Karl Kautsky was the foremost intellectual leader of the Marxist movement internationally at the end of the 19th century and in the early years of. Contemporary studies on the agrarian question and recent advances .. This section engages the readers with Karl Kautsky’s celebrated Die Agrarfrage. Karl Kautsky () was recognized as among the most authoritative promulgators of Orthodox Marxism after the death of Friedrich Engels and was called.

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The Agrarian Question, Vol I. Though kautsly book follows along a pretty much standard, orthodox, teleological conception of capitalist development, Kautsky does upset some of the standard narratives and analyses that the classical Marxism of his day professed about agriculture and the peasantry.

Throughout the book, as the introducers of the volume note, Kautsky comes to terms, somewhat uncomfortably, with his empirical findings. Most importantly, Kautsky finds that small-scale agriculture is not agraeian aberration within capitalist agricultural development or something destined to die; peasant agriculture is, in fact, functional to the dynamics of capitalist accumulation.

Like Lenin, Kautsky notes the increasing polarization of classes in agrarian quesgion and the attendant concentration of rural property, and they are both careful about showing the differentiation of the peasantry. The concentration of property begins to dig its own grave by ,autsky commercial agriculture of a workforce as peasants are displaced from the land, so Kautsky finds a process of concentration and fragmentation that keeps capitalist agriculture viable via the production of a rural peasant-proletariat.


But while Lenin assumes that peasant agriculture is destined to die, Kautsky sees its functionality as a means for the social reproduction of a reserve army of agricultural wage-workers.

The Agrarian Question – Karl Kautsky – Google Books

questioj As he puts it, small farms and big farms end up being crutches for each other Kautsky also shows why agricultural production is qualitatively different from industrial production. For one thing, land is not reproducible or movable like a machine could be ; second, the reproduction of peasant labor-power is not valorized in the market though the same could be said about social reproduction in the household.

Throughout the book, Kautsky is still totally dismissive of peasants political consciousness and agency. He follows kafl pretty standard misconceptions about how spatial dispersal is not conducive to organized political action and that peasants are an irredeemably conservative and ignorant group that can see beyond its own individual defense of their meager plot of land.

The Agrarian Question

For instance, in a chapter on evaluating the potential of cooperatives, Kautsky wonders: Why do they stay at the stage of mere palliatives?

Not to say peasant livelihoods should be romanticized, but Kautsky is brutal in describing the self-exploitation enacted by peasants that makes them so useful for greasing up the gears of capitalist accumulation. But it seems the idea that peasants actually want to be peasants is beyond the pale for Kautsky. The power of the discourse regarding the necessity of large-scale agriculture is still very much hegemonic.


ResoluteReader: Karl Kautsky – The Agrarian Question – Volume 1

But there are many analyses that question this assumption that only large-scale agriculture can feed the world. As has been repeatedly pointed out, small-scale agriculture is actually much more efficient and productive if given agrarin requisite support.

If anyone else needs this, let me know.

Hopefully, the PDF will find its way to one of the existing archives. Could you help me with a link to the Pdf?

June 10, at September 16, at 2: September 16, at 6: October 1, at I too would appreciate a link to the text in qjestion, seems to be hard to find elsewhere. October 1, at 1: October 4, at October 11, at 9: October 12, at 9: Proudly powered by WordPress.