Economic Differences between Agriculture and Industry



The economic superiority of the large-scale over the small-scale enterprise is one of the fundamental ideas of Social Democracy. It has received clear confirmation from the way small-scale artisanal production has been progressively overwhelmed by the big capitalist factory in almost all branches of industry. But in agriculture it is different. Here this idea has as yet not received the appropriate confirmation by reality. A gobbling-up of small enterprises by medium ones, of medium ones by large, and of large by gigantic enterprises is nowhere in evidence in agriculture as a mass phenomenon. Where peasant property has been brought together on a large scale by purchase, this has not happened in consequence of the economic defeat of small property by a large neighbour in competition with it. Moreover the purpose of driving the peasants from the land has not as a rule been the setting up of large-scale enterprises of greater technical perfection, but the replacement of arable cultivation by sheep pasture, as in Scotland, or even by game preserves, as in the Alpine lands of Austria. And even in places where the land did remain under cultivation the big landed proprietors did not proceed with the introduction of large agricultural enterprises, conducted with the aid of all the instruments of modern technology, but subdivided their total land area into fragments of varying sizes and let it out to farmers (Ireland!).


Small Enterprise Economic Difference Agricultural Enterprise Scale Enterprise Animal Power 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1984

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