chapter  8
25 Pages

PEASANTS OR PROLETARIANS? THE TRANSFORMATION OF AGRARIAN PRODUCTION RELATIONS IN EGYPT

WithElizabeth Taylor

Agriculture comprises the largest sector of the Egyptian economy, accounting for one-third of Gross Domestic Product and employing over half of Egypt's labour force. More than 90 per cent of agricultural producers are peasants who cultivate small plots of less than five feddans, primarily by means of household labour. This chapter describes to identify some of the processes involved in this transformation of agrarian production relations. It deals with an outline of peasant production and agrarian structure within the recent history of Egyptian agriculture, and of the transformation processes at work at the national level. It is true that the transformation of Egyptian agriculture over the course of the nineteenth century involved both the generalisation of private property relations in land and the transformation of subsistence agriculture into agricultural production centred around commodity production. Industrialisation in Egypt in the twentieth century was to a large extent successful because of the changing role of foreign capital within the Egyptian economy.