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Title: The new agriculture operational subjects : capital accumulation and agrarian transition in rural China
Authors: Chen, Hangying
Advisors: Yan, Hairong (APSS)
Keywords: Agriculture -- Economic aspects -- China
Agriculture and state -- China
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Abstract: In recent years, China's agricultural production is undergoing a dramatic transformation. This dissertation intends to explore the China's agrarian transition through a case study of an agricultural township in the south part of Anhui province. It has found that the peasant economy is in accelerated disintegration and its dominant position in China's agricultural production is being replaced by the capitalist agricultural production, which is perhaps the most distinctive characteristic of China's agricultural production in recent years. Through the review of the rural policy documents, I find that the collective land system in rural China has already mutated since the establishment of Household Responsibility System. And this situation has been further aggravated after the implementation of the "separation of three rights relating to land" (Sanquan fenli). The land in rural China, essentially, has been commodified with the institutional designs, but is still owned by the collective economic organization namely. It is in this sense that I argue that the collective land system cannot hinder land concentration, but speeds up the land separation from the peasant households in a non-violent way. Along with the commercialization of farmland, China's small peasant class has experienced the differentiation and disintegration and has been replaced by four types of new subjects of agriculture, that is the capitalist farmer, petty-capitalist farmer, medium farmer and the small-scale farmer. The capitalist farmer, petty-capitalist farmer and a small number of upper- and mid- medium farmer are composed of the leading group in the capitalist agricultural production system, while the lower-medium farmer and the small-scale farmer are in a subordinate position in this system. With the differentiation of the small peasant class and the entrance of the "capital beyond the countryside", a farm labor market has emerged in China's agricultural production sector. The labor buyers are the capitalist farmer, petty-capitalist farmer and the "capital beyond the countryside", while the labor sellers are the lower-medium farmer and the small-scale farmer. The formation of this labor market indicates that the labor force has also been commodified.
The commodification of farmland and labor signifies that the preconditions for the development of the capitalist agriculture production have been satisfied. Further, I prove that the so-called "superiority" of peasant economy does not marginalize the capitalist producers, rather provide them with the preconditions for the latter's enterprise development. Besides, according to their own power, capitalist agricultural producers will employ diverse capital accumulation strategies. They will accumulate capital not only in the field of production, but also in the field of circulation and from the various government agricultural projects. These diverse capital accumulation strategies suggest that the capitalist production not only can permeate into the agricultural sector, but also can realize the expand reproduction. It also proves that the capitalist agricultural producers can defeat the peasant family farming. However, the agrarian transition would not be carried out smoothly. In fact, it is filled with fight or collusion among different actors around the competition of resources, including land, labor, agricultural machinery services, agricultural products, as well as government subsidies and hand-outs. I argue that the scale agricultural producers, upper-and mid- medium farmers and the grain traders are composed of a community of interest and are forming into a "class for itself". While the lower-medium farmers and the small-scale farmers are still in a process of struggle over a class. With the deepening of the agricultural capitalization, these two groups will be involved in the sharp struggle. The future picture of China's agriculture will be the outcome of this struggle.
Description: xii, 400 pages
PolyU Library Call No.: [THS] LG51 .H577P APSS 2017 Chen
Rights: All rights reserved.
Appears in Collections:Thesis

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