Social Scientist. v 2, no. 14 (Sept 1973) p. 14.

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Some Features of the Political Economy of Agriculture in a Tamil Village


WE described the class structure in Thaiyur Panchayat and the distribution of the paddy produce in Part One (Social Scientist, August 1973). In Table 5 we bring together these two analyses to give a full view of the structure of exploitation in Thaiyur agriculture. We contrast on the one hand, the contribution of different classes to paddy production, and on the other, the distribution of incomes generated from that production. We get an index of exploitation as the difference between the proportion of income received and the proportion of work done. This is shown in Table 6. A negative index of exploitation indicates that the class in question is an exploited one and a positive figure indicates an exploiting class.

We see that the main forms under which the wage labour of the agricultural workers and the family labour of the Tree5 farmers are exploited are usury, landlordism and employment by big capitalist farmers.35 Commercial exploitation is, from the village point of view, rather insignificant36 although on the aggregate level, the commercial exploitation of agriculture cannot easily be excluded. We note also that big farmers account for only about half the exploitation of wage labour and that the small and middle farmers for the rest. In

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