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Petty commodity production : A village of tobacco producers in northern Turkey

Ecevit, Mehmet Cihan (1988) Petty commodity production : A village of tobacco producers in northern Turkey. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86262) (KAR id:86262)


Until the mid 1950s, Turkey was an agrarian society. In some 60 years, the active population in agriculture has fallen from about 80 % or more to around 50%; and Turkish agriculture has changed drastically and become largely commercialised and technical. The state intervention that started in the early 1930s intensified after the 1950s. The State provided the infra-structure, cheap credits, subsidised technical inputs and agricultural machinery, extended market networks to encourage the scale and volume of commodity production. The agrarian structure has been dominated by small land holdings both in Ottoman and Republican Turkey. In the development of agriculture and the transition to capitalism, petty commodity production (PCP) has played a dominant role.

I argued that petty commodity production does not have a 'separate' relations of production but that its relations are defined by the capitalist laws of motion and by the central conflict between capital and labour. The simple reproduction structure of petty commodity production is highly commoditised, yet they still expend labour and own land in non-commodity forms. Thus petty commodity production differs from capitalist commodity production in both agriculture and industry, although it exists within capitalist relations. In this context this thesis analyses the petty commodity production in a village of tobacco producers in Northern Turkey. It explores the conditions for and limitations of capitalist transition by focusing both on the conditions of vialibity, and on the factors making for differentiation. I argue that both the non-commodity and the commodity features of PCP and the way its simple reproduction is integrated into capitalist commodity relations determine the conditions and limitations of capitalist transition of agriculture. PCP'ers survive by increasing their scale and

volume of commodity production and by adapting technical inputs and mechanisation. They must be able to maximise the productive expenditure of the labour of all members of their household by intensification and extention of their labour-time and use seasonal wage-labour to a level not to decrease this maximisation. PCP'ers must seek means to be a competitive commodity producers whether under subsidy policies of the State or not. They must organise politically and economically to face capital and the State in their struggle to control the conditions of their production and to pursue their interests to increase their standard of living. Thus in spite of changes, petty commodity production seems to persist as a form of organisation of agricultural production within capitalist social formation, although at the same time there is a continuous tendency of differentiation.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86262
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Uncontrolled keywords: Commodity production in Turkey
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2019 16:38 UTC
Last Modified: 14 Feb 2022 11:56 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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