The nature of peasant societies
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The nature of peasant societies book
In the nineteenth century certain assumptions were made which have become the basis of most modern economic theories that seek to explain the behaviour of farmers. The family derives income not only from agriculture, but from crafts; for much of the year family labour is unemployed because of the seasonal nature of agricultural production. Chayanov argued that the peasant was fundamentally different from the capitalist farmer, so different that it could be said that a peasant mode of production existed. Many workers have attempted to define the characteristic features of the peasant household and the peasant economy. Nineteenth-century historians laid great stress upon the evolution of the commercialization of agriculture and the decline of the subsistence economy. The major inputs on the pre-industrial farm were thus labour and land; capital inputs were relatively unimportant. Many argue that modern and historical peasant societies were reluctant to take risks; and with good reason.