supports reactionary, precapitalist forms of the economy.
It is exceedingly simple to show that all these accusations are incor
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rect and based on the crudest misunderstandings. We shall try to review each one separately.
1. If we were to set ourselves the task of analyzing the peasant farm as a national economy phenomenon, we would undoubtedly have to review it dynamically in connection with the historical setting in which it exists and to do it as a historical, and not as a logical, category.
We have not yet set ourselves this task. We are not concerned with the fate of the peasant farm, nor its historical and national economy conception, nor even with the historical development of economic systems. Our task is incommensurably more modest. We simply aim at understanding what the peasant farm is from an organizational viewpoint: What is the morphology of the production machine called the peasant labor farm? We are interested in how the proportional nature of the parts is achieved in this machine, how the organizational equilibrium is achieved, what are the mechanics of the circulation and replacement of capital in a private economic sense, what are the methods for determining the degree of satisfaction and profit, and what are the ways it reacts to the influences of the external natural and economic factors we have taken as given.
In all this, we are interested not in the system of the peasant farm and forms of organization in their historical development but, rather, in the mere mechanics of the organizational process. But this organizational analysis by its very nature ought to be static, just as the analysis of the construction of a compound steam locomotive or some turbogenerator is static.
They can tell us that morphological study is not needed for a national economic understanding of the peasant farm and that this is the task, not of an economist, but of a technologist. We will not argue, and agree beforehand to be called agricultural officers; but, to our mind, a static organizational and agricultural study of the peasant farm is just as essential to understand at the level of the national economy as is a dynamic study of it in the whole historically developing system of the economy.
Every science should include both dynamic and static elements. In order to understand plant life, we should now study geobotany—the life of plant forms from excavated remains—acquaint ourselves with the theories of Darwin and de Vries, and study the whole chemistry of plant physiology. Yet, all this not merely permits, but also demands, an insistent and yet preliminary study of the anatomy of the plant cell and the morphology of, let us say, the leaf. Yet no one, of course, will
suspect a stem morphologist of deducing the laws governing the distribution of the Compositae in the botanical zones of Europe on the basis of an analysis of the cambial layer.
It is the same in economics. In the system of K. Marx, who can by no means be reproached with disdain for dynamics, numerous static elements and techniques of static analysis may be found. The theory of value, the morphology of capital circulation and of the processes of expanded and simple capital renewal are static and constructed by logical analysis in order to subsequently use them as a weapon for a historical, dynamic analysis of reality. In short, for the time being we are elaborating the morphological static elements of the science of peasant farms. And for this reason alone, they can not be contrasted with any other dynamic national economy concept of the peasant farm.
In their present form, these elements are exceedingly useful to agricultural officers and organizers in exactly the same way the statistically constructed courses on farm organization by Goltz, Waterstradt, and Aereboe are of use to the organizers of the large-scale German farms. In all probability, our morphological analysis will in the future serve as a very valuable tool for the dynamic analysis of the peasant farm in the full complexity of its historical setting.
In all instances—not many, it is true—when economists of the Organization and Production School have approached general economic problems they have always adopted a dynamic viewpoint. To be completely convinced that these books are constructed on a plane of doubly dynamic analysis, it suffices to read N. P. Makarov's The Peasant Farm and Its Evolution or A. A. Rybnikov's work on commercial flax-growing.
2. In our explanations regarding the first accusation, we have to some extent also replied to the second. Since the organizational analysis of the peasant farm production machine is our task, we inevitably ought to remain within the limits of static methods of organizational analysis. The methods of Marxist national economy analysis, however, have been elaborated and are applied to the practice, not of private economy, but of national economy research, and it is exceedingly difficult to transfer them to, for example, agricultural valuation surveys or bookkeeping, and equally to analysis of the organization of the undertaking.
Many Marxist methods long ago received general recognition and were organically included in the social sciences, and it would be exceedingly curious if we avoided them and approached peasant farm
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analysis as a national economy category. We think that in the next few years, on the basis of research into national economy problems, we will be able to explain to ourselves and to others what we will take up in our practical research work from the rich experience of Marxist methods.
Matters are a bit more complicated as regards the accusation of allegiance to the "Austrian house." This accusation, however, is personal rather than having anything to do with a school. Economists of the most varied general economic allegiances are included in the Organization and Production School as they are included, too, among its critics. I, for example, am completely unable to recall A. N. Chelin-tsev's views on the problem of value; I know only that he is a vehement opponent of the law of diminishing returns. No line written by N. P. Makarov, nor A. A. Rybnikov, still less by A. N. Minin affords a basis for suspecting them of the Austrian sin.
Expressions such as "subjective evaluation," "marginal labor expenditure," and even "the utility of the worker's marginal ruble of earnings" are to be found in the works of the present author and even, in fact, in the present book. Here, it is difficult to make a disavowal. I nevertheless consider this accusation incorrect and, to use the words of a French prisoner: "Being a murderer I don't at all want them to call me a poisoner."
I use the hypothesis of the subjective labor-consumer balance to analyze the on-farm processes and to establish the nature of the motivation of the peasant family's economic activity. Beyond its limits in the sphere of interfarm relations, the peasant farm appears, and can only appear, through its objective actions. It is from the mass interrelations of these actions with those of others composing the system of national economy that the objective social phenomena of price, rent, and so on are formed.
In the first volume of Capital, K. Marx recognizes the possibility of a consumer's evaluation of benefits, but asserts that it is impossible to deduce from it the social phenomenon of price. In analogous fashion, I have disclosed the presence of a labor-consumer balance in the peasant farm's economic practice and the great part it plays in determining the volume of family economic activity, but I do not at all consider it possible to deduce from this a whole system of the national economy.
As regards the Austrian school, the author of the present book stands in approximately the same position as does J. H. von Thünen, for whom the marginal principle has also played no small part.
3. Our critics sometimes point out that the subject of our analysis, the peasant labor farm, is at the present time being outmoded as a phenomenon on the scale of the national economy, and for the next few decades it will be an anachronism. They assert that even at the present time numerous quite varied forms may be distinguished within the limits of the historically existing peasantry, and, of these, farms based on own labor are only a part. Finally, they state that labor farms themselves, when they are viable, are filled with acquisitive and entrepreneurial activity, and at the first opportunity become semi-capitalist farms.
All this may be true or, more accurately, almost true. In the historical development of an economy, various economic forms now develop, now fall into decline, and sometimes completely disappear and are borne away into the past. It is quite possible that at some time or other the forms of peasant labor farms we have studied will exist only in historical chronicles and folk songs. Research into the fate of the peasant farm at the level of the national economy* at present does not concern us.
Yet it is clear that within the limits of the next decade peasant labor farms will, nevertheless, remain an unalterable fact in numerous countries, including the U.S.S.R. We who are concerned with the practice of agriculture must construct its future forms from the existing forms of peasant farming; therefore, we are, in practice, concerned with the deepest possible study of the peasant farm.
It is quite true that peasant farming is not homogeneous; apart from peasant labor farms it includes numerous semiproletarian and semicapitalist farms to which Professor L. N. Litoshenko's description would fully apply. We do not propose, however, to consider our organization theory a universal one embracing all forms of undertakings labeled peasant. We are investigating only the organizational forms of the family farm in agriculture, and will extend our results only to this still quite considerable sector of the national economy.
It is true that L. N. Litoshenko doubts that the psychology of the labor-consumer balance is characteristic of those in this sector and insistently suggests avarice as the basic feature of peasant psychology. In this instance, however, we must agree on precisely what is the psychology of avarice and what is the labor-consumer balance. Of course, our critics are free to understand the labor-consumer balance
* Editors' note.—Reading narodno-khozyaistvennogo, instead of nauchno-khozyai-stvennogo.
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theory as a sweet little picture of the Russian peasantry in the likeness of the moral French peasants, satisfied with everything and living like the birds of the air. We ourselves do not have such a conception and are inclined to believe that no peasant would refuse either good roast beef, or a gramophone, or even a block of Shell Oil Company shares, if the chance occurred. Unfortunately, such chances do not present themselves in large numbers, and the peasant family wins every kopek by hard, intensive toil. And in these circumstances, they are obliged not only to do without shares and a gramophone, but sometimes without the beef as well. It seems to us that if Rothschild were to Hee to some agrarian country, given a social revolution in Europe, and be obliged to engage in peasant labor, he would obey the rules of conduct established by the Organization and Production School, for all his bourgeois acquisitive psychology.
But, apart from this, we have to remember that, as has already been noted, the labor-consumer balance theory was created not out of the head of some theoretician but as a result of observing features in the economic conduct of the masses of peasants, which were successfully explained only with the help of this hypothesis.
Nevertheless, we must, of course, recognize that our constructs reduce life to a scheme and, like any abstract theory, have as their subject an imaginary farm much purer in type than those we must encounter in reality. Incidentally, we have included in the present work an extensive new chapter dealing with the organizational plan of the peasant farm in all its concrete detail, and it will not be difficult for the reader to see to what extent the organizational features we have noted appear in reality.
4. The accusation that we consider peasant farming apart from any connection with world capitalist circulation, apart from the class struggle, and, as it were, apart from all social and economic features which are the essence of the economy's development in the present period is also based on a misunderstanding and disappears for the same reasons as the accusation of static analysis.
Although we do not deny their importance and we support the necessity for a careful study of them, all the problems listed are outside our consideration, since our subject is the internal organizational foundation of the individual family farm, working in its given conditions. We consider this point, misunderstood by our critics, one of the most important in explaining the problem, and thus allow ourselves to deal with it in greater detail.
As we have already noted in passing, the peasant farm as an organizational type of producing machine has existed historically and has
been theoretically considered as entering into various economic systems. With certain changes in its internal structure, it may be the basis of a natural economy system, be an item in a national economy system consisting of peasant farms and family units of urban artisans, or become the basis for a feudal economy. In each of these economic regimes, the peasant farm occupies a specific place, different in each particular instance, is bound in different ways with other social classes, and conducts itself in different ways in the ups and downs of class struggle characteristic of each regime.
At the present time, the peasant farm almost everywhere has been drawn into the system of the capitalist commodity market; in many countries it is influenced by finance capital, which has made loans to it, and it coexists with capitalistically organized industry and, in some places, agriculture also. Peasant undertakings have exceedingly complex social interrelations with all these elements of the present-day economy. After Professor Lyashchenko's works on the evolution of Russian farming and Lenin's on the American farm, we can see with great clarity that we should not necessarily expect the development of capitalist influence and concentration in agriculture to take the form of the creation and development of latifundia. More probably, we should expect trading and finance capitalism to establish an economic dictatorship over considerable sectors of agriculture, which as regards production will remain as before, composed of small-scale family labor peasant undertakings subject in their internal organization to the laws of the labor-consumer balance.
We distinctly recognize the need for the Organization and Production School to indicate in individual investigations the place occupied by the peasant farm in the total system of the present-day national economy, and to give the theoretical tie-up of our organizational concept with the principle views on the national economy and its development.
We deal at the end of this book with certain consequences for the national economy which seem to us to follow from the organizational nature of the peasant farm, which we have established. These observations, however, do not have the significance of a theory of the national economy but only approach one. They are static, and describe the peasant farm as material relevant to the national economy rather than establish the historical national economy concept of the peasant farm. Their relation to national economic analysis of the historically existing economy is like A. Weber's views on the Standort of industry to the study of the development of present-day industry.
An all-around analysis of peasant farming as a phenomenon of the
50 THE THEORY OF PEASANT ECONOMY
national economy and in all its concrete historical detail will be the next stage in the development of the school, and I should think that this analysis will be made in the next few years by one of the authors belonging to this school.
5. After all that has been said above, it would be essentially superfluous to dwell on the fifth point of the criticisms made of us; the more so since not a word is said about any ideology in the course of the whole of the present investigation. However, remembering that this point is of special interest to many of our readers and that our opponents have on many occasions pointed out, "it's not what they say, but what they don't say that's important," we consider we must also deal with this point.
Can you accuse an agricultural officer who in his district has attentively studied the very pitiful livestock breeds and the ways in which they are kept, the local crop rotations and weed varieties, on these grounds, of being an adherent of three-course tillage and an enemy to agricultural progress? I think hardly anyone would decide to do this. But can you accuse economists who have worked for many years on a molecular analysis of the basis of present-day peasant farming, on these grounds, of being reactionaries, ideologists of petty bourgeois, property-owning peasant farming, pulverized and individualistic, demarcated from any social forms of production, obscurantists denying any agricultural progress and scientific achievements? Evidently, you can. You can, even if the authors being criticized are active workers in the cooperative movement and leaders in agricultural assistance to the population. I say you can, because that is how some of our critics behave.
The economists of the Organization and Production School, working all their lives in one connection or another with peasant farming, are naturally accustomed to looking at much of economic life from the point of view of the interests of peasant farming. The whole question, however, is: What sort of peasant farming?
By carefully studying present-day peasant farming as it is, we have primarily studied the initial material from which the new countryside, in our opinion, should historically evolve in the next decade, having converted, by means of cooperatives, a considerable part of its economy into socially organized forms of production. It should be a countryside industrialized in all spheres of technical processing, mechanized, and electrified—a countryside that has made use of all the achievements of agricultural science and technology.
Anyone acquainted in practice with the present-day peasantry
knows that the embryonic, initial elements of this new countryside are already evident, and their gradual quantitative growth should, in a number of decades, qualitatively improve our countryside, both in an economic and equally in a social sense. We deal with the development of this idea in great detail at the end of this book, and suppose that acquaintance with this system will once and for all destroy any possibility of counting us as opponents of agricultural progress and reactionary ideologists of outmoded economic forms.
All that has been said above fully and clearly outlines to sufficient degree the task before our study. An organizational analysis of peasant family economic activity is our task—a family that does not hire outside labor, has a certain area of land available to it, has its own means of production, and is sometimes obliged to expend some of its labor force on nonagricultural crafts and trades.
We will start our study with a detailed survey of the biologically developing family itself as a cooperative of worker and consumer units, and also of the influence that the peculiarities of the family as a producing machine may have on its economic activity. We will devote special attention to the character of work motivation of family members, and to production and other features which determine the degree to which the labor force exploits itself. After discussing these problems, we will handle with particular care the interrelations and influence on the farm's organization of three basic items—land, capital, and labor—and, at the same time, the machinery for achieving economic equilibrium among these factors. After thus establishing the basic organizational foundations of the peasant farm, we will discuss in great detail, link by link, all the elements of an organizational plan of a peasant agricultural undertaking, and will attempt to show, in a series of concrete examples, the application of our principles to the practical work of organization. Having thus finished an organizational survey of the peasant farm, we will deal with an exceedingly important problem, still little worked on—the forms of circulation and capital renewal in the family farm. We will end our study by pointing out certain consequences for the national economy which follow from the organizational nature of the peasant farm, without at the same time claiming to establish a national economy concept of the peasant farm taken in its historical and concrete detail.
Such are our tasks. We hope that our work, if it does not solve them, will in any event be able to help in perhaps correctly posing the problem of the organizational basis of the peasant farm.
The Peasant Family and the Influence of Its Development on Economic Activity
On turning to a study of the labor farm's organization, we ought inevitably to begin our investigation with an all-around analysis of the constitution and laws governing the composition of the subject of this farm—the family that runs it.
Whichever factor determining peasant farm organization we were to consider dominant, however much significance we were to attach to the influence of the market, amount of land for use, or availability of means of production and natural fertility, we ought to acknowledge that work hands are the technically organizing element of any production process. And since, on the family farm which has no recourse to hired labor, the labor force pool, its composition, and degree of labor activity are entirely determined by family composition and size, we must accept family makeup as one of the chief factors in peasant farm organization.
In fact, family composition primarily defines the upper and lower limits of the volume of its economic activity. The labor force of the labor farm is entirely determined by the availability of able-bodied family members. That is why the highest possible limit for volume of activity depends on the amount of work this labor force can give with maximum utilization and intensity. In the same way the lowest volume is determined by the sum of material benefits absolutely essential for the family's mere existence.
As we shall see, these limits are far from being this broad, and, as will be shown below, within these limits family size and composition will further influence farm organization, not only quantitatively, but also qualitatively. It is absolutely essential, therefore, to study the labor family as fully as possible, and to establish the elements in its composition, on which basis it develops its economic activity, before we touch any question about the labor farm.
54 THE THEORY OF PEASANT ECONOMY
1 The married trio or quartet in countries with polygamous family structure.
2 Blagoveshchenskii, Svod stat. sbornikov khozyaistvennykh svedenii po zemskim podvornym perepisyam [Summary of statistical handbooks giving economic information on zemstvo household censuses], M., 1893 g.
Leaving aside the semiclan, semifamily formations we have outlived and limiting ourselves merely to present-day forms of everyday life in civilized countries, we shall, nevertheless, find very great variety in the basic family structure of different peoples and of social strata.
First of all, there is no doubt that the concept of the family, particularly in peasant life, is far from always equated with the biological concept underlying it and is supplemented in content by a series of economic and household complications. In attempting to apportion the contents of this concept in the peasant's mind, Russian zemstvo statisticians, for example, when carrying out household censuses established that to the peasant the concept of the family includes a number of people constantly eating at one table or having eaten from one pot. According to the late S. Bleklov, peasants in France included in the concept of the family the group of persons locked up for the night behind one lock.
To a still greater extent, we will find variations in family size. In many agricultural districts of Slavonic countries, you may frequently encounter living together several married couples of two or even three generations, united in a single complex patriarchal family. On the other hand, in many industrialized districts we see every young member of the family striving before manhood to branch off from the paternal home and win economic independence and a life for himself.
Nevertheless, however varied the everyday features of the family, its basis remains the purely biological concept of the married couple,1 living together with their descendants and the aged representatives of the older generation. This biological nature of the family determines to a great extent the limits of its size and, chiefly, the laws of its composition; although, of course, daily circumstances may introduce numerous complications.
Thus, for example, comparing peasant family size by area, we can observe considerable variation. Table 1—1, showing average peasant family size according to zemstvo census data compiled by Mr. Bla-goveshchenskii at the end of the nineteenth century, gives us a characteristic picture in this respect.2
Peasant Family Influence 55
TABLE 1-1 Peasant Family Size
Number of Persons Persons
Guberniya Families Both Sexes per
(000) (000) Family
Leningrad ..................... 1 71.5 385.5 5.4
Tver' ......................... 114.7 646.7 5.6
Smolensk ...................... 97.7 573.7 5.9
Novgorod ..................... 25.6 140.3 5.5
Moscow ....................... 19.3 102.4 5.3
Vyatka ........................ 211.8 1238.6 5.8
Nizhnii Novgorod .............. 60.0 316.4 5.3
Perm' ......................... 59.7 307.3 5.1
Ryazan' ....................... 81.3 530.0 6.5
Tambov ...................... 317.0 2108.6 6.6
Saratov ....................... 295.7 1747.8 5.9
Samara ....................... 346.1 2026.9 5.8
Orel .......................... 113.0 732.5 6.5
Kursk ......................... 294.8 1897.8 6.4
Voronezh ..................... 226.8 1569.8 6.9
Chernigov ..................... 89.7 523.1 5.8
Khar'kov ...................... 20.0 114.1 5.7
Poltava ....................... 212.9 1168.2 5.5
Ekaterinoslav .................. 85.1 536.3 6.3
Kherson ...................... 82.2 420.8 5.1
Bessarabia ..................... 37.4 168.2 4.5
This variation acquires still greater significance if instead of taking the total number of persons we make a slightly deeper analysis. We estimate the family labor force and consumer units, counting, in accordance with the rates now accepted in budget statistics, different age groups that compose the family as equivalent to a full worker and male consumer; then we compare the number of consumers a worker in each family has to maintain. For families included in budget descriptions, which later we shall be mainly using, we have the figures in Table 1-2.
Area Persons Consumers Workers Workers
Starobel'sk .......... 7.7 5.1 3.6 1.40
Volokolamsk ......... 7.8 5.2 3.9 1.40
Gzhatsk ............. 7.7 5.8 4.3 1.47
Porech'e ............ 7.6 5.3 3.8 1.40
Sychevka ............ 7.0 4.9 3.7 1.38
Dorogobuzh ......... 7.7 5.2 3.9 1.35
Vologda ............. 6.3 3.9 3.0 1.28
Tot'ma ............. 5.9 4.0 3.1 1.28
Novgorod ........... 6.9 4.7 3.7 1.28
56 THE THEORY OF PEASANT ECONOMY
When comparing the figures in the table which describe family size and composition, we should not forget that we have before us averages describing the total group of families analyzed and not a concrete typical family of a particular area. It is enough to glance more deeply at the material to see that, at least for European Russia where semiclan life is now a thing of the past and patriarchal families are rarely found, families of quite varied size occur in any area.
Thus, for example, the average figures from budget investigations quoted above were arrived at by combining families composed as shown in Table 1-3.
Distribution of Budget Survey Families by Family Size
Persons in Family 13 Total
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 or more No. of Families
Guberniya .... 8 9 7 8' 9 9 16 8 8 5 3 12 102
Novgorod Guberniya ____ 2 5 5 14 16 17 10 11 4 6 1 1 92
In delving into the cause of such variation, we ought to explain it mainly as a fact of the biological development of the family, breaking the total group of families down into a series of subgroups by age and, consequently, both by size and by composition.
Among families of small size, we have a number of young ones, often consisting of the newlyweds alone—the husband and wife who have only just become separate from the paternal home. We have a number of families consisting of the married couple and young children, and we have mature families in which the second generation is already working. Many families consist of several related married couples living together. Finally, we always have several decaying old families that consist of two old people living out their days, their descendants having gone off or been lost. In other words, we have before us all the phases of development through which the family passes. In order to understand the composition of the total group of families and of each one separately, we ought inevitably to follow the theoretically normal family development and establish the basis of its composition at each age. Only by taking the family in the full
Peasant Family Influence bl
extent of its development, starting at b^rth and finishing at death, can we understand the basic laws of its composition.
If we take it that a surviving child is born every third year in a young family that has just been established, the future family composition and development is shown in a rough scheme in Table 1-4.
TABLE 1-4 Family Members' Ages in Different Years
Year of Family's Existence Husband Wife Age of Children Number
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th
1 .... 25 20 2
2 .... 26 21 1 3
3 .... 27 22 2 3
4 .... 28 23 3 3
5 .... 29 24 4 1 4
6 .... 30 25 5 2 4
7 .... 31 26 6 3 4
8 .... 32 27 7 4 1 5
9 .... 33 28 8 5 2 5
10 34 29 9 6 3 5
11 ... 35 30 10 7 4 1 - 6
12 ... 36 31 11 8 5 2 - 6
13 ... 37 32 12 9 6 3 - 6
14 ... 38 33 13 10 7 4 1 — — — — 7
15 ... 39 34 14 11 8 5 2 — — — — 7
16 ... 40 35 15 12 9 6 3 — — — — 7
17 ... 41 36 16 13 10 7 4 1 — — — 8
18 ... 42 37 17 14 11 8 5 2 — — — 8
19 ... 43 38 18 15 12 9 6 3 — — — 8
20 ... 44 39 19 16 13 10 7 4 1 — — 9
21 ... 45 40 20 17 14 11 8 5 2 — — 9
22 ... 46 41 21 18 15 12 9 6 3 — — 9
23 ... 47 42 22 19 16 13 10 7 4 1 — 10
24 ... 48 43 23 20 17 14 11 8 5 2 — 10
25 ... 49 44 24 21 18 15 12 9 6 3 — 10
26 ... 50 45 25 22 19 16 13 10 7 4 1 11
Undoubtedly, due to the death rate of grown children or a somewhat higher birth rate than we have taken, family development in reality will differ from our figures. We will always meet families that consist of only three or four persons, despite having lasted fifteen years. Families will frequently break down prematurely, taking the full cycle as 25 years, as we have done, more or less. However, the type of normal family development which occurs without catastrophe will always resemble these figures, and the scheme is adequate for a theoretical description of family development.
In future, the family is of interest to us as an economic and not as a biological phenomenon. So in looking at our table, we ought to
58 THE THEORY OF PEASANT ECONOMY
express its composition regarding consumer and worker units at different phases of its development. We should try to explain how the relationship of the family labor force to its consumer demands changes as the family develops, and to what extent at different phases of this development it is possible to apply the principle of complex cooperation, since it is precisely these elements in its makeup which are important in organizing its economic activity.
If we adopt the rates established in the Vologda budget studies in accounting consumer and worker units, simplifying them somewhat and retaining division by sex only for the parents, then the development of the family will be as shown in Table 1-5, in which family members engaging in work of an economic nature are shown in boldface.
Years of Family's Existence Married Couple Children 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Total in Family Consumers Workers Consumers -r- Workers
1 ... 1.8 1.8 1.8 1.00
2 ... 1.8 0.1 ------ - 1.9 1.8 1.06
3 ... 1.8 0.3 ------ - 2.1 1.8 1.17
4 ... 1.8 0.3 ------ - 2.1 1.8 1.17
5 \ .. 1.8 0.3 0.1 ----- - 2.2 1.8 1.22
6 ... 1.8 0.3 0.3 ----- - 2.4 1.8 1.33
7 ... 1.8 0.3 0.3 ----- - 2.4 1.8 1.33
8 ... 1.8 0.3 0.3 0.1 - - - - - 2.5 1.8 1.39
9 ... 1.8 0.5 0.3 0.3 - - - - - 2.9 1.8 1.61
10 ... 1.8 0.5 0.3 0.3 - - - - - 2.9 1.8 1.61
11 ... 1.8 0.5 0.3 0.3 0.1 - - - - 3.0 1.8 1.66
12 ... 1.8 0.5 0.5 0.3 0.3 - - - - 3.4 1.8 1.88
13 ... 1.8 0.5 0.5 0.3 0.3 - - - - 3.4 1.8 1.88
14 ... 1.8 0.5 0.5 0.3 0.3 0.1 - - - — 3.5 1.8 1.94
15 ... 1.8 0.7 0.5 0.5 0.3 0.3 - - - — 4.1 2.5 1.64
16 ... 1.8 0.7 0.5 0.5 0.3 0.3 - - - — 4.1 2.5 1.64
17 ... 1.8 0.7 0.5 0.5 0.3 0.3 0.1 - - — 4.2 2.5 1.68
18 ... 1.8 0.7 0.7 0.5 0.5 0.3 0.3 - - — 4.8 3.2 1.50
19 ... 1.8 0.7 0.7 0.5 0.5 0.3 0.3 - - — 4.8 3.2 1.50
20 ... 1.8 0.9 0.7 0.5 0.5 0.3 0.3 0.1 - — 5.1 3.4 1.50
21 ... 1.8 0.9 0.7 0.7 0.5 0.5 0.3 0.3 - — 5.7 4.1 1.39
22 ... 1.8 0.9 0.7 0.7 0.5 0.5 0.3 0.3 - — 5.7 4.1 1.39
23 .. 1.8 0.9 0.9 0.7 0.5 0.5 0.3 0.3 0.1 — 6.0 4.3 1.39
24 .. 1.8 0.9 0.9 0.7 0.7 0.5 0.5 0.3 0.3 — 6.6 5.0 1.32
25 .. 1.8 0.9 0.9 0.7 0.7 0.5 0.5 0.3 0.3 — 6.6 5.0 1.32
26 .. 1.8 0.9 0.9 0.9 0.7 0.5 0.5 0.3 0.3 0.1 6.9 5.2 1.32
Looking at the table and figure 1-1, which illustrates the development of the basic elements, we see that in the first years as the family grows it becomes ever more burdened with children unable to work,
Peasant Family Influence 59
5 10 15 20
YEARS OF FAMILY'S EXISTENCE
and we note a rapid increase in the proportion of consumers to workers. In the fourteenth year of the family's existence, this proportion reaches its highest point, 1.94. But in the fifteenth year, the first child comes to the aid of the parents when he has reached semiworking age, and the consumer-worker ratio immediately falls to 1.64. In reality, of course, no such sharp leap occurs, since the transition from the child unable to work to the half-time worker is made more gradually. But it is nonetheless true that about this time the burden of consumers on the workers of the family becomes lighter, since each year the children take a greater and greater part in the work. In the twenty-sixth year of the family's existence, the ratio falls to 1.32.
If after this year we take it that no further children are born to the head of the family, as the children grow up the consumer-worker ratio will fall rapidly, approaching unity and reaching it in the thirty-seventh year of the family's existence, provided that none of the sons marry and the old people do not lose their ability to work.
If daughters-in-law enter the household and have children, a certain increase in the consumer-worker ratio will again commence in the complex family which has been formed. This increase rises sharply when the original parents become unfit for work. Parallel to the changes in family composition that have been noted in connec
60 THE THEORY OF PEASANT ECONOMY
tion with its growth, we must notice the increase, as it matures, of the number of working hands; this gives the chance of applying the principles of complex cooperation in work and, thus, increases the power of each of them. At some moment in its development, for some internal reasons, the family that has thus matured meets with catastrophe and splits into two or more families. Each of these young families then begins afresh to pass through the phases of family development we have described, if they have not already passed through the first of them while still in the paternal patriarchal family.
Thus, every family, depending on its age, is in its different phases of development a completely distinct labor machine as regards labor force, intensity of demand, consumer-worker ratio, and the possibility of applying the principles of complex cooperation.
In accordance with this, we can pose the first problem of our inquiry: Does the state of this continually changing machine affect the economic activity of a family running its labor farm, and if it does, how and to what extent?
Since the labor family's basic stimulus to economic activity is the necessity to satisfy the demands of its consumers, and its work hands are the chief means for this, we ought first of all to expect the family's volume of economic activity to quantitatively correspond more or less to these basic elements in family composition.
By the volume of economic activity here and throughout this book we understand all forms of family economic activity, both in agriculture and in the total group of crafts and trades. Any other approach to family economic activity will be mistaken, since the basic economic problem of the labor farm is a correct and joint organization of the year's work, stimulated by a single family demand to meet its annual budget and a single wish to save or invest capital if economic work conditions allow. Therefore, any sector analysis of economic work-analysis of peasant family farming by itself, for example—will be production, but by no means economic analysis. It will become economic only when problems of agricultural organization are analyzed in connection with the problem of the total economic activity of the family as a whole.
However, in taking the volume of economic activity as an economic concept we ought to make use of farm elements which cover all its joint nature in order to measure it quantitatively. Unfortunately, thanks to the dualism of peasant economic activity—agriculture and crafts and trades—such elements are very limited (labor and income), and empirical investigation of them has started only in the last few years. Therefore, if we wish to adduce mass empirical material to
Peasant Family Influence 61
solve the problem we ought to make use of any production element as a measure of the volume of economic activity. The sown area has usually been taken as such in practice in agricultural statistics. Since we are dealing with peasant farms in which crafts and trades and commercial livestock farming are weakly or equally developed, this measure may be applied and offers the opportunity of drawing numerous conclusions; though one must, of course, deal with it critically and constantly take account of the nature of this measure. In this particular case, we may conditionally take the sown area as a measure of the volume in order to establish the connection between family size and volume of economic work.
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 NUMBER OF FAMILY MEMBERS
In reality, the first zemstvo statistical workers, who approached the analysis of household censuses by classifying the material by number of livestock, size of arable, sown area, or other farm elements, long ago noted that this connection for Russian peasant farms could be a quantitative measure of the family's volume of economic activity. Table 1-6 and Figure 1-2, which we have drawn up on the basis of B. N. Knipovich's summary, show us the nature of this connection.
In following the development of the functions we can establish a clearly expressed dependence between family development and size of area for use. The character of this dependence is not the same for different areas, depending on variations in the form of general economic life.
TABLE 1-6 Volume of Economic Work and Family Size
Vyatka Tula poltava Samara
Sown Desyatinas Persons Sown Desyatinas Persons Sown Desyatinas Persons Sown Desyatinas Persons
Area of Suitable of Both Area of Suitable of Both Area of Suitable of Both Area of Suitable of Both
(Desyatinas) Land Sexes (Desyatinas) Land Sexes (Desyatinas) Land Sexes (Desyatinas) Land Sexes
Per Farm Per Farm Per Farm Per Farm
0 1.2 2.8 0 0 1.0 0 2.5 4.9 0 0 3.5
0 - 1 4.5 3.5 0- 1 0.4 3.4 0- 1 1.5 4.9 0- 3 1.8 4.4
1 - 2% 8.9 4.4 1- 2 1.4 4.4 1- 2 2.5 5.1 3- 6 4.5 5.2
2¥t- 5 12.6 5.3 2- 5 3.4 6.2 2- 3 3.6 5.4 6- 9 7.5 6.1
5 - m 16.6 6.2 5-10 6.9 8.4 3- 6 5.2 6.0 9-12 10.5 6.9
7V2-10 21.0 7.2 10-15 11.0 11.0 6- 9 9.5 6.8 12-15 13.5 7.5
10 -15 27.7 8.6 15-25 17.7 12.6 9-15 15.8 7.5 15-20 17.4 8.2
15 -20 36.5 10.7 >25 43.9 14.4 15-25 28.0 8.5 20-30 24.1 9.4
>20 51.2 12.8 - - - 25-50 54.5 9.5 30-40 34.2 10.9
- - - - - - >50 144.0 11.2 >40 65.9 113.0
Vladimir Kaluga Yaroslavl' Vologda
Sown Desyatinas Persons Sown Desyatinas Persons Sown Desyatinas Persons Sown Desyatinas Persons
Area of Suitable of Both Area of Suitable of Both Area of Suitable of Both Area of Suitable of Both
(Desyatinas) Land Sexes (Desyatinas) Land Sexes (Desyatinas) Land Sexes (Desyatinas) Land Sexes
Per Farm Per Farm Per Farm Per Farm
0 0.2 3.2 0 0 3.6 0 1.4 2.8 0 7.1 2.5
0-3 4.9 5.3 0- 3 2.0 4.8 0- 1 4.6 4.1 0- 2 7.4 4.1
3-6 9.4 6.6 3- 6 4.3 6.0 1- 2 7.3 5.1 2- 3 12.0 5.3
6-9 14.2 8.3 6- 9 7.1 7.3 2- 3 10.5 6.0 3- 6 16.6 6.2
9 -12 20.1 9.8 >9 11.3 8.4 3- 4 14.4 6.9 >6 19.1 7.5
>12 31.1 12.0 - - - >4 21.2 8.6 - - -
Peasant Family Influence 63
Thus, in the northern guberniyas—Vyatka, Yaroslavl', Vologda— where earnings from crafts and trades are well developed, the area of land for use is directly proportional to the development of the family. In agricultural areas—Tula, Samara, and Poltava—the land use curve noticeably increases in rate of growth as it develops. But in both instances, the development of the curves so conforms to a pattern that for many guberniyas it could easily be expressed by a mathematical formula. Thus, for example, for Samara guberniya if family size (number of persons) is x, the quantity of suitable land per household in the groups we have analyzed is y:
y = 0.36x2 - 0.52x - 2.6.
For Vyatka guberniya, it is even simpler:
y = 4.38x - 10.5.
Table 1-7 indicates how far these formulas accurately express the curves.
Sown Area (Desyatinas)
per Household (y)
According to: No. of Persons_
in Family (x) Formula Observation
No. of Persons in Family (x)
Sown Area (Desyatinas) per Household (y) According to:
4.4 2.0 1.8 3.5 4.8 4.5
5.2 4.4 4.5 4.4 8.8 8.9
6.1 7.6 7.5 5.3 12.7 12.6
6.9 10.7 10.5 6.2 16.7 16.6
7.5 14.7 13.5 7.2 21.1 21.0
8.2 17.3 17.4 8.6 27.2 27.0
9.4 24.3 24.1 10.7 36.3 36.5
10.9 34.5 34.1
The significance of the formulas we have given should not be exaggerated, since they are based on the group processing of tens of thousands of farms, with the elimination of all other factors save those connected with farm size. Therefore, our formulas can not be applied to individual farms, since apart from family size and sown area a number of other factors operate which can considerably alter the correlation of the figures. Nevertheless, they definitely establish a tendency. S. N. Prokopovich's detailed inquiries have also indicated without any doubt that a high degree of correlation exists between the family and the measure of agricultural activity. In other words,
64 THE THEORY OF PEASANT ECONOMY
this method of processing the material also shows us that these two phenomena are related to each other to a considerable extent.
Thus, S. N. Prokopovich established the following correlation coefficients for farm agricultural income and family size.3
Starobel'sk uezd, Khar'kov guberniya:
Gross agricultural income and number of workers ........ 0.64
Gross agricultural income and number of consumers ...... 0.61
Even in Vologda uezd, where crafts and trades are exceedingly well developed and a considerable part of family income is derived from such activities, agricultural income, although sometimes subordinate to earnings from crafts and trades, nevertheless shows a noticeable relationship to family size.
Gross agricultural income and number of workers ....... 0.42
Gross agricultural income and number of consumers ...... 0.41
These coefficients, of course, are lower than the technical connection between production factors within agricultural activity itself; but they statistically justify a close connection between family size and volume of economic and even agricultural activity. Yet, while acknowledging the fact of this dependence we can dwell on the question of the internal character of this relationship and suppose that it is not family size which determines volume of family economic activity, as we formerly thought; on the contrary, the measure of agricultural activity, let us say, determines family composition. In other words, the peasant provides himself with a family in accordance with his material security.
The solution to this dilemma is far from being as simple as it may appear at first glance. On the one hand, European scholars in numerous demographic studies have noted that birth and death rates depend on the material conditions of existence, and there is a clearly expressed reduced net population growth among those underprovi-sioned. On the other hand, it is also known that practical Malthusian-ism in France is most highly developed in well-to-do peasant circles. In all probability, several years' painstaking research is required to give a final solution to this problem.
We may consider, on the basis of the materials at our disposal, that this problem has no uniform answer. It is evident that at a low level
3 S. N. Prokopovich, Proizvoditel'nost' krestyanskogo khozyaistva po byudzhetnym dannym [Peasant farm productivity according to budget data].
Peasant Family Influence 65
of material security, when there is the mere possibility of physical existence, material conditions influence family size with the force of a determinant. N. P. Makarov, for example, came to such a conclusion when studying the Voronezh budgets of the dismally remembered 1880's. We are not going to review this state of affairs, however, since we are concerned with the peasantry of the present century, which is at an immeasurably higher standard of well-being than in the 1880's.
Indeed, for this situation to be correct it would be absolutely essential that the peasants on small-scale farms artificially lower the birth rate of their families compared with the birth rate of families holding larger farms. Otherwise, it ought at least to be shown that child mortality in families with little or medium amounts of land is so far above the norm in peasant life that even with equal birth rates it considerably reduces the family, lessening it two- or threefold compared with the well-to-do groups.
Both elements can be statistically established. Unfortunately, however, our registration of births and deaths takes no account of material security. In accordance with this, we will make an analysis that simultaneously takes account of the two phenomena of interest to us —that is, the presence of children up to six years of age and their percentage composition in the family. In this instance, we record the number of births in six years, less children born in these years who died. Limiting ourselves to the materials before us, we obtain the rates shown in Table 1-8 for juniors (0-6 years) in peasant families by sown areas.
Tot'ma Uezd Novgorod Guberniya
Children 0-6 Children 0-6
Sown Area as % of Sown Area as % of
per Farm Persons in per Farm Persons in
(Desyatinas) Family (Desyatinas) Family
0.1-1.0 20.6% 0.1-2.0 25.7%
1.1-2.0 19.1% 2.1-3.0 21.6%
2.1-3.0 17.7% 3.1-4.0 13.5%
3.1-4.0 17.8% >4.0 17.1%
The figures of a (combined) estimate of a 1916 Kostroma guberniya census are of a similar character. Table 1-9 gives percent of adults.
As the table shows, there is no basis for asserting that family-forming factors in households with small farms operate more weakly than
66 THE THEORY OF PEASANT ECONOMY
Sown Men Women
0.1-1...... 37.4 52.0
1-2...... 39.1 52.8
2-3...... 43.2 55.2
3-4...... 45.2 55.9
4-5...... 46.1 56.2
5-6...... 46.4 56.4
6-7...... 47.3 55.5
7-8...... 47.4 54.8
8-9...... 48.2 55.2
9-10..... 47.1 54.1
10-11..... 46.6 56.4
11-12..... 48.9 53.2
in those with large farms. We also caution the reader, however, against the contrary conclusion he may deduce from a comparison of these series. The increased percentage of young children in groups that sow a small area, aside from the supposition that family size depends on farm size, depends at the same time not on area of sown but on the fact that, in the main, the classification by sown area is to a certain extent a classification by family age. In accordance with this, those that sow small areas consist of young families with a large number of young children, and those that sow more consist of older families in which small children do not play such a great part.
Thus, in Novgorod guberniya (according to budgets), for example, the percentage of young families—i.e. families consisting of a married couple and children not yet of working age—in categories sowing different areas amount to the following.
Sown area (desyatinas) ......... 0-2 2-4 >4
Percentage of young families .... 42.9 20.8 0.0
Classification by sown area in Starobel'sk uezd, Khar'kov guberniya, (according to budgets) gives still more characteristic results.
(desyatinas) ...... 0.1-3.0 3.1-7.5 7.0*-15.0 >15.0
young families .... 76.4 38.5 4.0 0.0
In the main, this information is sufficient for some solution of the problem posed about the direction of dependence between family size and volume of economic activity, since family age can not, in any event, depend on the degree of material well-being. However, for a
* Translator's note.—Thus in original; presumably a misprint for 7.6.
Peasant Family Influence 67
final explanation of this question, basic to our theme, we allow ourselves to focus the reader's attention, not on static data, but on data of dynamic type, the elaboration of which is one of the brilliant achievements in the recent history of Russian statistics.
In the course of the years before the war, in a whole series of guber-niyas repeated statistical censuses were carried out in a technical manner that has allowed a genetic link to be established between the farms described and the farms from which they came and which had been statistically described 10, 15, or even 30 years before. These investigations, started by the brilliant work of N. N. Chernenkov for Saratov guberniya, completely overthrew many of our conceptions about the peasant farm and provided a firm basis for a description of its nature.
When we study the dynamics of these farms with the view that family size is entirely determined by its economic situation, we might expect that farms sowing small areas will in the course of 15 years continue to sow the same small areas, and that farms well endowed will, as before, sow large areas and retain a large family. The works of Chernenkov, Khryashcheva, Vikhlyaev, Kushchenko, and others, however, tell us something completely different, as may be seen from Kushchenko's table (Table 1-10), which is analogous to all the others, comparing the 1882 and 1911 censuses for Surazh uezd, Chernigov guberniya.
TABLE 1-10 1911 Sown Area by 1882 Sown Area Groups (%)
Desyatinas Desyatinas Sown in 1911
Sown in 1882 6-9 9-12 >12 Total
0-3....... 28.2 47.0 20.0 2.4 2.4 100.0
3-6....... 21.8 47.5 24.4 8.2 2.4 100.0
6-9....... 16.2 37.0 26.8 11.3 2.4 100.0
9-12...... 9.6 35.8 26.1 12.4 16.1 100.0
>12...... 3.5 30.5 28.5 15.6 21.9 100.0
We see that a considerable part of the farms that sowed small areas gradually acquired a labor force as family age and size increased, and by expanding their sown area passed into the higher groups, thus also expanding the volume of their economic activity. Conversely, former large farms passed into lower groups corresponding to the small families created after division. This shows us that the demographic processes of growth and family distribution by size also determine to a considerable extent the distribution of farms by size of sown area and numbers of livestock.
Therefore, since the work of Chernenkov, Khryashcheva, Vikh-
68 THE THEORY OF PEASANT ECONOMY
lyaev, and Kushchenko, when speaking of peasant farms that differ in sown area and in their distribution to sown area groups, those in statistical circles have begun to use the expression demographic differentiation, thus avoiding the social significance formerly ascribed to this difference. In saying this, of course, we are not removing from our usage the concept of social differentiation—something which is quite widespread in the countryside—but, as we will see from a subsequent chapter, this form of differentiation is not to be seen by simply grouping by sown areas; it has to be studied by other methods.
These materials do not give a final solution to the problem, which still calls for many painstaking studies extending over many years. Nevertheless, they give us some possibility of supposing within the limits of our statistical material—which, incidentally relates to repar-titional commune areas—that the connection between family size and size of agricultural activity should be understood as a dependence of area of land for use on family size rather than conversely.
In all probability, in another agrarian regime less flexible than that of the repartitional commune the influence of the biological factor of family development on size of land for use would not stand out so prominently and be so evident as in our material. However, as, for example, analysis of the Starobel'sk budgets shows, the tendency of land for use to approach family size and composition may be achieved not only by communal repartitions but also with still greater success by short leases of land. The sale and purchase of land may also be the way in which land use is regulated in countries with private property in land.
In a number of countries where nonpartible inheritance is the rule—in southern Germany, for example—and equally where with its high degree of intensity the capitalist farm and all its lands forms a firmly welded production machine, the pressure of the biological development of the family undoubtedly can not influence the amount of land for use. This is expressed predominantly in changes in the relationship of own and hired labor serving the particular production machine and in the extent to which its own surplus labor goes off to work elsewhere. In this connection, the reflections of Professor A. Skalweit (Kiel) in his extended criticisms of the German edition of this book are very interesting.4
However, if the conditions of a somewhat inflexible agrarian regime also break the connection between family size and size of agri
4 A. Skalweit, "Die Familienwirtschaft als Grundlage für ein System der Sozialökonomie," Weltwirt. Archiv, April, 1924.
Peasant Family Influence 69
cultural activity—in this case, if the farm continues to use its own labor—this frequently means merely that the area of land for use has lost its ability to be a measure of the volume of economic activity and we ought to seek other measures. In the conditions in the U.S.S.R., however, and in those analogous to them, in the majority of cases we can confidently talk of this connection even within the limits of agriculture.
This circumstance ought to bring us to a characteristic conclusion. Any capitalist agricultural unit, its size being determined by a constant and unchanging amount of capital and land area, may in the course of an indeterminate lengthy period (within infinite limits) remain at one and the same volume; but the peasant farm in the course of decades, and in conditions analogous to those of Russian reality, constantly changes its volume, following the phases of family development, and its elements display a pulsating curve.
Although we have established by analysis of group averages that the volume of peasant farming depends on family size and composition (this dependence is clear, merely from the considerations, expressed at the start of the chapter, that the higher limit is determined by the maximum availability of the family labor force, and the lower by the minimum means of existence for the family), in order to avoid incorrect treatment of our conclusions we ought to stress that at any particular moment the family is not the sole determinant of the size of a particular farm, and determines its size only in a general way. The comparatively high correlation coefficients established between these figures are, nevertheless, far from 1.00. This alone indicates the existence of parallel factors which in their turn exert a pressure on the figure being studied.
In studying the road along which the peasant farm develops, we ought to notice that to convert the number of family working hands into farm size and income we must additionally determine: to what extent these hands may be utilized; what part of potential working time is actually expended; what is the intensity of their labor or its degree of self-exploitation; what are the available technical means of production with which labor enters the production process; how high, in the final result, will be the productivity of this labor, depending on natural conditions and the market situation. Only when we have compared the pressure of family size with the influence of these factors, establishing their interrelationships and the specific weight of each one in determining the structure and volume of the peasant family's economic activity, can we also approach a knowledge of the nature of the peasant farm.
Measure of Self-Exploitation of the Peasant Family Labor Force. The Concept of Advantage in the Labor Farm
In studying the annual productivity of peasant labor from various sources, we ought, in the first place, to distinguish between the concept of gross product of labor and its net product. By gross product, we understand all income the family receives in the course of a year, both from agriculture and from other applications of its labor in farming and in crafts and trades. By net product, we understand that part of gross product left after covering all annual overheads connected with capital renewal and annual expenditures on the farm. Thus, the net labor product is determined by the annual increment of material values becoming available to the farm and obtained as a result of its annual labor—in other words, the annual payment to the farm family for labor expended on it and in crafts and trades.
At the moment, we are not going into the national economic nature of this income and will not elucidate the elements of unearned income included in it. We limit ourselves to a private economic definition of this single peasant family income which becomes available in the course of the year.
In view of the numerous misunderstandings that largely obscure the essence of the matter, we ought to stress with particular insistence that by the product of peasant labor, peasant farm income, and so on we always understand the joint income of the peasant family both from agriculture and from crafts and trades, except, of course, in all those cases where a special note is made. This circumstance is exceedingly important for us, since our theory of the labor farm and of the