Social Scientist. v 12, no. 129 (Feb 1984) p. 3.

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The Marxist Theory of Ground Rent: Relevance to the Study of Agrarian Question in India

THE CENTENARY YEAR of the death of Karl Marx is coming to an end. The Marxist-Leninists in India, along with their comrades in the rest of the world, have used the occasion for an intensive study of Marxist theory as it is applied to the concrete conditions of the present-day India and of the world as a whole. Various specific problems faced by the practical revolutionary movement have been subjected to study and criticism.

There is however one important aspect of the theory of Marxism which has been left out of this study. That is the theory of Ground Rent. Lenin calls the detailed analysis made by Marx in Volume III of Capital dealing with Ground Rent "the most important section" of the book. His work Karl Marx gives an extremely valuable summary of the main elements of the theory of Ground Rent, its division into differential and absolute rent, the capitalisation of the Ground Rent into the price of land and its harmful consequences on the growth of agriculture, etc.

It should be admitted that those who undertook the study and popularisation of Marxism in India have not paid any attention to this "most important section" of Marx's Capital. This is true not only of our work during this centenary year but earlier as well. None of the studies made by Indian Marxists on the agrarian question so far made any attempt to base itself on the Marxist theory of Ground Rent. This reminds us of what Lenin wrote about the Russian "Social Democratic press on the question of Agrarian Programme", "practical considerations predominate over theoretical considerations, political considerations over economic".

Lenin went on: "The excuse for the majority of us of course are the conditions of intense party work under which we discuss the agrarian programme in the revolution: first after January 22 (9), 1905, a few months before the outbreak and then on the day after the December insurrection and on the eve of the first state duma. But this defect must at all events be removed now, and an examination of the theoretical

*General Secretary^ Communist Party of India (Marxist)

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