This article is an abridged version of the book by Jan Douwe van der Ploeg “Peasants and the Art of Farming. A Chayanovian Manifesto”—the second one in the series of “little books on big ideas” in the sphere of agrarian transformations established by Saturnino (Jun) Borras. The author identifies key features of the structure and dynamics of peasant agriculture, and its historically variable characteristics that determine labour, production and social processes and relationships. Van der Ploeg believes that peasant agriculture can play an important, if not central, role in augmenting food production and ensuring sustainable rural development. However, peasants today, as in the past, are materially neglected. Based on the ideas of Alexander Vasilyevich Chayanov, the author seeks to address this neglect and to show how important peasants are in the ongoing struggles for food, food sustainability and food sovereignty. The author examines two main balances identified by Chayanov—the labour-consumer balance and the balance of utility and drudgery, as well as a number of other interacting balances (between people and living nature, of production and reproduction, of internal and external resources, of scale and intensity, etc.), and emphasizes their social, economic and political importance in the past and present. The author also considers the position of peasant agriculture in the wider social context focusing on the town-country relations, state-peasantry relations, and on the balance of agrarian growth and demographic growth. At the end of the article, there is an overview of different models and mechanisms for increasing productivity and intensification, the choice of which is determined by the dominant discourse (i.e. by the state priorities reflected in agrarian programs and reforms, and by the position of agrarian sciences in designing the future of agriculture and assessing the role of peasantry), and a brief description of the current trends of repeasantization in Europe.
peasantry, peasant farming, Chayanov, interacting balances, the state, agricultural sciences, the agrarian question, repeasantization, productivity (yeilds), intensification
van der Ploeg Jan Douwe, Professor at the Wageningen University (the Netherlands) Droevendaalsesteeg 4, 6708 PB Wageningen and at the China Agricultural University in Beijing.
Trotsuk Irina V., DSc (Sociology), Associate Professor, Sociology Chair, RUDN University; Senior Researcher, Center for Agrarian Studies, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration. 119571, Moscow, prosp. Vernadskogo, 82.
The article is based on new and well-known scientific sources on the work of economists of the school in the League of Agrarian Reforms and Main Land Committee of the Provisional Government aimed at developing the agrarian reform. The author identifies the milestones in the work of these organizations from their establishment to the liquidation. In the brief historiography based on the archive data, the author considers the participation of the school in the founding congress of the League and SLC, in the work of the Executive Committee and Council of the League, and in the second congress of the League and SLC held after the July events in Petrograd. The author studied the work of economists in the key commissions of the SLC on redistribution of the land fund. The statistical and economic reports of N.P. Makarov and A.N. Chelintsev were examined to identify their roles in the reforms. The author reveals the reasons to destroy the data of the all-Russian agricultural and land census, the causes of the incompleteness of the reform, and the fates of its organizations. Based on the new archive sources the author considers the structure, work and liquidation of the Department of Agricultural Economy and Policy of the Ministry of Agriculture headed by A.N. Chelintsev.
history of the Russian revolution, agrarian reform, League of Agrarian Reforms, Main Land Committee, agricultural census, A.N. Chelintsev, A.V. Chayanov, N.P. Makarov, A.A. Rybnikov
Savinova Tatyana A., PhD (Economics), Head of Organizational-Methodical and Personnel Work Chair, Russian State Archive of Economy; 119992, Moscow, B. Pirogovskaya St., 17.