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Capitalization without Proletarianization in China's Agricultural Development

author Philip C. C. Huang Gao Yuan and Peng Yusheng publish : 2012/3/26 0:00:00   hits :  2508
Marxist as well as classical and neo-liberal theories expect that the development
of capitalist agriculture will be accompanied by the spread of an agricultural
proletariat. That was what happened in eighteenth-century England; it is
also what is happening in contemporary India. This article asks, first of all: just
what is the size of China’s present agricultural proletariat? And how do we
understand and explain those dimensions? Our finding is that, contrary to our
own initial expectations, hired agricultural year-workers in China today total
only 3 percent of all labor input in agriculture (and short-term workers another
0.4 percent), in sharp contrast to India’s 45 percent, this even while the past
two decades have seen very substantial “capitalization” (i.e., increased capital
input per unit of land) in agriculture. We term the phenomenon “capitalization
without proletarianization,” perhaps the most distinctive characteristic of recent
Chinese agricultural development.


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