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in the capitalist countries, a private, entrepreneurial enterprise producing agricultural commodities and operated on owned or rented land. The farm population usually lives in buildings on the farm. The goal of operating a capitalist farm is to obtain monetary income in the form of profits.
The farm emerged with the development of capitalism and the involvement of agriculture in the system of market relations. Taking note of the progressive historical character of the farm as a form of capitalist economic activity on the land, V. I. Lenin emphasized that “the basis of capitalist agriculture now becomes the free farmer on free land, i.e., rid of all medieval junk” (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 17, p. 150) and that the farmer is an entrepreneur in agriculture. Differences in the genesis, degree of development, and socioeconomic status of farms in different countries are due to the individual characteristics and level of development of capitalist production relations in agriculture, the nature and degree of use of family and hired labor, land use conditions, the level of industrialization of agricultural production, the volume of capital investment, the extent of production specialization, the proportion of goods produced for market, and the strength and scope of intersectorial and interfarm ties.
Farms developed earliest and to the greatest degree in the USA and countries with a similar historical development of capitalism in agriculture, such as Canada, Australia, and New Zealand; in these countries agriculture arose as the result of colonization of both free land and land seized from the indigenous population. Farming in most Western European countries underwent a development pattern similar to that of capitalism in agriculture in Prussia, where there was a lengthy evolution of gentry estates into large capitalist enterprises and the peasantry became hired workers or rural bourgeoisie. Great Britain was an exception. There the farm, usually operated on rented land, became the predominant form of agricultural production earlier than in the other countries of Western Europe because peasant land-ownership was completely eliminated by the enclosures of the 17th century.
In the 1920’s and 1930’s agriculture in the USA, Canada, New Zealand, and Great Britain entered the machine stage of production; this transition occurred in the other developed capitalist countries of Western Europe in the 1950’s and 1960’s. As a result, farmers became the chief producers of agricultural commodities in these countries.
Agriculture is entirely based on commodity-money relations and is governed by the laws of capitalist competition. The development of agriculture on an industrial basis led to a sharp increase in the capital-labor and capital-output ratios of farms, and the economic vitality of farming enterprises was determined by the norm of capital accumulation. In order to survive the competitive struggle, farmers must constantly expand their market output by improving economic activity and increasing the mechanization, intensification, and specialization of production through a continuous rise in capital investment and the accumulation of land in one farm. In the USA, for example, the average size of a farm in 1974 was 180 hectares (ha), compared with 70 ha in 1940 and 55 ha in 1910. Similar trends have been noted in other countries. In Great Britain in 1973 the average size was approximately 50 ha (32 ha in 1960); in France, 23 ha (14 ha in 1956); in Denmark, 22 ha (15 ha in 1951); in Sweden, 22 ha (13 ha in 1956); in the Federal Republic of Germany, 13 ha (8 ha in 1950); and in the Netherlands, 14 ha (10 ha in 1950).
Increased concentration in production intensifies the process of social stratification of farmers, causing large-scale bankruptcy, the elimination of small farms, and a growth in the economic might of large farms. For example, in the USA in 1950, farms with a market output worth $10,000 constituted 32.6 percent of all farms and accounted for 75.4 percent of the total market output for agriculture; in 1974 the same farms constituted 48.9 percent of the total and produced 95.1 percent of the output. These farms included large capitalist farms with annual production worth $40,000 or more, which accounted for 16.6 percent of all farms and produced 71.1 percent of the market output; in 1950 these farms constituted just 2.8 percent of all farms, and their share of production was 26.7 percent. In the late 1960’s in the six Western European countries that founded the European Economic Community (EEC), 13.4 percent of the total number of agricultural enterprises had annual market outputs valued at more than 7,500 EEC payment units and provided more than 50 percent of the deliveries of agricultural output. In 1970 in Great Britain, 10 percent of the farms produced 50 percent of the market output.
In the preindustrial period of agricultural development most farms were operated on the basis of hired labor. With the transition of agriculture to the machine stage, the share of living labor in production costs decreases as the proportion of materialized labor increases, and the role of constant capital becomes much more important. Growth in the organic composition of capital is accompanied by a decrease in the proportion of hired workers; in the 1960’s and 1970’s in almost all the developed capitalist countries, the percentage of hired workers engaged in agriculture was lower than the percentage of owners of agricultural enterprises and family workers. In the early 1970’s in the USA, hired workers performed slightly more than 25 percent of all labor in the production of agricultural output; similarly, hired workers accounted for 23.2 percent in the six founding countries of the EEC, 12.6 percent in Sweden, and 11.9 percent in Denmark. As the concentration of agricultural production increases, hired labor is increasingly concentrated on large capitalist farms. The actual use of hired labor on farms is higher because part of the total labor is provided by hired workers in other sectors who render various types of production services in specialized nonagricul-tural firms.
Many farms, especially large specialized farms, have been drawn into a network of economic intersectorial ties, organized by large industrial companies and cooperatives on the basis of vertical integration. The development of these relationships causes the farms to lose their economic independence and become part of large capitalist agrarian-industrial conglomerates.
REFERENCESLenin, V. I. “Ekonomicheskoe soderzhanie narodnichestva i kritika ego v knige g. Struve.” Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 1.
Lenin, V. I. “K kharakteristike ekonomicheskogo romantizma.” Ibid., vol. 2.
Lenin, V. I. Razvitie kapitalizma v Rossii. Ibid., vol. 3.
Lenin, V. I. “Marksistskie vzgliady na agrarnyi vopros v Evrope i Rossii.” Ibid., vol. 7.
Lenin, V.I. Agrarnaia programma sotsial-demokratii v pervoi russkoi revoliutsii 1905–1907godov. Ibid., vol. 16.
Lenin, V. I. Agrarnyi vopros v Rossii k kontsu XIX veka. Ibid., vol. 17.
Lenin, V. I. Novye dannye o zakonakh razvitiia kapitalizma v zemledelii. Ibid., vol. 27.
Razvitye kapitalisticheskie strany: Problemy sel’skogo khoziaistva. Moscow, 1969.
Nadel’, S. N. Sotsial’naia struktura sovremennoi kapitalisticheskoi derevni. Moscow, 1970.
Martynov, V. A. Sel’skoe khoziaistvo SSh A i ego problemy. (Nauchno-tekhnicheskaia revoliutsiia i agrarnye otnosheniia). Moscow, 1971.
Sel’skoe khoziaistvo kapitalisticheskikh i razvivaiushchikhsia stran. Moscow, 1973.
Posledstviia industrializatsii sel’skogo khoziaistva v stranakh Zapadnoi Evropy. Moscow, 1975.
V. D. MARTYNOV
What does it mean when you dream about a farm?
Farms and farmers are naturally associated with growth and nourishment. Also, many city dwellers have older relatives who live on a farm, giving farms secondary associations with the past, with childhood, and with earlier stages of society. Other aspects of farm symbology are related to various stages of the agricultural cycle, such as planting and harvest.