[Marxism] An observation on capitalist agriculture

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu May 24 13:54:38 MDT 2018

Susan A. Mann makes a crucial point. If you think about the exploitation 
of wage labor as key to Marx's definition of capitalism, you really need 
to drill down when it comes to farming--a category that includes poultry 
farms and wheat farms that have a totally different use of labor. 
Poultry farms that consist of chickens maintained in vast buildings and 
that are processed in assembly line fashion require a labor force kept 
busy 12 months a year. (Unless we are talking about boutique organic 
free range farms.) I am talking about Purdue, et al. But a wheat farm is 
constrained by the growing conditions that has no need of labor while 
the plants are reaching maturity. In fact, that is why many wheat farms 
are family-owned and operated even though they require significant 
investment in machinery. Is a family farm a capitalist enterprise? That 
is a key question.

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