By Graham Cox
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Extra info for Agriculture: People and Policies
At one level this association can be traced to the immediate effects of two World Wars, in which national security became identified with agricultural self-sufficiency, as in the British case. In France, the aftermath of the First World War created conditions favourable to greater state intervention in the domestic market and helped sustain tariff protection. Throughout Europe the rising tide of agrarian populism gathered many new adherents to its nationalist, anti-communist banner during the 1930s.
However, before embarking on this course, it is necessary to lay to rest another line of enquiry which misconceivedly would distinguish agriculture from other types of production in capitalist economies. THE LACK OF SPECIFICITY OF AGRICULTURE IN CAPITALIST ECONOMIES Various characteristics have been put forward as marking off agriculture but on closer scrutiny none is unique to it. For example, agriculture can be understood as a 'rural production 42 process' which uses land as a 'material base of production' as claimed by Goodman and Redclift in this volume.
Thus land gives no unity to agriculture. Agriculture takes various forms: the marginal (to capital) production of plants and animals, at least partly for direct consumption or local markets ('peasants'); part-time farming by people who are waged workers, capitalists, professionals, managers, etc. in the larger economy; simple commodity production, which is fully integrated into specialized product markets (the 'family farm'); capitalist production employing temporary, marginal, or seasonal labour; and capitalist production undertaken by multinational capitals and employing stable, often unionised, labour forces ('industrial agriculture').
Agriculture: People and Policies by Graham Cox