On differentiation of the peasant economy (Article of A.V. Chayanov)

Chayanov A.V. On differentiation of the peasant economy (Article of A.V. Chayanov) // The Russian Peasant Studies. 2019. V.4. №4. P. 6-21.

DOI: 10.22394/2500-1809-2019-4-4-6-21

Annotation

This article by A.V. Chayanov was first published in the journal, “Paths of Agriculture” (1927, no. 5, pp. 101-21).This is a revised version of his report presented at the beginning of 1927 in Moscow at a discussion on the social-economic differentiation of the Soviet peasantry. Many prominent scientists participated in this discussion, including representatives of the two most important, ideological trends in Soviet agricultural science: on the one hand, Marxist agrarians (L.N. Kritsman, V.S. Nemchinov, Ya.A. Anisimov, I.D. Vermenichev, K.N. Naumov), and on the other hand, the so-called “agrarian neo-populists” (A.V. Chayanov, N.P. Makarov, A.N. Chelintsev).
In the report, Chayanov presents a new interpretation of the social-economic differentiation of the peasantry in Soviet Russia, which differs from the differentiation of the peasantry in pre-revolutionary Russia. According to Chayanov, after the destruction of the landlord and capitalist economies by revolution, the main reasons for the differentiation of the Soviet peasantry in the 1920s were regional contradictions in the peasant population distribution. On the one hand, peasants concentrated in the central, black earth regions, and on the other hand, they moved to the markets of sea ports and large cities. Chayanov argued that in this way, four types of relatively independent, family economies emerged from the mass of semi-subsistence peasant economies: farming, credit-usurious, commercial seasonal-working, and auxiliary economies.
Moreover, unlike the famous Marxist, three-element, agrarian scheme —“kulak– middle peasant–poor peasant”—which was developed by the school of L.N. Kritsman, Chayanov developed a more complex, six-element scheme of the differentiation of peasant economies: capitalist, semi-labor, well-to-do family-labor, poor family-labor, semi-proletarian, and proletarian. Based on this scheme, Chayanov suggested a number of economic policy steps for the systematic development of agricultural cooperation, primarily in the interests of the middle strata of the Soviet peasantry.
In the discussion of peasant differentiation in 1927, the arguments of Chayanov and his colleagues from the organization-production school were more convincing and justified than those of their opponents from the Marxist agrarians. However, in 1928, the Stalinist leadership began to inflate the threat of increasing class differentiation in the village. Thus, it initiated the struggle against the kulaks as a class, which became the prologue to forced collectivization during which Chayanov’s school was destroyed.
The publication with comments was prepared by A.M. Nikulin.

Keywords

peasantry, agricultural regions, USSR, social-economic differentiation, Chayanov, agrarian Marxists, agricultural cooperation

About the authors

Chayanov Alexander V.

Editor: Nikulin Alexander  M., PhD (Economics), Head of the Center for Agrarian Studies, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration; Head of the Chayanov Research Center, Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences. 119571, Moscow, Vernadskogo Prosp, 82.
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
Translator: Trotsuk Irina V., DSc (Sociology), Senior Researcher, Center for Agrarian Studies, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration; Researcher, Chayanov Research Center, Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences. 119571, Moscow, Vernadskogo Prosp, 82.
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

 

Read 796 times Last modified on Mar 15 2023

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