Social Scientist. v 8, no. 94 (May 1980) p. 52.


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NOTE

Production Relations and Spatial Variation in Agricultural Wage Rates

IN the theory of wages, the neo-classical theory, which holds that wages are determined by marginal productivity, dominates. It implies that there is a positive relationship between the wage rate and the productivity of labour. Higher the productivity, higher is the wage rate and lower the productivity, lower is the wage rate. The empirical validity of this theory has been derived mainly from the evidences of the industrial sector in the post-feudal Europe, United States of America, twentieth century Japan and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

Kalpana Bardhan also holds the view, on the basis of Indian data, that "irrigation or multiple cropping docs^generate a positive response not only in the wage income but also in the daily wage rate for agricultural labourers.'51

In this process, it seems, the more essential aspect of the theory of wages, namely, the influence of the historical stage of production relations, is overlooked. While referring to British agriculture, Marx emphasized the same aspect in his pamphlet, Wages, Price and Profit (1898): "The important part which historical tradition and social habitude play in this respect, you may learn from Mr Thornton's work on over-population, wher'e he shows that average wages in different agricultural districts of England still nowadays differ more or less according to the more or less favourable circumstances under which the districts have emerged from the state of serfdom." And any attempt to verify the marginal productivity theory satisfactorily has to look into the historical development of production relations.

Production relations are the relationships of men as a class (mainly direct producers and owners of the means of production) pertaining to production and exchange. Thus, the purpose of the study is to analyze the relationship between wage rate and the productivity of labour in relation to historical evolution of production



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