Social Scientist. v 6, no. 63 (Oct 1977) p. 13.


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KARL SCHOER

Agrarian Relations and the Development of the Forces of Production

WHEN DISCUSSING the quasi'stagnation of the agrarian sector fiom a historical and materialistic point of view., it is tempting to propose tliat the agiarian social structure is an important, if not the crucial,, factor preventing the development of the agrarian forces of production. Most of those who argue along these lines, do so on the basis of what we term the dualistic approach.^ According to this approach, once the characteristics of feudal or semi-feudal relations have been denned, the principal task is to identify this relation in reality, to assess its relative weight vis-a-vis capitalist elements and to indicate the trend or direction of movement. Further, it is assumed that there can be no doubt that the economic interests of the ^feudal lords55 militate against the development of the forces of production and that the principal contradiction is between the feudal lords and the capitalist elements, though superimposed by other contradictions which may lead, temporarily., to a political alliance of these two classes.

Such an approach, however, does not seem to describe the conditions in Indian agriculture adequately for two reasons: first, many exploiters combine the exploitation of wage labour, that is, the capitalist mode of exploitation, with the exploitation through appropriation of ground rent, trade and usury, thati^, those modes of exploitation u-ually



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