State-Monopolistic Control of Agriculture

State-Monopolistic Control of Agriculture

 

the system of economic measures of a bourgeois state aimed at the implementation of an agrarian policy of a financial oligarchy. It reflects a new step in the increase of social control over agricultural production in the machine stage of its development. State-monopolistic control has accelerated the growth of large-scale capitalist production in agriculture, thus intensifying the process of elimination of small-scale production. At the same time, state-monopolistic control of agriculture is aimed at “cleaning” out the millions of small and medium peasants’ and farmers’ farms from agriculture, using means that will prevent political action by these peasants and farmers against the capitalist system.

In the postwar period, the financial oligarchy has attempted through state-monopolistic regulation of agriculture to form an alliance with not only the big agricultural bourgeoisie but also with broad strata of the agricultural middle bourgeoisie (middle and especially small capitalist peasantry and farmers who are well-to-do). However, insofar as the entire system of capitalist relations is based on the inevitable ruin and elimination of small-scale production from agriculture in its machine stage, these attempts at an alliance between the financial oligarchy and broad strata of the agricultural population must fail in the end. In all developed capitalist countries without exception, the economic concessions to the working masses of peasants and farmers have not changed the class nature of state-monopolistic regulation of agriculture; this regulation remains a weapon aimed at the working peasants and farmers.

The immediate cause of the development of state-monopolistic control of agriculture was the aggravation of economic and social contradictions of the agrarian system in the period of the general crisis of capitalism. The intrusion of the bourgeois state into the economic life of agriculture took place on a large scale in the first years of the interweaving of the world economic and the world agrarian crises (1929–33). In this period the intrusion was an attempt to restore the normal movement of the economic cycle. The prolonged agrarian crisis in the major countries exporting agricultural products (USA, Canada, Australia, and, in part. New Zealand) and the necessity of restoring on a new technological level the agriculture of the West European countries destroyed during World War II (1939—45) exerted a considerable influence on the development of state-monopolistic control of agriculture in the postwar period. State-monopolistic control of agriculture was strengthened by the trade war in the world market of agricultural products in the 1950’s and 1960’s, the aggravation of the social conflicts based on the massive ruin of peasants and farmers in the course of the technological reequipment of agriculture, and other contradictions of the capitalist economy.

The forms and methods of state-monopolistic control of agriculture are considerably different in different countries, based on the following factors: the level of development of capitalism in agriculture, the degree of stratification of the peasantry and farmers, the proportion of large-scale capitalist production, the development of agricultural cooperation, and the level of monopolization of sectors processing agricultural products. The forms and methods of state-monopolistic control of agriculture are also determined by the position of a country in the system of the international division of labor and in the world market. The fundamental orientations of the measures of state-monopolistic control, which are to some extent characteristic of all or most of the developed capitalist countries, consist of the following: support by the state of prices of agricultural products, the stimulation of technological reconstruction and technological progress in agriculture, agrarian protectionism and agricultural dumping, and the regulation or restriction of agricultural production.

Large sums of money are spent in the developed capitalist countries to carry out the measures of state-monopolistic control of agriculture. For example, at the end of the 1960’s in the USA, the budgetary appropriations for agriculture provided approximately half of the net income of farmers; in Great Britain, it made up 80–90 percent of this income; and in the Federal Republic of Germany, approximately 80 percent. In Sweden, the budgetary appropriations were one-third higher than the net income of farmers. However, more than half of the funds allocated by the government for the regulation of agriculture go to support the capitalist elite of the rural population. In the USA, for example, more than 80 percent of the appropriations for the support of prices and income in those years went to the large-scale and very rich farmers.

State-monopolistic control of agriculture does not affect the basis of private capitalist property in the means of production, and it only modifies, without eliminating, the anarchy and competition of capitalist agricultural production. The deepening of the basic contradiction of capitalism—the contradiction between the social character of production and its appropriation by private capitalists—has found its clearest agricultural manifestation in the development of the postwar crisis of overproduction of agricultural products in the USA and a number of other capitalist countries.

V. A. MARTYNOV

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