By Roger Burbach
Booklet through Burbach, Roger, Flynn, Patricia
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Extra info for Agribusiness in the Americas: The Political Economy of Corporate Agriculture
94. Introduction • 15 Rejecting Sweezy’s understanding of capitalism as distinguished from feudalism in terms of a system of production for exchange versus a system of production organised primarily for use-values – the rise of capitalism as simply the growth and eventual predominance of production for exchange value – Dobb attempts to locate the agents of change in their social production relations, but in a very limited manner. Way I and Way II are taken as general paths to capitalism operating across feudal Europe (or post-feudal Europe, depending on how it is defined).
Under the impact of the market, larger petty producers will accumulate surpluses; their size will give them technical advantages over smaller plots; they will ultimately outcompete the smaller units on the market. Nevertheless, to assume such a progression is to beg the central question. Brenner 1978, pp. 126–8. Dobb 1947, pp. 50–4. Brenner 1978, p. 128. 39 Brenner contrasts the ability on the part of much of the French peasantry to hold onto the land, and the apparent absence of any dispossession of peasants by market forces, with villein peasants in England, who were unable to establish widespread proprietorship and were vulnerable to supersession by larger producers who held leases from landlords.
As previously noted, although Marx broke with this conception, he tended to equate the expansion of waged labour with capitalism, without analysing the specific structures of property relations involved. Without the analytical tool of market dependency, one cannot show how producers enter a capitalist dynamic when they are subject to market compulsions and are subject to a process, the result of which is the commodification of labour-power. ’62 It should be clear then that the task at hand is to locate the logic of this process.
Agribusiness in the Americas: The Political Economy of Corporate Agriculture by Roger Burbach