Social Scientist. v 7, no. 78 (Jan 1979) p. 3.


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CLAUDE MEILLASSOUX

Over exploitation and Overpopulation:

the Proletarianisation of Rural Workers

AS a result of the use by big capital of techniques of production involving higher levels of productivity and the business concentration which goes with it, a new level of capital is reached with its corollary: an increase in relative overpopulation. Because of its extension throughout the world and particularly in countries dominated by international capital, the proletariat which had been created in its specific present form by the demand of capital at its preceding stages and which accumulated in the cities, is now rendered excess. Underemployment is not any longer technological or conjectural; it is structural. An important part of the population of the dominated countries, separated from the means of rural production, now find themselves without any means of subsistence while capital refuses to take in charge the unemployed it had created.

The Proletariat in the Dependent Countries

In the industrialized cities of dependent countries, the proletariat is characterized by a feeble integration into the capitalist sector, that is to say, by the fact that the income from wages is insufficient to ensure its physical reproduction. The degree of integration of workers with the capitalist sector may be gauged by: 1) the degree of stability and permanency of employment; 2) the mode of



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