The man and the work of the Sun
"Is the agricultural wealth due to the work of God as believed in feudalism or rather to the work of man as claimed by the bourgeoisie? Here's an old debate founded on false antinomies wich have been caused by the succession of social forms both based on exploitation and private partition of the product. Today, the victorious bourgeoisie doesn't actually think about theoretical problems, it only cares about accumulation. For marxist science - although there's no rent of land witnout human exploitation, appropriation of value, payment to the farmer from society - the agricultural product is a fruit of nature, in the same way as the man and his work are. They really are the product of an infinitesimal part of the energy the Sun diffuses into the space and that, coming in contact with the Earth, gives rise to the chemistry of life. In the classless society no one will "appropriate", no one will "pay"; once the relationship between man and nature will be rationally resolved, the human species won't need to split the work of the man from the work of the sun. The whole land rent theory is contained in this comparison between today and tomorrow, and every other approach has to be considered as pre-marxist" (cf. Prospetto introduttivo alla questione agraria, Partito Comunista Internazionale, 1953).
The series of articles focused on the immediate program of communist revolution has the purpose of developing the nine points outlined during the Forlì congress in 1952. None of them was related to the fundamental problem of agriculture, although during that period this topic wasn't put aside, since it was the core of other important texts in progress. Confidently we add it, keeping in perspective the above texts, particularly the collection with the title "Mai la merce sfamerà l'uomo" ("Never commodity will feed the man") published between 1953 and 1954.
End of natural economy
From the first forms of social organization up to feudalism, within a process that lasted thousands years, agriculture was developed inside natural economies. These economies they didn't require accounts in terms of value,therefore neither the use of money.
Traditionally, in the ancient Rome, the ruling class' wealth came from the land. Descending from the rural tribes was a source of pride, as well as belonging to generations which hadn't even out with the urban classes who were rich but no longer had roots in the land. A land which was always pervaled by a primeval sacredness until the fall of the empire and that was traded only occasionally and quite later; ancient history of the large landed estate is not made of trades but of usurpations, plunderings and killings. A large number of soldiers, who were entrusted with the land, weren't glad to cultivate it, so they bartered it for duties in the service of the ruling classes. So the greatness of Rome, earlier founded on the land in itself, was later based on concentration of the land in few hands, on the extent of controlled territory, on monoculture and on the enslaving production of a surplus for the market.
For thousands of years, in every continent, the humankind has lived off the products of the land without making property of it. The Incas, for example first took the land away from the defeated local communities to then relocate the whole taking into account the wide territorial unity they had recently reached as well as the resulting social centralization: most of it was given in direct support of the communities, while the remaining, cultivated through a system of "corvée", was given to solar deity and for the Sapa Inca. So the entire society was reorganized on the basis of a surplus, which was not capitalized in any way but was intended as a social distribution controlled by a central authority. This was not the "State" since the Inca, his entourage and the priesthood were not a class, and not even a propertor rank.
The feudal type of exchange, including that widespreading in the late Middle Ages and which in fact anticipated the real market, had been limited to handicrafts while agricultural production was almost exclusively traded through a non-mercantile relationship between classes of the time. The serf used to pay in kind the portion of the product to the feudal lord, exactly as the tithe to the Church. The peasant life was independent from the market: indeed he produced himself his own means of support, he built his own house, furnitures, household utensils, he wove and packaged his own clothes and so on. Since his existence depended on land and the whole society depended on him, the fields had to be preserved and could not be a property as we initend it today. Natural devastations or war plunderings appeared as short-lived disasters that the whole society handled devoting part of the collective work; that is why the local lord had a direct interest, not only military, in defending the feud and its inhabitants. The system appeared as stationary. The proliferation of trades anticipating capitalism opened up to the traffic the closed feudal islands, which were finally dissolved by production and circulation of goods and money.
As the specific capitalist relationship of production arose, the bond between man and land changed. Products of the land started to be traded, as they became goods, acquiring a general market value, and the possibility to buy or sell the land itself appeared, a land valued as any other commodity. Therefore the rise of the new economic form entailed the birth of the industrialization process of the country, which reached its climax when modern scientific knowledge got through techniques of cultivation. As soon as science pervaded agriculture, more and more food was produced, population grew, exodus towards the cities began; because of land natural limits this situation caused the price increase of agricultural products and the consequent growing impoverishment of the human mass.
The process was long but inexorable. Until the end of the 15th century, agriculture had shown its limits with towards the needs of the new rising era. Columbus' voyage was one of the many paths that explorers-merchants blazed, driven by productive and demographic exuberance; the new findings did nothing but accelerating the cycle that had been launched, and that, until the early seventeenth century, saw a constant increase in prices of staple foods. During this age such increase halved the real income of wages and salaries for a population which was meanwhile considerably increased; at the same time - and for this reason - pastures and forests were ploughed and became profitable, therefore more advanced techniques of cultivation, fertilization and irrigation were introduced. Dams and canals' Dutch experts were called across Europe to plan hydraulic structures, while in Italy the oldest Lombard's structures were developed and adapted to the new monocultures, including rice; companies for the drain of swamps, wich were financed by rising Dutch capital, were created in France; networks of canals for navigation and irrigation were dug in Germany and in England.
This food and mercantile revolution was product and factor at the same time, long before the bourgeois revolution, of a staggering increase of human population (on the basis of that age's standards); in fact, in Europe, from the 16th to the 18th century, population went from 60 to 140 million people. It was either the main factor of the next industrial revolution, which subsequently prepared the current conditions. If today's duty of communists is to see what are the present characters which are to anticipate next social transition, this should also be done with regard to agriculture.
Capitals injections and increase in productivity
The land is a peculiar mean of production because its fertility changes from area to area and opportunities of human intervention over it aren't unlimited. Even presuming that the production technique is always the same, differences among soils in terms of quality remain. If the value of industrial products is controlled by labour productivity, and a rise of it is followed by a general reduction of prices, the opposite happens with food production. Indeed, the worse cultivated land ever (the one really closed to justify an abandonment) sets the price of the agricultural commodities, while there is an additional gain for those producing in more advantageous conditions. The differential rent given by more productive lands isn't a transitory phenomenon as the excess profit which, in industry, is due to methods, equipment and innovations available to any capitalist; the peculiarity of different lands makes the differential rent a stable element of capitalist agriculture.
The increasing spread between industrial prices (which tend to lower), and agricultural prices (which tend to rise), is due to this difference between rent and profit. While the former are closely connected to the pressure coming from the development of the social productive force, the latter tend to increase because of the limited available land compared to the increase of all the other social parameters: population, production, consumption, productivity and so on.
Historically even agricultural productivity has known several leaps forward: within one century world population has increased fourfold, although on average it feeds better than in the past on food coming from an agricultural surface which has poorly increased, since farming new arable lands in recent developing countries goes hand in hand with a loss due to urbanization and abandonment of barren soil in the old capitalist countries. In Italy, for instance, 5.000 hectares (ca 12.500 acres) of agricultural land has been lost from the end of the Second World War until today (2001), only because of urbanisation and infrastructures; as if every year a city of about 100.000 inhabitants appeared (Barrass reports an increase of the Italian population as big as the city of Turin every 4 years). Moreover there has been a loss of almost all the lowland rich soil. In UK from 1919 to 2000, urbanisation has extended over 1.667.000 hectares (ca 4.120.000 acres) of agricultural soil (16% of the territory composed by England and Wales, excluding Scotland) because of the lower building density in the cities.
The fertile soil is limited and this factor in agriculture is decisive to the race for technical reorganization of the companies and for the expulsion of labour force. The available soil is just the one formed within million years and its deficiency already forces men to cultivate within greenhouses without soil, to breed within farms without pastures and forage. Unlike industry where production has no theoretical limits. The rise of productivity of modern agricultural company is due to the introduction of "improved" species, of forced fertilizing and feeding cycles, of automatic devices and pharmacological cycles, all within environments with controlled parameters, more and more similar to industry.
All this has been realized through a very hard division of labour and gigantic capital investments, so that the difference between the entire agricultural system and the industrial one is less and less visible. Producing the raw material and semi finished products within a wider production cycle, agriculture leaves to industry the monopoly of their subsequent processing and at the same time it becomes itself part of the industry. It acquires some much industrial features, including high specialization, that wide areas of the planet are reserved to monoculture of wheat, corn, rice, coffee, cotton, soya, peanut, cocoa, sugar cane, tea etc. This phenomenon is generated by capitals injection and needs even more capitals in order to consolidate and develop into improved forms: a real vicious circle.
The tendency to intensive monoculture breaks the traditional crop rotation and leaves to the past the set-aside of the exploited land. Thus the biological re-cycling of soil is so spoiled that the addition of natural and chemical fertilizers becomes essential, as well as additional water and work by means of improved machines, hybrid seeds, now genetically modified. So, the rise of foodstuff production is inevitably closely related to an increased energy waste, which means more capital credit, higher costs, and also selection among farmers. In the US, within thirty years, the output per hectare of corn has tripled, but the costant capital necessary for its cultivation has increased fourfold; this situation allows only the bigger agricultural holdings to obviate the fall of profit margin through the bulk of production. In every ecological model, either natural or artificial, greater food availability generates greater population. In 2006 world cereals production will be 12% greater than today and will exceed 2 billion tonnes, but population will increase as much and food demand even more, especially in the most populated countries; because of this OCSE foreseen a price rise of 26% for the grain.
The massive utilization of chemistry has been devastating the natural fertility of soil, even if in principle it was to supply to the soil the elements for a plant growth. A lack of biological equilibrium has occured, an equilibrium which not only allows the soil to keep fertile, but also to form along entire geological eras, or to regenerate after disruptive natural events, such as run-off rain water or erosive action of wind. Exhaustion of organic material mineralizes and makes the soil to be tough, compact, not able to keep humidity; thus the vicious cycle is fueled and consequently the use of more engines, more fertilizers, more modified seeds and more pesticides becomes necessary.
Concerning the agricultural product, the loss of nutritional facts and the rise of costs go hand in hand. Fruits and vegetables are picked when still unripe to either anticipate the action of some kinds of parasites, which tend to attack mature fruits, or to respond to the requirements of complex markets which often need a long term storage. Most of the time a favourable period in fluctuation of prices is purpously awaited. Quite often fruits and vegetables, which are kept in cold storage, suddenly "ripen" during the transportation and are bought just in time before decaying. The refrigerated pile of fruits and vegetables, and the ensilage of cereals into terminals, equipped for parasites control, increase the necessity for displacement, therefore sometimes transportation by itself has an impact up to 60% on the final price.
Process of country side mechanisation causes a huge effect of constant capital over agricultural products and over the ultimate capitalistic conquest of land: let's say that 100 was the average world time for men and available machines to make hay out of one hectare of wheat at the end of the Nineteenth century, well, that index went down to 63 at the beginning of the Twentieth century and to 30 between the two wars. Comparison between man and machine is even more striking than that: it took four or five days to a farmer to pasture one hectare of land while a harvesting machine (with horses) could make it in four hours. A modern combine harvester makes it even more glaring since it adds, to velocity of motorized harvesting, the advantage of furnishing an already threshed wheat and an already compacted straw; of course the costs of fixed capital rise more than proportionately.
At the beginning of the XX century in the United States 25.000 tractors where already at work; 246.000 in 1920, 1.6 million in 1940, 4.7 million in 1960 (meanwhile agricultural holdings passed from a surface of 55 to 185 ha). In Italy, in twenty years from the beginning of the 50s, tractors passed from 60.000 to 600.000 while people working in agricultural field had halved. From 1960 the so-called green plans, five-years plans foreseeing economical incentives and priority agreements to purchase agricultural engines produced by FIAT, made the number of tractors to increase: nowadays it is stable around 1.5 million. During the last 40 years agricultural production had an increase of 250% while farmers passed from 20% to 6% of total employment. On the other hand, because of the inheritance right, namely the property, the extreme fragmentation of companies has not yet reduced, in fact only 4% of them exceeds 20 ha and 6% is under 3 ha; the increased mechanisation has just turned into an excess of constant capital per surface unit, and not into a resulting productivity. So the value of advanced capital for fixed investments, except the real estate, has doubled during the period in wich the machines increase was at its high, going from 12% in 1951 to 24% in 1971 but without allowing a profit recovering.
Capitalism is now facing a contradiction wich manifests itself at the same time with the surplus of agricultural production of some developed countries, with the reduction of agricultural profit, and with the rise of prices, the latter caused by the recovery through the rent of what is lost in profit. Indeed, to sum up, the agricultural company summarizes profit capital and property capital (the rent), which means the plus value coming from other sectors of production.
Agriculture as a "non-saleable service"
Agriculture's unique characteristics, such as the development time of the harvest, the change of seasons, the animals life cycle and the influence of the environment, all these prevent the agricultural system from competing with the industrial sector in terms of efficiency and performance; factors as the introduction of technology and the increase in productivity, regardless of what happens in the industrial sector, and beyond certain limits, are of no use in terms of raising the level of quality. Also for this reason, worldwide capitals have been focused on financing the investments in bio-technologies that, by "adjusting" natural factors being under the environment influence, would allow to simulate some of the industrial cycle's characteristics.
If there is a limit to consumption on the industrial aspect, it is even narrower regarding agriculture: there's a limit in how much food and drink a man can swallow, and many industrial materials coming from the ground, such as wood, wool, and other fibers for textile industry, are now replaced by metal and plastic materials. The problem that is nowadays plaguing the farm in developed countries is no longer low productivity, as it was in the past, but its chronic relative overproduction. Notwithstanding, these countries cannot rely on the laws of the world market and cannot simply import food in exchange for industrial products: in the case of food for domestic population this does not just occurs as an economic issue, but as a non negligible political-economic matter.
This situation forces nations to adopt more and more targeted intervention policies. From 1964, for instance, in the European Common Market the fruit-and-vegetable sector is regulated by withdrawing the surplus of fruits and of some vegetables, whereas a system of direct support of farmers' income is introduced for wheat and olive oil sectors. Meanwhile in the US a similar process is activated with opened protectionist aspects and a wise use of a strategic grain monopoly. Thus a mixed mechanism is build in the central nerves of world's agriculture system, consisting in the destruction of some products, incentives to the production of some others and, above all, a total closure to protect the national food systems in imperialist countries; this mechanism has been such rapidly generalized that it has become a global vital feature.
In 1987 the amount of cereal, milk and meat stored by the European Community reached 24,000 billions Lit. (Italian lira): to have a term of comparison, it was equal to the 60% of the added value of the whole italian agriculture in the same year. These products were withdrawn from the market to be further destroyed or disposed of in areas without influence on the formation of international prices, while producers were compensated with a "guaranteed minimum price". Obviously, disposal of Western surplus is directed toward poor countries, while a real protectionism is applied with regards to their products.
Thus at this stage, it is quite clear how the terms of value in modern agriculture are somewhat altered. If we express the value of an agricultural product with the addition of its classical components, namely constant capital, variable capital, profit, interest, and rent, we immediately realize that the entry "profit" is insignificant compared to the rest. The entry "surplus value + salary" (added value) in agriculture has been historically declined because of a massive desertion by part of the labour-force. A disertion which has absolutely no equivalent in industry where, on the contrary, the number of proletarians has constantly increased, eventhough these increments have decreased over time. Conversely, all the other entries have gained importance. First of all, as we have seen, the constant capital (the capital anticipated for machinery, equipment, fuel, energy, seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, animal fattening, feed, etc.). But also the interest and the rent: the former being already responsible for the ruin of the indebted peasantry from the time of ancient Rome; the latter being responsible for the diversion of surplus value towards the farmer - based on his monopoly over the land - to compensate his loss of profit.
So here's the rent becoming the keystone of the transformation of the whole worldwide agriculture which - this is now a historical fact - is no longer a productive sector by itself, however dysfunctional, but a service provided for the survival of the Capital. Since humanity, committed to capitalist production - including the increasing mass of relative surplus world population that doesn't produce anything at all- must still be fed, and since most powerful countries cannot give up on their "food sovereignty" for strategic reasons, the whole Society keeps alive the employees attached to food" as it keeps alive firemen, Red Cross nurses, teachers, policemen, soldiers.
The budget of a modern state reveals the irreplaceable function of sharing the surplus value within society aiming to pegging the "compulsory course" of agricolture in this phase of high capitalistic development. The more the specific gravity of agriculture becomes insignificant on the whole of real economy(production of value), the more the States direct subsidies toward it. In fact, although the growth rate of fundings is much higher than the increase of farming development; agriculture will never be left to investment coming from a single capital and never to the market. Above all we should keep in mind that the value of agricultural products is part of the salary value, therefore their relinquishment to the free market system would bring a sprawling and traumatic rebalancing between surplus value and variable capital. This is why a regulating state intervention is also so essential.
The huge transfer of surplus value towards the service apparatus of Capital, within modern society, specifically towards agriculture, can be proved with few data taken from the official annual reports. In Italy, as for to the whole mass of value produced ex novo in one year (around 2 million of billion Lit.), agriculture contributes with around 50.000 billion Lit., wich means only the 2,5%; in the United States and Japan agriculture produces 2% of the total value; in France the 3,3%; in Germany the 1,2%; in UK the 1,7%. However, considering the fact that they do not participate to the production of new value, the above services absorb around 250.000 billion Lit., equal to 12,5% of the overall value. As we can see, farming is not only the smallest part of the economy, it is also quite inexpensive since it's considered as a sort of "national food service": it represents the 16.6% of the non-saleable services. Actually, the difference between the value of food for the whole population and the maintenance of police and schoolteachers is more exiguous: considering the value added by industrial food transformation, Italy spends about 200.000 billion Lit. for food and beverage. Moreover, 50.000 billion Lit. do not only correspond to food, but to the whole agricultural product: timber, tobacco, flowers, farm holidays, etc.
The gross amount of farming production is a partial data. During the 1989/1991 period, according to a report of the Italian National Institute of Agrarian Economy, agricolture received about 17.000 billion Lit. in state support. Moreover, extra 13.500 billion Lit. were paid indirectly by consumers through the system of reference prices established to State discretion on some key products; in addition, other 8.120 billion have been directed toward agriculture through tax and social security relief; in the end, up to 38.500 billion Lit. is gone to the peasant class, equalling 88% of the total value produced during years 1989 to 1991: as if each of the 2,5 million Italian "official" peasants had put in his pocket a 1,25 million Lit. monthly cheque .
It is not a matter of periodic oscillations within a country but an irreversible process; in fact, in 1999 on average each of the 9 million European farmers received subsidies equalling 38 million Lit. per year, which were obviously added to their "normal" income. This has represented a real transfer of income from all the other classes to the peasantry: each family of the European Union "paid" 2,75 million Lit. in food extra charge, together with taxes for other types of services. The 65% of it was a direct payment through State, and the 35% was indirect payment through prices manipulation. Other capitalist countries were no less so: the average received by each farm owner of the non-EU OECD was 25.5 million Lit., with a high peak of 75 million in Norway and Switzerland, followed by Japan with 59, by the United States with 46, by Canada with 21, and by New Zealand with 2.
A special case is represented by Germany which receives less than what it pays ("German industry feeds the French agriculture," says the Economist). The total amount of subsidies for the German peasants is not much(11.500 billion Lit.), but in Germany there are in total only 429.000 farms of which less than a half operates full time. So 185.000 companies being within the parameters of the EU share the total, each of them pocketing 62 million, a sum per capita which is much higher than the average. Regarding Italy, data show us some discrepancies: officially farmers should be 2,5 million, however the European statistical office (Eurostat) declares they are the 7% of the employed persons; given that these are 23 million, then "real" farmers should be 1.6 million and the state support per capita should increase accordingly, thus their contribution to GDP and their income. But maybe a million ghost farmers represents a side of the Italic cunning. Since the generic global income is the sum of wages and surplus value, it is clear that the transfer occurs by penalising these two items representing the entire value produced within the society by proletariat. This means that in Italy a million of idlers "peasants" beneficiaries are to be added to relative overpopulation.
The future accession to the European Union of some countries rather backward in agriculture, such as Poland, Romania, Turkey, in wich a considerable portion of the population is still tied to land, will necessarily push towards a further increase in subsidies (and speculations).
Obviously the inverse relationship between the decrease of the value in agricultural production and the increase of state subsidies has a limit beyond which the transfer of value in this sphere of production cannot go, because you don't want to extract to infinity more and more surplus value from fewer and fewer workers. A historical social decay situation arises again, which Marx already compared with the late Roman Empire: keeping too many people instead of exploiting them always gets a class society into trouble. The surplus value extracted from the modern proletariat allows the survival of capitalism indeed, wich, by means of state distribution, finds a precarious equilibrium between chaotic and violent thrusts: the whole unproductive part of society is maintained, composed by real capitalists who survived the mutual expropriation, the half classes, the imposing mass of the home-ministerial and military lackeys, and finally to the equally impressive body of lumpenproletariat. Notwithstanding this perverse mechanism is very dangerous for bourgeois society. While on one side it represents a social safety network, on the other it produces an average between the very high productivity of industry and the dissipation of social energy around: the result of it is an overall disastrous output.
The final submission of land to Capital
During the postwar years, despite the rise in agricultural prices and the decrease of the industrial ones, and despite the early state interventions, almost everywhere in Europe general access to credit was still denied to the peasants, therefore the related necessary modernization. It was a vicious circle, because the fragmentation of the property generated too small farm that could not grow because of the inability to accumulate capital and to guarantee the debts. On the other hand, subsidies alone were intended to keep a situation, that they'd have wanted to get rid of, on going: while development of modernized farms tended to provoke a fierce competition against those which, despite the rising prices, could not get out of their condition. At this point the exodus from the countryside was inevitable, mmeaning the abandonment of the land in search of best sources of income in the city. Good lowlands, although not sold due to low prices, were however rented out or cultivated personally by former farmers, now workers, but with a totally marginal production. Given the increasing productivity of the best lands, many lands of mountain, hills and arid areas were abandoned because of their low yield or because of their inaccessibility.
The task of regulating the exodus from the countryside and the formation of more efficient farms, through interventions on prices, was entrusted to the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (EAGF), an oganization created in July 1964 in Brussels. However the guidelines of the new agricultural capitalist model failed to materialize in any country into a genuine agrarian reform touching the property; it only ended up sanctioning the general adoption of 1) a limit, the "intervention price" , below which the State guaranteed the withdrawal of the product at a given price from the market; 2) an additional income supporting farmers incomes; 3) a "threshold price" which placed a duty on product imported from non-EU countries in case they were too competitive.
In a short amount of time, the incorporation in all countries of a policy of artificial control over domestic prices, including driven subsidies and trade barriers, led to the formation of a price differential between domestic and world market, often used for interstate competition reasons. It's not a coincidence, though, that the area of greatest conflicts in international economic relations is precisely agriculture. From the '60s onwards, agriculture has always been a separate topic in the treaties of the WTO (formerly GATT), being the object of particular negotiations and constant contrasts. These contrasts being particularly harsh between the U.S. and the European Union regarding the assessments regarding subsidies use, complemented by acrimonious retaliation politics. But after all this is normal, since protectionism and trade wars are part of interstate relations nature. Free trade never really existed, least of all in agriculture; it was officially buried by the major capitalist countries, during the '60s, forced to draw a real safety network around food sector, being it so crucial as to be part of the national strategic plans, although it represents - as we pointed out - an insignificant element from the standpoint of the general valorization of capital.
Food dependence of too many countries is becoming a global problem involving the policy of alliances between States. Some of them, like Egypt and Korea, import almost the wholeness of their foodstuffs, others, like Japan, are still heavily dependent on foreign countries. Within underdeveloped world, certain outdated forms of agricultural production stand next to the activities of big agricultural multinational companies, but it would be wrong interpreting them as due to a delay of the local capitalist cycle. The survival of large areas of poverty linked to a very poor agriculture is a direct consequence of developed capitalism, in which sophisticated raw food materials, product of agricultural science, now face too blatantly with those of the typical subsistence agriculture. There is no way of either spontaneous local capitalist accumulation or national land reform that can make an "emerging" country competitive with all the old capitalist countries. Only China, which has a thousand-years--old agriculture based on waters control, managed to free itself from dependence on food, while India, which has to feed a human mass of the same order of magnitude, has a totally devastated agriculture.
The process of submitting agriculture to capital has been slow and tortuous. At the beginning of the 20th century the modern farm was still very little wide-spread across Europe as a production model. The most important mechanical inventions in agriculture had been applied for the first time in the United States from the second half of the 19th century but were prevented to widespread because of their cost, apart from the all-steel plow by John Deer. At the end of the century the McCormick reaper stood out, as well as some gigantic steam threshers which needed 40 horses to be pulled. A real mechanization of agriculture applied only later, especially in Europe. Until first Postwar, there were a lot of causes for its limited diffusion: the need for massive private capitals, that have however a preference for the industrial, banking and speculative investment; the distance of the country from the industrial centers; the still underdeveloped road system; the lack of fuel and electrical systems with their large distribution networks; the lack of technical and scientific personnel. All items lacking at the time the agrarian capitalism and that only the work of generations could have formed together with the elimination of the problem related to the country fragmentation in many European areas.
It was industry, in most of the cases, that managed to impose its machines over the country, even when were woefully unused. And the State, intervening on the industry's behalf, allowed access to capital by farmers, supplying it for free or even at negative interest. When the industry reaches a high degree of development, agriculture also necessarily follows and changes. Not only thanks to machines but also to the introduction of industrial organizational forms. "Once the capitalist mode of production is firmly established" - Engels says in the "Antidühring - "the degree to which it subdued the conditions of production occurs in the transformation of capital into real estate. So the capital anchor its place in the land itself. By now, the solid conditions provided by nature to the land come from the industry alone". Urbanization, which was the cradle and the factor of industry, now is its monstrous product, and makes its way into every area of the globe.
Modern capitalism, once sattled in backward areas, cannot develop locally in the same way as in the primitive accumulation, that is the expropriation of the peasants and their transformation into workers, birth and development of manufactures, their conversion into large-scale industry, etc.. The conditions that originally were at the base of capitalist development occur today as a results of its own evolution. For example, farmers from poor areas of the world have been dispossessed of land either because of the low prices due to the agricultural policies of industrialized countries, or because of the centralization process of local agricultural industry due to direct investments, not because of a new "late" genesis of capitalism. In the global agriculture this reversal of perspective is very clear: undeveloped peripheral countries are now engaged in advanced forms of monoculture farming, no longer producing for domestic consumption but for international export. As the very poor Bangladesh, which produces one third of the world's jute; like Senegal, where subsistence agriculture was sacrificed for the sake of peanut oil; such as Colombia, where the production of wheat has given way to carnations for the U.S. market; such as Egypt, where the production of high-quality cotton for export has supplanted food, almost all imported; as Vietnam, where traditional agriculture is giving way to more profitable plantations of "robusta" quality coffee, whereof it became the first producer in the world; such as Malaysia, which produces half of the world's palm oil.
Monoculture allows the country committed to it to exchange between a product suitable to be grown in certain conditions and the food that it replaces, but it exposes the same country to international price fluctuations, completely outside of its control. The price of the Vietnamese "robusta", for example, has plummeted in the last year from 1740 to 870 Lit. per kilogram provoking revolts of the peasants who, in some areas, now economically depend for the 80% on that production.
Reversal in progress
A company can judge the market only on the basis of its own immediate interests; if it discovers, as happened in Mexico, that it can earn twenty times more cultivating tomatoes for Americans rather than corn for Mexicans, it will pursue its own interest and to the detriment of the general one. While corn is scarce in Mexico, in the United States it abounds as anywhere else in the world, and will be exported. After all, the production and trade of dogs and cats food arouses more attention of the livelihood of millions of people, for the simple fact that their demand comes from industrial countries and it is solvent, while the demand of starving people of the Third World for any kind of food is not solvent. For this reason the fishy waters of Peru, a country that traditionally likes fish but consume only a little amount of it because of its price, provide a lot of raw material for the meatballs for the adorable creatures of the gringos.
The specific capitalist production of commodities, seizing definetively the agrarian sphere, subordinated the immediate personal consumption to the mass production and sale of the land products, especially food. In the giant global supermarket there is surplus of food, but only those who participate not only marginally in the formation of capital are allowed to buy it in sufficient quantity and quality. The others, rolled in their little family field, or dispossessed of their land without being able to become proletarians, or driven to the vast slums of the new metropolis, can just be topic for lectures on "world hunger".
There will never be a return to forms of economic liberalism in agriculture (as in all the other sectors): the process is irreversible. Consider the failure of the Fair Act, the U.S. Congress passed in 1995, with the aim to liberalize the domestic agricultural market: the law sanctioned the complete freedom on agricultural production volume between 1996-2002 and the result was catastrophic. Before the end of the experiment, the U.S. Congress was repeatedly called to vote urgent assistance schemes. In 1999, U.S. farmers received record subsidies, approximately 24 billion $ (compared to 12 billion in 1998 to 7.5 billion in 1997), about 20 milions Lit. for every fixed farmer, 46 milions for farm. The dramatic rethinking of the American bourgeoisie, which goes hand in hand with the numerous efforts to regulate the structural imbalances of agriculture, shows that it is no longer possible to leave the agricultural production to the anarchy of market and that capitalism, in this sector more than in others, would need to produce according to a global plan. The capitalist within individual factory succeeds very well in the application of a production plan, but capitalism is very unsuccessfull when applying it across the international market, where private properties collide at the highest level of competition and where national interests may block the development of common executive structures. The spasmodic attempts of all the world organizations to achieve an overall control of the economy are an implicit recognition of the social character of productive forces at global scale, a true capitulation of this society to marxism.
State intervention over agriculture within each single country is already a general food plan removed from the market. It has no economic purpose in the strict sense, it does not fall within the Keynesian policies, namely the complex of measures to expand consumption and investment with an anti-crisis function. For example, in the "Protocol for production support" of July 1993 agriculture was not even mentioned. Significantly, in Germany, after the wave of BSE ("mad cow disease") and foot-and-mouth disease, the problem of agriculture has been addressed from the perspective of the whole consumption system and not from an economic standpoint. The Economist 1 February 2001 points out: "...Ever adept at making a virtue of necessity, Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has pounced on the crisis to announce a complete reshaping of Germany's farm policies—and so to boost his image as a reformer. From now on, consumers' interests, not farmers', he says, are to be put first...","...a revamped ministry responsible for consumer protection, food and agriculture, in that order. Intensive farming is out; environment-friendly and organic farming in. The yearly DM11 billion ($5 billion) of subsidies dished out to Germany's farmers are to be redirected accordingly. The "howls of protest" the chancellor predicts from the powerful farm lobby are, he says, to be strictly ignored.".
Obviously it is not so easy to ignore the one who feeds the population, as a moustached French peasant passing off as a revolutionary with dummies teaches, but bourgeoisie is really plagued by the problem. Beyond the fact that consumers of goods only count as such, while their health doesn't matter at all, if reforming the agricultural policies of any country according to the priorities listed by the German Chancellor would be possible, this would precisely mean to sanction the denial of agriculture as a sphere of profit production, to sanction its official changeover to non-salable services.
Therefore, we are in the presence of something far different from the Keynesian attempts to support production; it's something structural, a more powerful and decisive push for change. It doesn't matter if some individual agro-food industries, perhaps multinational, accumulate huge profits; as a matter of fact the State, instrument of the global anonymous Capital, cannot allow the feeding of society to be left in the hands of the peasants, and worse than ever in the hands of the international monopolies thirsty for rent. It would mean giving up the entire society to a specific class, albeit modern and corporatized. It would be the end of the bourgeoisie itself as a class.
If it is true, and it is, that agriculture has lost worldwide its autonomy and is directly controlled by the greatest imperialist states through massive transfers of surplus value, then there is no longer a "peasant question" in the manner of the Third International, not even in the countries where farmers still constitute most part of the population. The structure of the food chain is completely subordinate to the State, industry, finance, and from now on also to the monopoly of the industrial production of seeds (constant capital) obtained through biotechnology. From the Marxist point of view the agrarian question, which in 1917 in Russia, was rightly also the peasant question, can now be approached especially through the parameters of the future society.
Today, in no country all over the world, a situation of dual revolution like the one forcing Lenin to give a dual solution to the problem of the relations between classes exist: "The proletariat must carry the democratic revolution to completion, allying to itself the mass of the peasantry in order to crush the resistance of the autocracy by force and to paralyze the instability of the bourgeoisie. The proletariat must accomplish the socialist revolution, allying to itself the mass of semiproletarian elements in the population so as to crush by force the bourgeoisie's resistance and to paralyze the instability of the peasantry and the petty bourgeoisie" (from Two tactics).
Today nothing remains from the first part of that quotation: the bourgeois democratic revolution is historically accomplished, the feudal autocracy no longer exists and the bourgeoisie no longer oscillates helplessly between different modes of production but is firmly in power. Either the second part no longer describes the present situation: the bourgeoisie has already neutralized the importance of the peasantry. What remains is the proletarian integral revolution, which, according to its immediate program, will not give the land back to the peasants, instead the land will become a collective good, as Marx has always made clear. The real problem of the backwardness of large areas, and the economic oppression of the weak countries made by the strong ones led often to identify the tasks of communist revolution with a vague "anti-imperialism" too, linked to the age-old "national question". Again we have the very clear explanation of Lenin: the criterion to identify bourgeois revolutionary conditions is not the economic dependence, but rather the political one, which denies national freedom (A caricature of Marxism).
There are still many farmers, carriers of " old stigmata", real modern barbarians although they are up to their necks inside civilization, forced to live together with the expropriation forms, murderer of their uniqueness and often of their very existence. Only in the "pure" revolutionary perspective, nevermore "double" - now we can finally say it for sure - "even these barbarians could become, against this civilization, one of the bullets of the revolution that will overflow it" (from Racial pressure of the peasantry, pressure class of colored people).
Redistribution of income or denial of the Capital?
From a general point of view agriculture will take its great historical revenge through capitalism, rather it is already taking it. As soon as "virgin land" has been receiving attention by the "faun Capital" - Mai la merce etc. / Never commodities will feed man - and so has been fertilized with science and technology, the production "quantitativ-ism", connected as it is to profit, clashes with the human requirement of eating decently. The natural cycle itself, including man, has got rejecting reactions. A German chancellor will never be able to revolutionising agriculture by law, neither will he be willing to clash with the interests of the agro-industrial capital. The entire German economic system, not only agriculture, leads him to these types of assertion. Thus in the rest of Europe, as in America, as in any other ultra-developed countries. The entire system accentuates the obvious fact that we die of capitalism. More and more watchwords of past revolutions fall giving the way, ever clear and shabby, the fundamental question: do you really want capitalism? This is it, it can't be something different. Though capitalism itself shows that a new society is ready to go, a society which only needs to get free of this rotten involucre.
As the increase of the productive social power is connected to the period in which humanity was divided into classes, a bridge between primitive and developed communism, similarly our species had to close the gap between food harvest and its conscious production, according to a project which could allow man to be a harmonious part of nature without plundering it. The bridge of development is no longer ahead, we already got to the other side. The kingdom of necessity is far behind. Today the productive social power is yet ready to jump into the kingdom of freedom; but still the zombie-class in power has to be knocked down. Similarly we've gone down the bridge to the agricultural development: humanity already has the potential solution to feeding, we should just get rid of economy, which means getting rid of accounting following value signs which tends to take into consideration the average value between those who have nothing to eat and those who die obeses, full of cholesterol and slimming drugs.
Capitalism, doped and kept alive by the continuous social repartition of surplus value and its agricultural modern politics, gives us an additional proof that the future society is within reach. Indeed, we are within the same condition of some still communist ancient societies - of course with the mediation of the property development and of the productive social power - where agriculture provided food to the entire society by allocating the product through centralized community structures. That condition is nowadays upset since this value-based society has destroyed the first organic productive forms - not yet forms of classes - where everybody's energy was for collectivity and where, unlike today, you couldn't even imagine that land could be possessed or exchanged, not to mention property or commerce. Notwithstanding, if a mechanical comparison is historically arbitrary, on the other hand it is quite appropriate to reckon that modern society is going ahead toward to the destruction of specific forms of value, the same which are essentials for its existence: for instance adopting common forms of food distribution or forcing price at a world scale.
It is not about the return to ancient forms; however it is true that outcome of social work is distributed as it was at that time, or even more. Agriculture certainly cannot be defined as a "productive sector" if in its favour, within two areas (Europe and United States), a bunch of value equal to the gross product of hundreds of minor countries is systematically allocated by authority among classes.
This is not the only form of allocation ad hoc, besides the fixed ones of the current social expenditure. The internal energetic assessment presented by the new American administration foreseen an even larger expenditure. The whole economic operational actions adopted for the adjustment of Italy to the parameters of Maastricht has shifted a value equal to ten times the entire national agriculture production. The keynesian degenerated phenomenon of the Cassa del Mezzogiorno (Funds for South) has transferred during half a century huge amounts of value from the whole economy to peculiar public and private interests, for sure avoiding the collapse of the South of Italy, but also stopping its autonomous development. The great industry itself was eligible for the enormous transfer of value which have stimulated its growth and at the same time has polluted its capacity of international competition.
This asphyctic capitalism is now based – talk about liberalism - on authoritarian intervention of the State over the use of social surplus value coming from productive sectors. But if we look beyond that sort of relentless treatment, we can see a material drive to the need of a general project for the spieces' life, a drive to a real outright attempt to praxis overturning. Though capitalism transforms it in a rough and barbaric conservation of its own existence. Inside this authoritarian intervention, agriculture has already shown, in practice that, if there was no property, problems of nutrition could be solved through very mild interventions compared to the complex set of economic manoeuvres now on. But social forms cannot be re-formed, they have to be destroyed in order to see the rise of totally new others.
The development of the social productive power finally got to questioning the modern production of value in agriculture. However, at the same time, the persisting of property magnifies the effects of land monopoly; the whole society is obliged to pay a bribe to the peasantry, if it wants to feed itself. By doing this, the value courseis diverted and jumps from set of productions toward agriculture. So the farm pockets other people value. It would be rational to eliminate it, but within the social form based on property this is not possible. "Land to peasants"? Forget it: land should be gotten out of their clutches for ever.
So while the huge future production and distribution power directly affects the present, bourgeois society retreats into defense using precisely this power. In fact if we consider capitalism as a global system and not as a sum of the actions of single capitals (rightly less and less significant) it is of no importance how we get to new value, the crucial thing is its existence. With the final development of the "real submission of work to the Capital", the director and the cleaning man of the same factory participate to the final production even not being directly productive; as partial workers, they are part of an ensemble that Marx defines as the "total worker" (VI chapter of the Capital, unpublished, page 74). As this total worker is productive, so the system is, which allows capitalism to survive, even though, within it, there are some particular sectors which are mild productive such as agriculture, or some others which are not productive at all such as public school, police, etc.
Energy balance of food production
Indeed the law of value can't be invalidated by all this: it is simply proved that it works ever more in general and ever less in particular. This could be somehow useful for the circulation of our work, as Marx and Engels wrote when some significant contradictions came out. So, within this society as is, the law of value shows us the positive critic of the capitalistic mode of production, or, in other words, it presents, well formed, the prerequisites of the future society. Anyone who doesn't go weak in the head under the influence of the bourgeois propaganda easily understands that, in general, production is not scarce but abundant and that even the existing agriculture could solve any world food problem by now. Therefore, what we're trying to do here doesn't consists in repeating the powerful criticism over the capitalistic rent that marxism has already claimed; we have the aim to resume its thread and to demonstrate that, even in this case, in the immediate program of the next revolution there will be no need of resorting "constructive" measures, and that we will only have to rationally use the historical result and move forward.
The future society will no longer need to increase the agricultural production at the furious average rate of 2% per year for sixty years, as the United States has done since 1940, for a total increase of 328%. Humanity will no longer need to produce, still on the example of the USA, 13 quintals of grain per inhabitant of the world. It will distribute the production avoiding the senseless exploitation of men and soil. Nor it will need to demonstrate that agricultural productivity has portentously risen, with 1,750 quintals of grain per year for each farmer, 75,000 chickens for each poultry breeder and 5,000 cattle for each cattle breeder; it will take it easy, mainly preventing the rubbish part required by the cycle of an exasperated productivity. It won't say that industrial agriculture has got an extraordinary yield, a real bourgeois lie and swindle; it will work to really get that efficiency through a science not corrupted by profit.
The future society will not extend the current beastly, sorry, civil, methods throughout the Earth. It will bring food science to very different goals than the mere productivity. Because productivity, it's even a sad commonplace, is dizzying for each company, but is disastrous for the mass of men: 100 millions of people die every year from malnutrition, 340 millions are chronically sick for the same reason, 730 millions do not have enough money to eat with the essential calories to sustain any kind of job.
The paradox is situated in the pretended high performance of modern agriculture, but a different social organization may expose the lie. We call efficiency of a system the difference between the energy input and the energy coming out, in another form, from the same system. The efficiency, by a physical principle, is always less than 100%. A common car has an apparent efficiency of about 28%. This means that if we put into the tank energy for 100 units, we use 28, and we dissipate 72 units. A well designed and constructed electric motor has an apparent efficiency up to 98%. But why do we say "apparent"?
Considering the whole system, the car is produced with a series of operations ranging from the excavation in a mine to the sales talk; it needs all the services when travelling and even when standing still, made up of sales networks, fuel distributors, repair shops, highways, garages, insurance companies, scrapyards, etc.. Therefore its real efficiency is much probably around 2 or 3%, much less than 28%. An electric motor has a high efficiency, but only if we start from the plug, avoiding to calculate the energy that it contains. Electricity flows through cables that have a resistance and therefore dissipate energy; almost everything is produced using fuels of different nature that set in motion machines which, in turn, are subject to dissipation; it needs as well a logistics network and various materials for its use, even though it's not comparable with the car needs; hence after all also the real efficiency of our hypothetical electric motor comes down quite a lot, let's say down to 20%.
The human machine, made of muscles, nerves and brain which have been improved through million years of evolution, is awfully more efficient. With the calories of one portion of well-seasoned spaghetti, a normal adult can do about 60 km by foot. If this individual was a farmer and worked the land with hand tools, in a temperate climate (considering also the modern raw materials), he would produce 10 calories of food, dissipating only 1 calorie with his work. The average American farmer produces 6.000 calories, dissipating only 1, but his apparent thermal efficiency ends like the car's one. If we calculate the total energy lost during the production of the 6000 calories, the balance is completely negative. In order to produce 1 kg of corn, the farmer of the American "Corn belt" (where the highest productivity of the world is) dissipates the equivalent energy of 10 kg of corn.
I consume ten in order to produce one: what's the catch? The problem is to be found in the differential between the calories contained in the raw materials for fertilizer industry, fuel industry and so on, and the caloric content of corn (of course the confrontation is made in terms of value, which means dollars/calories); the value of energy contained into the industrial products is inferior than the value of energy contained into nutrients. The balance must be made considering the plundered environment. In addition, agriculture is a sphere of production with high dissipation of energy: in the United States the 12% of total energy is dissipated by agriculture, which produces, as we said, only the 2% of Gross Domestic Product. A society based on a general plan of production of use values couldn't ever dissipate, i.e. throw away, such an enormous amount of energy.
Energy is also wasted downstream of food processing. In fact the system of distribution, storage and industrial processing also leads to enormous waste also of the product already collected from the fields, and the yield falls further. Nevertheless, the agriculture of a country like France produces a sufficient amount of calories for 250 million of Chinese today (2,000 calories daily averages each).
Adding other developed countries to France and making the proportion with the current parameters, what we find is that in a future society, neither involved with the law of value, nor with the problem of a purely quantitative yield, 18 million farmers with Western productivity level would be able to produce as 1 and a half billion of today farmers do, and they would be able to provide decent food for the entire population on earth while working one-tenth of the agricultural soil. Additionally, this would occur using a very small amount of social energy, distributed across the whole world however barely equivalent to what is nowaday taken away by society and given back to agriculture as value. Obviously, a world plan for the optimization of agricultural resources could easily be launched right now, if the capitalism was not standing in the way.
We have talked about efficiency in relation to energy. Now, to show the full benefits of the elimination of the property, we need to talk about it in other terms, on the basis of the relationship between sowed and harvest that we will call yield per hectare of a certain product. These two approaches are not comparable from the standpoint of the value, but this second way of approaching this matter leads us directly to agriculture in the new society. Let's remind that, from the capitalistic point of view, high yield and low productivity can occur at the same time. It is a paradox solely due to the property which distinguishes between best and worst lands. Within a "non-proprietary" society, where precisely the property and therefore the law of rent are deleted, there would only be a single global average yield and a single social productivity.
To some extent, by applying labor and capital, it is possible to obtain an equal yield through soils with different natural fertility as well as differentiated yields on land having equal fertility. But talking about productivity, it is clearly strongly influenced by the boundaries of the company, therefore by the property. Suppose that a typical Italian company of 10 hectares produces 400 tons of wheat with a full-time working farmer: the necessary equipment and the same farmer could comfortably cultivate double amount of soil getting a double productivity, but the limits of property doesn't allow it. Another farmer having a plot with the 3/4 fertility of the first one but with a double-wide land would have a productivity of 600 tons, which would mean one and a half more. Since it is hard to force the profit over 40 quintals per hectare, then the surface becomes essential to increase productivity. This example is applicable in general, especially for individual properties and for companies of all sizes, but it also occur in connection with single States. In the Netherlands, for example, from the sixteenth century the yield per hectare is one of the world's highest for any crop suiting with that particular climate, but the concentration of population and the scarcity of available land prevents productivity - the only valid criterion from the capitalist point of view - rising above the reached limit. Whether the small farmer and the small Country facing all this do not die is merely due to their finding value through other sources.
The concentration of fixed capital per hectare is another index of productivity. Assuming an equivalent rate of mechanization per farm within the various countries, in relation to the land the utilization of equipments varies a lot: in the Netherlands each tractor is used to cultivate 5 hectares, in Germany 5.8, in the United States 43, in Canada 67, in the old USSR 110. Only the rate of mechanization regarding USSR could be considered incomparable, but we are still in the same order of size of other countries.
In countries like the United States and Canada, where the amount of available land is not a problem and also private property is also very extensive, a high productivity has been establishing itself historically. For instance wheat productivity represents four times the European average, although the yield is less than half compared to that obtained on French, British and German lands: 21 quintals per hectare compared to an average of 43. In Russia, where the average size of farms was of 4,200 hectares before the collapse of USSR, the yield is very low; compared to when Ukraine was included and its black lands raised the average up to 18 quintals per hectare, today, making the proportion with the remaining surfaces, yield should be around 10 tons. The collective farms (Colcos) had a higher yields than average but a very low productivity, being composed of a plethora of slightly mechanized farmers. The state farms (Sovcos), although they were supplied with the worst land with very low yield, especially in Siberia, offered a better productivity because of the high mechanization and shortage of labor; they were also better organized and managed to deliver directly to the surrounding towns and to avoid the immense Russian waste due to transportation and storage.
No capitalistic reform will ever eliminate the contradiction between yield and productivity. A high yield can be achieved only over the best lands and through a large down-payment of capital, but across the globe good lands are a only small percentage of the existing. High productivity can be obtained over not very fertile lands, which are the most part, by extending the culture, introducing new hybrids, mechanizing to the maximum allowed, etc.. However we know that high quantity also means high productivity, which leads extensive cultivation to a fierce competition against - as well- high yield lands, but having a smaller surface. A competition which is mainly due to the falling rate of profit in smaller companies, where the organic composition of capital is high in relation to the product and where, moreover, over-sized machinery, kept unused for most of the year, bring down the use of fixed capital.
Only the "non-commodity" will be the harmonic result of the land
The extinction of the property, even only occurring over a significant part of the globe, would eliminate the contradiction between soils of different nature and extent, and would allow to use to the best their features according to the crops which humanity will need. When also the value accounting will disappear, the balance between consumed and produced energy will take back a balanced organic cycle. This does not mean going back to the hoe and give up technology and science, anything but that. Science will allow us to have a better understanding of how immense the vicious circle of waste we will have broken was and what horizons we will be widen.
More than all other human activities, farming has a course tied to the renewal of soil, to geology, environment, climate, all factors which are more powerful than any agro-industrial capitalist, and of any State. We need to subdue human activities to those factors in order to harmonize it with the ensemble. Long term and wide-ranging projects can only be set rationally by starting from conditions of equilibrium involving very wide areas, but this is rather impossible to realize if men have demarcated them with private and national boundaries. The mercantile nature of major works do not take any of the balances mentioned above into account, as some disastrous examples clearly prove: as the Aswan High Dam in Egypt, the vast irrigation project that is drying up the Aral Sea, as the desertification of fertile lands in the United States, the Amazonian forest clearance, the erosion of loess terraces turned from pasture to tillage in China, etc.. If the states had the authority to establish coordinated farm policies over national and private interests, they should submit to totalitarian assessment all the landowners, which would evidently correspond more to a violent expropriation than to a reform.
As soon as the farm commodity gets into the market, it behaves as all the other goods, it expects the buyer. But it's a quite peculiar kind of commodity. Being a natural cycle product, it cannot be done "just in time"; being a soft good, it is not storable for a very long time; being so often tied to specific areas and climates, it must be transported for long distances; having quite an interaction with the human physiology, it can not be fully industrialized, canned, dried, reduced to its essential components and reassembled into new organoleptic quality products, dead matter. So its value is very sensitive to the losses occurring after production. That is why capitalism strives for perverting the nature of food to the fullest possible extent, in order to make it treatable as any other commodity. The future society won't have such a need, and it will see the triumph of fresh vitamin, seasonal flavoured fruit, enhanced organoleptic, the triumph of the living over the dead.
The current tendency to extend the presence of a certain kind of food throughout the seasons sets in motion a series of mechanisms which, in their turn, are at the basis of industries and services producing surplus value. Firstly transports and storage, but also preservatives, pesticides, dryers, maturers, restorers of taste and aroma, chemicals, additives, dyes, packaging, advertising. A whole post-harvest industry that by far produces more than agriculture. The future society will improve the energy balance also by eliminating, in every field, that monstrous system of research regarding post-production valorisation.
For the capitalist society, instead, the deployment of post-production energy is increasingly necessary, leading to paradoxes that moralists love to remind: such as containers of food for 275 million of Americans, whose industry has a turnover several times higher than what a billion of Indians spend to eat. But the Capital can only keep its cycle of accumulation by going through the multiplication of opportunities for commodification. If American agriculture is the striking example, it's because the industry got the possession of it, turning it into a mere support for its diversified activities. the Boeing, which manufactures aircrafts, missiles, satellites, deals with potatoes as well, but it doesn't have any sort of profit from the tuber itself, rather it gets it since it is a usable product for the industry that fries them, wrap them in cellophane, advertises and distributes them into supermarkets, movie theaters and stadiums, together with gadgets and whatever serves to improve the whole. So does the ITT, telecommunications giant, which invests on ham, the basis for nearly all the American industrial fast foods; so the Getty oil does with salted peanuts. The American industry, followed by industry of the rest of the world, has jumped on food but it was not about a rural vocation or about its intrinsic value which is rather low, it is due to what is around food, starting from its glowing packages up to the television. It therefore came to almost the total control - to the origin - of the American production of cereals and soybean, of 51% of vegetables, 85% of citrus, 97% of poultry meat, of 40% of eggs.
All this will be swept away as soon as the profit will no longer be the driving parameter of every human productive activity. The natural cycle will be finally respected - not through a moral approach - but with the aim to harmonizing it with the human metabolism which couldn't evolve so much in the last half century as to break away from natural rhythms, since it comes out from over millions of years of adaptation. Furthermore the eating tasteless and poisoned strawberries in winter for a pure consumerist fancy is not an axiom. The eventual decision of the new society of diversifying the diet despite the seasons will be taken either for utility or pleasure, not at all for profit. So it will not shift strawberries by plane, it will not produce the scent that cannot have, it will not drop on it pesticides and preservatives, it won't wrap in packagings absorbing social energy for twice the content, it won't advertise them with idiots messages and ultimately it will prevent from getting sick and from consuming drugs as well canned, advertised, etc.. etc.. Only a foolish humanity may want to eat a strawberry which contains - considering equivalent energy - a quantity of oil which is thousand times superior to its nutritional qualities.
The commodifying apparatus which stratifies around each useful product, as the farming one, will break up as soon as the mechanism of the valorization of capital will be off. Air transport of strawberries will be banned because it is nonsense, not for costs saving or for a going back to a basic life. Transport by rail and water will be preferred to air and road ones, not for a sort of ecologist saving reasoning, but because the whole system will tend to put itself in harmony with nature. So any increase of yields in energy balance will be a natural result in the replacement of man with nature, and not a budget item business.
In Bebel's book Woman and Socialism there is an enthusiastic and a bit naive description of a greenhouse vineyard, with all its mechanisms to obtain the optimal microclimate and produce wine even in the unfavorable climate of Silesia. It's about 500 square meters of land covered by a glass structure, an insignificant experiment compared to the computerized systems of greenhouses today, but luckily, as "a vineyard of the future", it is only a small utopia. There is no need for artificial vines; nowadays bourgeois science produces good wine in a very broad climatic zone and, where this is not enough, it provides transportation of excellent wines. But precisely the wine production provides an opportunity to highlight contradictions of capitalism and the ease with which the future society will solve the problems it has generated through its own techniques. Today the vine, after the spread of peronospora and other diseases, requires massive treatment and assiduous care, within a production process requiring a significant outlay of capital. But the vicious circle, which in the country generally imposes the hellish growth of treatments, can be stuck with technology. Because the cycle of certain diseases is mainly related to moisture, insulation and temperature, a network of sensors would be sufficient, that send data from a given production zone to a center which processes them determining a minimal cycle of treatment. Such systems are already used in cooperative environments and can be improved by far. So there will be no need to have recourse to regular spraying of poisons, or worse, or following the discretion of the farmer. On the other hand, also an improved system will be a temporary solution, to be adopted while an investigation is achieved to reach a pre-peronospera like viticulture; meanwhile we won't have saved up that much, but we will have avoided an excess of poison into the environment and into stomach.
In other types of culture, matching chemistry and biology through the intaking in the territory of insects being enemies of parasites or of parasites turned sterile, may be a transitional solution. Greenhouse growing, that is now the worst possible thing from an organic point of view, can be rehabilitated with the cultivation of a greater number of products by a non-capitalist use of technologies. Going back to strawberries, for example, it may be that humanity decides to afford their consumption during the winter, using only a small part of the immense amount of energy saved elsewhere. Today it is already technically possible to grow them in large environments where natural conditions are almost perfectly reproduced, without the need of have recourse to the perversion of the biological-chemical cycle of current greenhouse cultivation. The greenhouse has ancient origins and is nowadays mainly used for flowers and high added value firstlings; but some great botanical gardens, made under huge geodesic domes, demonstrate how it would be possible to use greenhouses to grow food instead of attracting paying tourists. Wether it will be useful and necessary, given that all agriculture will have to be recovered in an organic cycle and redesigned according to various environments.
he agricultural cycle as an intermediary between Man and Nature
"Planning" is a verb this society turned into an ambiguous meaning. In some respects it indicates the positive overturn of the praxis, the conscious intervention of man upon the spontaneous disorder of the universe; in others, it evokes the mess of the bourgeois society, its manipulation averse to any kind of organicism. But man is able to plan an organic fusion with the environment, since there is no way its future will be a return to the "lost paradise" of the Australopithecus, who day by day risked to be torn to pieces by leopards, while eating berries and grubs. The agrarian cycle is the complete cycle of transformation of energy coming from the sun which, through its work on the matter, produces a series of effects not affecting man's food alone - the only element considered by the narrow anthropocentric point of view - but also the whole the biosphere Man is dipped into. Oil we nowadays recklessly burn, is in fact just the result of the sun action along the past eras.
New agriculture will be the link between man and nature, or, rather, it will be the new fusion of man with nature he's part of. But, in order to get there, the stage we are passing through is necessary since, through the Capital, it enabled land, industry and science to connect one another. In the quoted text, Bebel remembers, along with Marx, how their age has marked the passage from empirically made agriculture to cultivation and nutrition science. He returned to the work of Justus von Leibig who, as many other contemporary scientists, had been one of those human instruments that productive revolution was...producing. Leibig was the first to work on the assumption that agricultural and food sciences are inseparable: plants are fed, as well as animals that eat them, and man who eats both of them. He started from what he considered to be the fundamental law of plants step up: 1) each plant owes its life to the chemical life of soil and to the action of sun; 2) it regulates its growth upon the fewest element among those necessary; 3) it is important to return to soil chemical elements which were withdrawn. Under capitalism this law is used as we know, particularly in petrochemical industry, but despite this could be seen as an almost arbitrary simplification in relation with the complexity of the process proceeding from Sun, as a general scheme it can also stand at the basis of an organic agriculture. Today we have further knowledge from Newton, Darwin, Marx, Einstein and the whole bunch of scientists, real giants of the revolution on whose shoulders the "dwarf science" is today climbing.
Bebel knows that capitalism lays the foundation for a new society which will have nothing else to do than take the reached the reached results to overturn them to its advantage: "The new society finds for itself a resource in the scientific agrarian field, a terrain which theoretically and practically better prepared than others in its activity, a terrain on which it has only to start organizing in order to obtain better results than those acquired until today". It's of no importance if Liebig thought life on Earth could be generated from other galaxies through "eternal" combination of carbon (this is why he's been maybe too hastily criticized by Engels, since there's an actual persistence of carbon organic compound on the comets); indeed he used to agree with the materialistic conception of life as being the matter's property, "a source principle operating within and through physical forces" . Today, we know that, beyond a threshold of complexity of particles and energy, matter produces self-organization, precisely from a "source principle", and is then able to keep and replicate this information.
That's the way the whole nature "works". Being a superior level of the whole matter's information, also the social fact follows the same source principle: man picks information from the environment and from the past producing new knowledge. Although today he grossly adopts Liebig's law, disastrously operating on the chemism of soil and environment, he prepares a fundamental information for further utilization at a higher and more organic level.
Liebig, who's known by the majority as the inventor of the meat extract and of the very coveted figurines issued from chromolithography which were offered with it, was studied by Marx and Engels because of other results. He was one of those scientists who directed their activity towards different fields embracing them within a universal vision. In his works he removed barriers generated by man between chemistry of the matter and chemistry of life, focusing on agrarian chemistry, physiological and pathological chemistry. He described the process we nowadays call photosynthesis, understanding that the organic balance required by soil and plant is part of a widely more complex system than his schema, since it includes animals, men, bacteria, the whole environment. He was also a passionate man, such a gorgeous professor who attracted students from all over the world; he was the founder of an international school.
The agrarian revolution, as the industrial one, was standing out through scientific universal premises, yet useful for a human species potentially emancipated from the need; however from the very start capitalism distilled just that part that was useful to the valorisation of the Capital and lead to extreme consequences the results of scientific research reaching the free use of chemistry, premise for the mineralization of soil. Liebig was himself involved in the explosion of the agrarian revolution, when the Uruguayan manufacture, producing animal wheats upon his license, very soon (1865) introduced them in fertilizers but also in fattening feeds. This was, despite Liebig's awareness, the consequence of his studies on the efficiency of animals nutrition and its consequent capitalistic use. Ten years earlier, he warned against the overlooking of the organic chemism of nature: "Unfortunately the true beauty of agriculture with its intellectual and animating principles is almost unrecognized. The art of agriculture will be lost when ignorant, unscientific and short sighted teachers persuade the farmer to put all his hopes in universal remedies, which don't exist in nature. Following their advice, bedazzled by an ephemeral success, the farmer will forget the soil and lose sight of his inherent values and their influence"(1855). Later on, when he had yet elaborated the relationship between plants growth and soil chemistry, he admitted his law stood as a mechanical simplification when compared to the huge job God had entrusted to nature, and he became ironic about man's pretension to replace him. He asserted that, together with the photosynthesis and the mineral ions melted in water and absorbed by roots, there were other material processes which weren't to be mimicked; they were indeed to be seconded since they required time for the generating and the regenerating of humus.
Today the bourgeois too admit with much less scruples that the agrarian capitalist cycle is perverse and will have to be stopped. This will happen anyway: it's only about watching that either happening by means of an environmental and social disasters within the capitalist society, or within a conscious transformation plan inside a classless and moneyless society. The main contradiction is precisely highlighted by Liebig's law: it is necessary to return to earth what is taken from it; or, which is actually the same, it is only allowed to take from earth what it has been given to it. The enormous production requires energy, but, as we saw, reconstitution of soil requires the intense activity of bacteria, mildews, yeasts, enzymes, all factors which don't produce humus by being paid for their output at the assembly line. Time is required,and, as we know, time means money in this society. Without the time factor registering the many passages, there is no energy balance, there is only accountancy balance in pure market value. Nature is cast aside for the sake of the manufacture, food is manufactured, earth is consumed, environment is corrupted, and the fattening Capital doesn't care at all about the descendants, they'll do it with it.
The future society will be focused into energy balance related to the production of various agricultural products, it will not care about business balance. As we saw, this is possibly obtained by finding the ratio between contained and dissipated energy used in production. It is now clear that if man eats an animal which eats vegetables within a cycle dissipating energy in all ways, that it is not a brilliant operation (see figure 1). In the United States 70% of the whole cereals production is given to livestock, so direct consumption of vegetables would be more rational. Despite problems raised by ecologists and animalists about "alternative" modes of nutrition, it is certainly true that the capitalist agrarian economy tends to relate to high energy dissipation industries. The main reason is that in those sectors, as in others, what really counts is the final result of economic cycle which closes off the counting of added-value; in fact it is quite obvious even for the offsprings of political economy that the "how you get it" is of no importance for GDP growth; it rises even more if the system heads towards maximum disorder and waste indeed.
The future society will solve the problem of the energy balance, certainly not by going back to past forms of production. Also time factor, which means value for capitalism, will find its solution. Cycles of crop rotation and of earth resting, which have been essential for millenniums, can be partly replaced by accelerating the biological formation of humus. Man is today quite able to manage time factor and as well to know that it has something to do with other parameters. We don't consider here relativity physics theory but just modest practical factors: when we say that it does or doesn't take long to plow a field, we must specify what we mean by "long" or "not long" time, because there's a difference between ox time and farm tractor time. For instance, we shouldn't be surprised when reading that Marx considered US uninhabited areas as having a greater relative population density than the crowded India. This is due to the fact that from an economic point of view communication system shortens social time. Everyone knows that we today live in a "global village" which has a greater density than statistics assertions tell, because communication system has reached a level of complexity and velocity which was unimaginable before. Similarly, biological time of soil regeneration wouldn't be a problem once historically separated from the profit and finally managed and accelerated by humanity. Though are we sure humanity still should step that way? It is actually not necessary to reach the future society in order to see an acceleration of time within the soil regeneration matter; this problem is already technically solved within this society, but solution is not spread as it should be and is yet roughly applied.
Today what we return to earth, after having taken live matter, is only a pale minerals surrogates. Though it is not mandatory and shouldn't always be so. Various techniques of composting at a large scale for the production of natural fertilizers are already being tested with excellent results. The use of worms colonies for humus production is quite common in lots of farms. One japanese manufacture has sold around 5.000 installations alone which were adopted by single farms for quickly composting through auto-fermentation. More complex and centralized industrial biological processes, based on bacteria, are able to metabolize mixed garbage to produce fertilizers and methane. All these processes are based on the separation between cultivation and production of the elements involved in the process of fertility reintegration, so they hugely accelerate natural process by reproducing it within man predisposed conditions. In parallel with cultivation work and in a short amount of time, industrial composting plants can digest leaves, trimming, agricultural leftovers, sawdust, organic trash, animals dejections, slaughterhouse blood, etc.
Other more artificial composting processes could be put together with those natural and "assisted". In France during the 50s a proteinic compound generated by the spontaneous multiplication of bacteria was discovered inside some kerosene bins left under the rain. The first industrial plant built up to "cultivate" the leftovers of crude oil through microorganisms processing was built in Scotland in 1971 by the British Petroleum; at the beginning they could extract from it 4.000 tons a year of biomass, a highly concentrated protein compound which was used to integrate feedingstuffs. Since then, a lot of new protein manufactures have started up in the world. There's a plant of 20.000 tons production close to Marseille, another one of 100.000 tons is located in Sarroch, Sardinia. Wide experiments have been made with the production of biomass through the cultivation of vegetable cells within artificial environment, especially with seaweeds. Both examples, the series of natural accelerated processes and the protein manufacture, can be unified if humanity set them as being useful. Only profit matters make artificial protein compound to go directly into feedingstuffs; some believe they are even used for human food. If we leave aside profit, huge amounts of biomass can be made from lots of manufacturing leftovers which can then be "digested" by bacterial compounds or by superior organisms as worms. Released in the soil biomass they can then be metabolized by that big chemical natural digestore, the humus.
The future society will get rid of another negative element of the failing energy balance of the capitalist agriculture, maybe the most important: free waste of a huge quantity of organic substances today thrown away into sewage. The absurd replacement of the natural chemistry and of the general biological cycle with the chemical industrial intervention is relentlessly heading towards failure (figure 2). Without regeneration of the soil, earth is kind of drugged by chemistry, since it requires increasingly massive doses with more and more scarce effects.
In his book Bebel particularly insists on this topic, and today main acknowledgment perfectly integrates his comments. After having noted that earth needs to feed itself with organic substances, exactly as animals and men do, he notices that most of the produced food goes in the cities, and that cities don't allow a return of the organic matters to the earth. Very different was the condition, at his time, in the millennium chinese cities. Quoting Bebel who quotes Leibig: "Every coolie (in China) who carries his produce to market in the morning, brings home two buckets full of manure ... Every substance derived from plants or animals is carefully collected and used as manure by the Chinese...The expense [referring to a german farmer] for this importation is slight, the outlay secure; a savings bank is not securer, and no investment brings in a higher rate of interest...The returns of his fields will be doubled in ten years: he will produce more corn, more meat and more cheese without expending more time or labor, and he will not be driven by constant anxiety to seek for new and unknown means, which do not exist, to make his ground fertile in another manner...Old bones, soot, ashes, whether washed out or not, and blood of animals and refuse of all kinds ought to be collected in storehouses, and prepared for distribution...The administrative and police officials in the cities should see to it that by an appropriate arrangement of drains and cess-pools this waste of material is avoided" (J. Von Liebig, "Chemical letters", 1865). "New and unknown remedies that don't exist" [unverified translation], it would sound weird if this was said by the inventor of chemical soil improver and by the effective spreader of socialism if we didn't know that the scientist and the marxist were aware about the necessity of improving earth, against the actual deadly depredating, always and everywhere.
Bebel mentions 48.8 kg of solid dejection and 438 of liquid dejection per year per each german adult with a total of 486.6 kg. Today average evacuation per westerner is a little higher, 54 and 470, total 524 kg; obviously high productivity of modern viscera are the result of either a higher quantity of swallowed food, including beverage, and a scarce assimilation due to a minor output of working energy, which also means less perspiration. Since infants are part of that statistics and since we just need an indication, we can take for grant Bebel's data. Breeding animals produce metabolic refuses too and we have an interesting data for United States where breeding industry produces 130 times the slurry produced by men.
Reckoning, we get 275 millions of americans producing 133.8 millions of tons of organic slurry which, multiplied by 130 in order to includes breeding animals, gives 17.5 billions of tons. Now, we can read on manual that in a biological agro-industry integral collection of human and barn slurry is equal to 0.6% of the nitrogen weight, to the 0.4% of phosphorus and to the 0,3% of potassium. Then for each ton of organic slurry we have 6 kg of nitrogen, 4 kg of phosphorus and 3 kg of potassium. In short: in a country like United States organic slurry per year, the most of which is thrown away, have 105 millions of tons of nitrogen, 70 millions of phosphorus, 52,5 millions of potassium, which takes us to a total amount of 227,5 millions of tons. Although we didn't consider other organic refuses for this calculation as well as the potential kickback of other type of refuses and materials, as the already mentioned ones, comparison with the chemical industrial cycle is shocking: in 1196 US produced 32 millions of tons of fertilizers, of which 19 millions were nitrogenous. World production of fertilizers is 150 millions of tons, of which 90 are nitrogenous. Taken alone, the dejections wasted by americans could be enough to fertilize all the cultivated lands together for a year and a half.
Extinction of the peasant
Of course our calculations are totally approximate. The future society won't dream of eating in the way we do today, moreover it will not rear in such a broad area as the United States the 430 million of poultries and 220 million of cattles, sheeps, goats and horses which are now raised by the Americans (1996). It won't therefore need the huge amounts of fertilizers which are to grow crops as food for food animals. Above all it will give another meaning to the concept of time and will avoid like the plague the current frenzy of production, due to the cycle of replenishing the Capital in its accumulation. All the existing capital is past work, dead work. It is good reason for the cycle of consumption and obsolescence of fixed assets to be called amortization, from the Italian "ammortare" that means "to kill". In the future society, as mentioned in one of our texts, the regeneration of production factors should rather be called revitalization (from italian "vitalizzare", "to give life" in english) , in harmony with the new way of being of the social production and reproduction.
In general, the indiscriminate use of industry products, chemical and mechanical, saturating large areas with buildings of all types, not only involves a pervert energy balance, not only the environmental disruption and the consequent disappearance of a living organic entirety, but also the regression of ecological equilibria, typical of systems consolidated through the millenniums and based on a complexity which is sufficient to the self-organization of answers to destabilizing events. These systems, like the virgin rainforest, but also like the European countryside being "landscaped" by human hands for thousands years until capitalism, are composed of intricate networks of relationships, where one determination has multiple effects, and where multiple determinations contribute to the same effect: all relations tending to maintain the harmony of the system itself (homeostasis). Instead, the regression according to instability, as if a system was still in formation, leads to situations of linear accumulation of contradictory causes with positive feedback, as the very term "accumulation" tells. Here we are facing exponential dynamics, that is systems tending toward a point of arrival at an increasing speed. The fact is that the point of arrival is always a catastrophe, because in their immaturity, they do not have the ability of self-organizing, they don't know the project, they split and patch brutally, with no consciousness of the becoming. In short, they don't know relative time, they live a linear time contracting in a constant spasm.
As we know, time runs short by adopting certain benchmarks, but adopting others it is possible to expand it. Cultivation time within capitalism is certainly not what will be the typical one of the future society. The elimination of the property will lead to the rationalization of the available space and humanity will be able to establish, without being compelled by hunger or profit, in which spaces to live in and which ones to intensively or extensively cultivate, with classical rotations or with the total reintegration of humus, without suffering the stress of time-money. Calmly and deliberately it will even decide wether it is useful to leave alone a part of it as it is and which one: with deserts, forests, savannas, in the ecological natural balance with all animal life that inhabits them. It is the bourgeois individual that has no time; the social man is nothing more than a cell of a more complex organism, the species, which is there from millions years ago and there will be there for others millions years. The species has all the time it wants. It's got even the time to design a natural balance, as the rural landscape had been stabilized in equilibrium along the millennia, until capitalism.
Ecological models made by computers show, for example, that the rational use of semi-wild animal meat would be possible. In the steppes of Asia, because of indiscriminate hunting, was drastically reduced the number of saigas, an ox like antelope; today a minimum of control brought back the number of flocks to 3 million units, of which 300,000 each year are chosen and hunted quite rationally. On the prairies of the United States, it is estimated there were from 30 million to 100 million bison, a huge mass of protein that allowed an abundance of food and skins for indigenous peoples; today, despite the near-extinction caused by man and the subtraction of suitable spaces, the bisons are reproducing themselves fast and are about 200,000, half of which in large breeding in the wild. Both the American bison and the European buffalo have a rustic and high efficiency digestive system, able to digest very poor forages and to grow in a semi-wild way more than other animals, though more slowly. Their meat is similar to the one you could find at butcheries in the country when work cattle were butchered.
Amongst other things Liebig used, for his extract and for the bone meal used as fertilizer, precisely the cattle that in Argentina had fled from the herds and had reproduced in the wild. These animals were captured and sold cheaply. The same thing still happened in the U.S. until the 1930's with the mustangs, feral horses. Even in Italy, a country with no large available space, there are fairly large territories, now abandoned, where the breeding in the wild would be possible if the property boundaries didn't lay down certain limits. In the small Corsica the breeding in the wild is practiced, even if marginally. Men will surely not return to the hunt as their prehistoric ancestors, but the examples can demonstrate that if they will monitor the energy balance and will decide to maintain an omnivorous diet, they'll be able to leave a space for grazing animals for a rational use of proteins. This will finally allow them to eliminate, amongst other things, that infamous institution which is the battery farming.
The destruction of the boundaries between private lands will allow the reshaping of the country land rationally alternating arboreal crops and arable land and grazing, in order to prevent erosion and retain soil moisture. The downsizing of the cities, with the elimination of thousands of unnecessary rooms for bureaucratic and representative activities, will weaken the boundary between town and countryside, with vast areas of mutual penetration with no danger of poisoning by industrial and urban pollution. The old separation between citizens and peasants will thoroughly disappear, since the disappearance of the social division of labor will give way to the free expression of individual differences directed, as different cells of a living organism, towards the best result of the whole.
Let's suppose to have produced, Marx says (Excerpts from Mills), as men for other men not being in conflict with each other as wage slaves, peasants, capitalists into a market from which everyone is estranged. Each one produces for the other what he needs, using his individual capacity at best, in a reciprocal relationship which realizes the humanity of production and not its alienation. The diversity of one is complementary to the diversity of the other, the idiot democracy is overcome factually, the man who produces apples connects with the man who produces computers on the basis of the actual quality of products and not in relation with an indistinct value. You cannot even talk about exchange or barter, but only about the production of objects or activities which are useful to life, entering in connection not with the market, money, prices, property, but with men whose needs are every other man matter. So it is not true that there is a bilateral universal law according to which I can only exchange objects with the same value, because even the maths shows that you cannot make transactions between apples and computers. So it is not true that everything is based on the alleged eternal do ut des: the mutual activities can be unmeasured, and men can also switch from one activity to another if it is useful to the mutual satisfaction. And satisfaction is not receiving anything in return, but it is the membership to the common social reality, for which the mere fact of producing individually is already satisfying, and is unilateral, does not claim anything as a duty, neither as a right.
This is the only way you can understand the nature of the new society moving forward; the one that too many "rough communists" still imagine as springing from a People's Commissars' office issuing decrees such as: "From now on money is abolished, tomorrow the division between town and country will be abolished, and the day after the peasants' ". Signed: the dictatorship of the proletariat.
Data sources not expressly mentioned in the text: Istat, Italian Minister of the Treasury, FAO, USDA, OECD, Eurostat, De Agostini Geographic Institute, European Garzanti Encyclopedia, The Economist, Barrass, Rifkin.
The points of the "Immediate revolutionary program" were treated during a meeting in Forlì in 1953. Our previous articles, which develop and deepen them, were published in the numbers 0, 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the review.
Partito Comunista Internazionale, Mai la merce sfamerà l'uomo, (Never commodity will feed Man - in italian only), texts on the agrarian question, Quaderni Internazionalisti.
Partito Comunista Internazionale, Il programma rivoluzionario della società comunista elimina ogni forma di proprietà del suolo, degli impianti di produzione e dei prodotti del lavoro (The revolutionary program of the communist society eliminates any form of property of the land, of the production plants and of the products of work - in italian only), now in Proprietà e Capitale, Quaderni Internazionalisti
Partito Comunista Internazionale, La questione agraria, (The agrarian question - in italian only), collection of articles, Quaderni Internazionalisti.
Partito Comunista Internazionale, Pressione razziale del contadiname, pressione classista dei popoli colorati (Racial pressure of the peasantry, pressure class of colored people - in italian only), now in Fattori di razza e nazione, Quaderni Internazionalisti.
Karl Marx, Comments on James Mill, Elements of Political Economy, Collected Works - volume 3, available online
Karl Marx, The Capital: unpublished Chapter 6 , published in italian by La Nuova Italia
August Bebel, Woman Under Socialism, available online
Lenin, Two Tactics of Social-Democracy in the Democratic Revolution, Collected Works - volume 9, available online
Lenin, A Caricature of Marxism and Imperialist Economism, Collected works - volume 23, available online
Karl Kautsky, On The Agrarian Question, Unwin Hyman Ltd.
Robert Barrass, Biology, food and people: the economic importance of biology, Hodder and Stoughton Ltd.
Jeremy Rifkin, The End of Work: The Decline of the Global Labor Force and the Dawn of the Post-Market Era, Putnam Publishing Group