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Why Are Irish Farmers Above Criticism?

category national | eu | opinion/analysis author Tuesday August 16, 2011 18:42author by Paddy Hackettauthor email rasherrs at eircom dot net Report this post to the editors

Billions given to farmers by the state

Besides this pot of gold the farmers may receive other moneys from European revenue. Many of the farmers officially retire and receive a pension for this while their sons continue to farm. But many of these older farmers only officially retire. Many of them unofficially continue to work while picking up their regular pension. And as far as I know their pensions were not cut as were those of the public service.

The mainstream media (tv, radios and print) repeatedly attacks workers pay and conditions in the public service. Yet there is hardly a comment from them concerning the farmers which are on the whole self-employed business men. These self-employed according to figures for last year received 1.8 billion euros from the EU. One billion of this is paid from Irish tax revenue. The rest of it is paid by the EU itself.

As I understand it these farmers dont have to grow crops or breed animals to avail of these funds. Yet there is little discussion on this in the Irish media. Insstead themedia and others  endlessly attack public service employees. The leadership of these public service unions, including the teacher union leadership,ns contribute almost nothing to the defence of these workers.

Besides this pot of gold the farmers may receive other moneys from European revenue. Many of the farmers officially retire and receive a pension for this while their sons continue to farm. But many of these older farmers only officially retire. Many of them unofficially continue to work while picking up their regular pension. And as far as I know their pensions were not cut as were those of the public service.

Finally many Irish farmers are  "hobby farmers". They have had other jobs. They have worked in the building industry and some still do. And all the while they, as I understand secure grants etc from the state.

Related Link: http://paddy-hackett.blogspot.com
author by Rational Ecologist.publication date Fri Aug 19, 2011 10:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Corporate welfare usually favours those who least need it. Massive money given to huge companies is a feature of the modern world and agriculture is no different. I don't have the stats', however, I'd be of the opinion that the farmers who benefit most are those who need it least. Most small and medium-sized farms are not economically viable in a system that is obsessed with meat production and cereal for meat production, while we import a huge amount of fruit and veg.I am not a farmer but am from a rural, working-class background and understand that not all farmers are the same. Look at the 'flight from the land' over the last 40 years.Big is beautiful is the catch cry of our times. It will also be the epitaph on the headstone of our culture! 

author by pat cpublication date Fri Aug 19, 2011 12:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Excellent points by Paddy & RE. The CAP is a welfare system for the rich. While I could see some rationale for more money going top small farmers, the question remains: should we be supporting hobby farmers?Self employed carpenters, electricians, barbers etc do not receive state subsidies; why should small farmers  get special treatment?The pockets of the European proletaraiat are being picked to prop up the peasantry.

author by yeah yeahpublication date Fri Aug 19, 2011 12:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

1.8 billion euros eh?

Well it's till just a drop in the ocean compared to what has been looted by the henchmen of the banks.

If people in Irish society start turning on each other, as the media and the politicians want us to do, then the wholescale looting of Irish wealth will go unchecked.

Personally I prefer to highlight the real criminals - the banks and bankers and politicians who have looted Irish wealth to guarantee debts not of the Irish people but of private companies. Once we have done something about them, then maybe we can go after the farmers - until then anything else is just stupid

author by Rational Ecologist.publication date Fri Aug 19, 2011 13:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

A little Marxism. like knowledge, is a dangerous thing. The urban worker has no gripe with the small farmer or at least shouldn't have. There are many problems with the CAP and REPS, however, the problem is much bigger and more complex than that. Go back to your text book and see what Marx really said.To quote Gandhi(Mahatma), "when a country loses its peasants, it loses its soul. 

author by Paddy Hackettpublication date Fri Aug 19, 2011 17:58author email rasherrs at eircom dot netauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Some interesting remarks and observation made in the above pieces.

Perhaps I simplified things to make my point. I share the view that there is SOCIAL differentiation among Irish farmers. Some have much more profitable farms than others. Some probably employ a workforce outside of the family and are thereby bourgeois. However I must confess I have not studied Irish agriculture for a long time now. But I do get the impression from anecdotal evidence that hardLy any farmers today employ substantial workforces. If I am right this is because of the advanceD nature of agricultural technology and structure of farming today. Many farmers contract out much of the work to capitalists who have the for purposes of harvesting etc.These companies service the farms. They employ workers who operate the harvestors and other machinery. Much of the means of production are concentrated in their hands. Irish agriculture directly linked to horses is probably quite capitalistic. Under the Haughey regime, I believe, these horse farmers received enormous exemptions from taxation. They are also a very snobbish collection of entrepreneurs. There are probably other niches that city folk are hardly aware of such as cheese-making farms. I have not the time to study this area. However I hope to in the future. Perhaps others can chip in who may have more expertise here.

I also omitted to indicate that many farmers are responsible for the destruction of the countryside. They unscruplously fell valuable trees,spread slurry into rivers and lakes. They have nothing but contempt for flora and fauna. They muck up walking trails virtually rendering them unwalkable.They just see their animals as commodities and are indifferent to their well being.

Because of the nature of the Irish farmer they have served as a conservative even reactioary force with regard to modern Irish history. The Irish farmer, even the smaller ones, were silenced by the concessions won as a result of the 19th century Land Wars. Then under DeValera the landed aristocracy was, largely speaking, completely bought out for the farmer. This meant that the farmer, big or even small, had not go a vested interest in actively supporting the struggle against British Imperialism. This explains too why they have been an active bastion of Roman Catholicism. In a sense the mass of Irish farmers were no longer a peasantry since they owned their own land. In England, as I undersand it, the farmers dont generally own the farming land. They rent it. This is why they have been so much more advanced than their Irish counterparts. They must increase their productivity to compensate for the rents that they pay to the landlord. The Irish farmer does not have to worry about the payment of such a cost since s/he is already ipso facto a landlord.

The interesting thing is that the farmer problem gets almost no coverage by the media and even much of the radical left. Apart from having a position on the issue of farmers in Ireland there has not been any sustained debate on the matter. The land question is just not an issue in Ireland. Some guy in TCD wrote a very interesting pamphlet on the subject approximately eleven years ago. But I dont think it got much attention. Fintan O Toole wrote some critical stuff too. But I dont think there was much follow up.

The above stuff is just off the cuff and may be subject to modification.

Related Link: http://paddy-hackett.blogspot.com
author by JoeMcpublication date Sun Aug 21, 2011 18:33author email joemcivor at gmail dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Paddy should start his modification with the title of the piece. When have farmers been above criticism from city dwellers who don't know what they are talking about ? Paddy writes that he hasn't studied agrigulture for some time, I can't see how anybody who had studied agriculture at all could write  , "In a sense the mass of Irish farmers were no longer a peasantry since they owned their own land"

author by An Draigneán Donnpublication date Mon Aug 22, 2011 00:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

We cannot leave the structure of farming as it is in Ireland today. We see that farmers now get two thirds of their income from hand outs paid for by the urban worker. So its clear that the current structure of farming is uneconomical and can only be sustained by putting a massive burden on urban workers. Farm collectivisation has a bad name, but, in reality, this is what the EU has being trying to do for a long time, i.e. to push out the small and middle sized farmer in favour of the large ranch. The only trouble with this system is that it puts incredible and unmerited wealth in the private hands of the rancher. Larry Goodman, for example, collects a single hand out every year of half a million euro - just for owning so much land. It makes much more sense to run these large farms/ranches as state farms, with workers doing a 40 hour shift, like any other worker. As I say, all Irish farms are massively subsidised already by the taxpayer. Even if the state farms were no more profitable, or even a good bit less profitable, it would still mean a massive saving for the population in general, as land for roads, schools, homes, hospitals, etc. would already be in state hands, so no addition fee would have to be paid. This would make an enormous change to the very structure of Irish society, as increases in productivity in the workforce would no longer be converted into higher land prices - as happened over the last ten years, and during all times of prosperity over the last several hundred years. Instead of increased productivity being swallowed up by land price inflation, it could instead be put into building up a native Irish industry that would lessen our junky like dependence on the multi-nationals. Its this retardation of Irish industry that is the real cost of leaving the land in the hands of about 4% of the population.

author by Mike Novackpublication date Wed Aug 24, 2011 13:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Finally many Irish farmers are "hobby farmers". They have had other jobs. They have worked in the building industry and some still do"

Uh -- unless the economics for farmers in Ireland is so very different than around here in New England these would scarcely be "hobby" farmers. My farming neighbors would find the suggestion that they weren't really farmers because one or more of the members of the family had to work off the farm to make ends meet. Is that how you describe working folks who hold down two or more jobs to get by? That one of them is just a "hobby".

Take the guy I buy firewood from. He's a farmer, but when he can he does a bit of logging and a bit of clearing building sites. Being a farmer he has the heavy equipment for that. Construction work is similar. Most farmers have the necessary experience from building structures on their own farms. So when the oportunity comes along to make a few extra bucks.......

The term "hobby farmer" generally used for something quite different -- middle and upper middle class folks who own a farm but don't work it to the extent that it actually makes much of a profit. Or although making as much as it would being farmed by anybody else that amount is trivial compared to their other income.

author by An DDpublication date Wed Aug 24, 2011 17:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hobby Farmers in not a correct term for most part time Irish farmers - and out of 125,000 farmers in the 26 counties, only 44,000 are full timers. There are Hobby Farmers in Ireland, such as Sor Anthony O'Reilly, who gets farmers dole for keeping a prize herd of cattle, that are only reared to enter shows. But that is quite exceptional. Most part timers are supplementing the poor wages they get in factories etc. with the state hand outs they get as compensation for being landowners.

The question, of course, is if two workers work in the same factory, both getting the same wages, but one owning land and the other being landless - why should the landless worker be forced to pay extra taxes from his meagre wage to give farmers dole to the one who happens to be a landowner?

author by Arthurpublication date Thu Aug 25, 2011 10:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Scapegoat time again, except this time it’s more serious. As a farmer having, previous experience in the wider industries, I feel that some realities need to be visited. Farmers in Northern Ireland currently receive £250 Million in single farm payment. Then there is in Mainland UK £19.5 Billion just to keep people in rented accommodation and that is only the tip of the benefit system, which is not sustainable. The big problems are now looming in energy costs that are supply related. The stuff is not there anymore, as oil has peaked. Studies by Giampietro & Pimental have worked out that the amount of energy, using hydrocarbons to create the daily diet for the average American takes about 20 minutes, without oil, more than 100 hours. Farmer bashers should look this up for themselves. We are lucky in this country that we have a large farming industry, currently in a position to feed the nation in a crisis, and every effort should be made to educate the young, that we need to be more sustainable. Finally if one looks at the figures regarding the National debt, public debt off balance sheet transactions etc it would seem, that the farmer is the only one pulling the economic Cart.

author by Paddy Hackjettpublication date Thu Aug 25, 2011 14:43author email rasherrs at eircom dot netauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

No matter what is said and done by our bucolic friends the point is that nearly two billion Euros was transferred from the Irish and European taxpayer to Irish farmers last year. There are probably other monies going their way too from taxation revenue. This is an enormous sum at a time when many workers are thrown out of work or suffer reductions in wages or pensions. The public sector workforce has been subjected to significant income reductions and increases in workload yet they are still vilified by the bourgeois mass media. Rarely is their any focus on the enormous transfer payments made to farmers, their destruction of the countryside, their hostility to urbanites who walk through the countryside. There are other negative aspects to Irish farming which I shan't touch on now.

Many of these farmers get a transfer payment from the gov. irrespective as to how productive they are. Yet the IFA has the audacity to attack the public sector workers. The IFA is an organisation that had as its chief an active and prominent member of the notorious Porgressive Democrats. He was also a government minister. The IFA never shows any solidarity with the working class nor has the tops of the trade union movement ever much to say that is critical of the farmers.

author by An DDpublication date Fri Aug 26, 2011 02:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Irish farmers get 75% of their income from state handouts. How in the name of Jesus can you say they are pulling the economic cart? Irish farmers are pulling something all right - put its not a cart.

author by Pat C - Anti Farmer Actionpublication date Fri Aug 26, 2011 12:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The IFA don't just attack Public Sector workers, they also attack workers in Co-ops calling for their wages to be cut so that farmers can get more. I haven't noticed any farmers opposing this attack on the rural proletariat.

Farmers are essentially a parasitic class, their handouts are paid for by working class and middle class people across Europe. Farmers pay practically no tax on the state handouts, they so cleverly manipulate their income that they will likely have medical cards but their labourers will be "earning too much" to qualify.

If its raining farmers want extra grants, if its not raining they have the paw out looking for more. There is always another reason why farmers think they should be able to stick their hand into ordinary peoples pockets.

Enough is enough: if the farmers protest in Dublin again then a counter-demo should be organised.

author by An DDpublication date Sat Aug 27, 2011 04:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The late economist, and former farmer, Raymond Crotty wrote in 1988:

Property in land I now percieved to be hardly less socially inequitable than property in man, or slavery, which Aristotle described as "the first, the best and most useful form of property." Indeed, some might deem property in land to be more heinously anti-social. One recalls, for example, that while a million Irish people starved to death during the 1840s so as to maintain or increase the profit from Irish land, the negro slaves of the United States of America, without any augmentation from the slave trade which by then had been stopped, were increasing in numbers by 2.5% annually. This was possibly the highest rate of population growth in the world at the time. Indubitably many starving, rack-rented Irish peasants, if given the choice, would have opted for slavery rather than to be the victims of property in Irish land.

The state in every former capitalist colony traces its lineaments directly to the administration established there for the purpose of exploiting the colony for metropolitan profit. In Ireland the state functions from the mile square surrounding Dublin Castle, the original centre of English rule in Ireland.

Capitalist colonial administrations operated on the basis of privilege with its corresponding disability (the disability of the great majority to have a decent life), The function of the state in all former capitalist colonies has been to maintain that privilege and associated disability. Privilege is defined as rights exercised without commensurate responsibility to the society within which the rights are exercised. They are pre-eminently rights enjoyed by a garrison class in return for services rendered to a capitalist colonial power. The epitome of capitalist colonial privilege is landed property, or the exclusive title by some to the land on which all depend for their existence. Landed property owes its origin in every former capitalist colony to the colonial regime. It is by far the most important form of property in all former capitalist colonies (think of Nama). It is the principal part of the capitalist colonial heritage.

Raymond Crotty, A Radical Response.

author by An DDpublication date Mon Aug 29, 2011 00:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

And some farmers are getting over half a million a year in farmers dole. We also have inflated food prices - maintained by trade protection. Electricity prices are only high from the ESB because the Neo-Liberal regime is fattening the company up for privatization.

author by Arthurpublication date Thu Sep 01, 2011 21:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I thought this article was off the page but someone seems to like the pulling the cart bit. The urban dweller needs to realise that peak oil, sometimes referred as Hubbert’s Peak may now be casting a dark shadow on the world economy. It is now reasonably verifiable that the planet is running out of cheap pumped oil, that has fuelled the economic development of the 20 century. Any decline in production or availability will have serious consequences for food production. If the theories regarding peak oil decline have substance then there is a need to plan for the decline in a positive way, immediately, whilst recognising the enormous difficulties of replacing the energy locked in oil or other hydrocarbons. Studies by Giampietro and Pimental’s already quoted, have evaluated that it only takes 20 minutes of labour to provide most Americans with their daily diet, as long as that labour is fossil fuelled; however without fossil fuels it would take 111 hours of endosomatic labour to produce food for the daily diet.
Whilst these facts are scary they do reflect a need to grasp some realities as to what the challenges farming is going face, producing food without abundant and cheap energy supplies. The Olduvai theory by Professor Duncan posits that there is only enough stored hydro carbon energy, on the planet, for one technological civilisation to exist and this will only last about 100 years, with 1930 as the starting date. This theory when viewed with high energy costs cannot be ignored as the population of the planet is now close to 7 Billion. The system influencers, including the farmer’s representative bodies including the NI farming press will soon have to realise that the farming future needs clear direction. With converging factors like the age of the farmer adding to the unsustainability of the present structures, all this brought about by questionable industrial processes designed to exclude human input at every level. This is something the urban man has failed to notice.
A higher priority and awareness by Govt regarding food production must replace the constant pettiness and media finger pointing regarding subsidies etc whilst ignoring the real drag on Govt finances. The facts now published concerning the UK finances, make dismal reading and need to be compared to the rewards the farmer receives for their input. NI farmers SFP previously quoted, of approximately £250 Million, must be compared to the whole UK almost £20 Billion of benefits just to keep people in rented accommodation at the states expense and that is just a small percentage of the total benefit costs paid out to those who are producing nothing. How can an economy sustain this burden?
The farmer is indeed doing his bit, pulling the economic cart, by feeding the nation, but more people are climbing into the cart, by demanding cheap food, whilst contributing nothing. One old farmer, who was ploughing with horses at 10 years of age, remembers being sent on an errand just as war had broken out in 1939. The then bar and grocery were combined in those days. Whilst he waited for his groceries the radio was on and Churchill said “The Farmers are going to save the nation” Two urban men who were drinking big pints, spluttered into them and came out with anti farming expletives, this shocked and annoyed the young boy. Not much has changed, except there is more of that type on the high stool today and it really is time for them to put something between their ears before it’s too late.

author by Annepublication date Sat Sep 03, 2011 11:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Congratulations Arthur, It looks like you shut the anti farmer squads up and about time too!! The future is far too serious. One has only to look at the volatility on the stock markets and current oil wars to know something has seriously gone wrong. If the Arthur's of the world are out there at least we will all get fed.

author by Ex-Farmer.publication date Sat Sep 03, 2011 13:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Farmers diesel is subsided by the taxpayer.

They even use the law to paint their cheap subsidised diesel a different colour.

If you try to remove the artificial colour from farmers' diesel you will be locked up in jail as a criminal.

author by pat c - Anti Farmer Action.publication date Sat Sep 03, 2011 13:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

None of the points made were answered by the farmers friends.

Its no way logical to give hundreds of thousands to some farmers. The IFA just use small farmers as cannon fodder. But why should even small farmers get subsidies? Self-employed carpenters, plumbers electricians don't get such subsidies. Why should farmers?

author by An Draigneán Donnpublication date Sun Sep 04, 2011 01:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Arthur makes the point that a huge amount of money is wasted on rent allowance. This is true. But who is that money going to? Yes, the landowners and speculators. End the private ownership of land, ans you end this obscene system. Needless to say, a large percentage of farmers have used their farmers dole to speculate on rental properties in the cities - and not only in Ireland. So, the farmers screw the landless worker once by forcing him to pay billions in farmers dole, and screw him twice by turning him into a renter of him home.

The plain fact is that Irish farmers are not able to sustain food production in Ireland. They can only do so by getting 75% of their income from farmers dole. That being the case, we need equity in the land for this money. It's time we stopped giving billions in free money to these sacred cows.

author by An DDpublication date Tue Sep 06, 2011 07:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

RTÉ's Behind the Walls program, starting last night, shows the reality of what private land ownership has done to the Irish people. Private ownership of the land in Ireland has lead to one of the most criminally insane and cruel regimes that has ever existed in any part of the earth. It's time this obscenity was stopped - once and for all. Ireland's land must be nationalized.

Related Link: http://www.rte.ie/tv/programmes/behind_the_walls.html
author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Tue Sep 06, 2011 13:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I reckon thats unnecessary, and would be so socially disruptive it would cause more extra problems than it would solve.

A redistributive taxation system would be more efficient, feasible, and less likely to return us to civil war. Think about it. Agriculture needs reform at many levels(why are we creating a food export industry before we ensure our own population is released from cheap, low nutrition diets because of poverty created by a general kissing of the marketeers' arses). How many of you theoreticians can run a farm, or plant a spud at the right time. Nor are all our farmers rich landlordy types. Its the Larry-d lad Goodmans and agribusiness needs addressing. That people are hungry, or malnourished through bad diet rather than lack of food in this country must amaze Asians, who know how to optimise returns on acres.
We should be looking at the contradiction between our national pieties about famine a few years back as we erected bronze memorials from Sydney to Boston(shade of the Zionist OUR holocaust hubris)and our productive focus on the export 'value-added' luxury food market for the already over-fed, while Somalia depends on fucking hand-outs.

Less ideology, more ideas.

author by Homesteaderpublication date Tue Sep 06, 2011 21:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Yes, the Goodman types and multi-nationals have to be addressed. The ordinary (less than 100 acres) farmer works hard long hours to scratch out any kind of a living and you have to kiss the arse of Tesco or Dunnes to get their low prices or your products don't get sold. Farmers markets are alright for the hobby farmer but you won't rear a family with the few euro you make every second Sunday. My Great-Grandfather was one of the first catholic tenants to buy out the Local Lord in the 1880s so I ain't about to give my lousy 70 acres to some socialist regime.

Before anyone asks - No I dont get any farmers dole or subsidies.

But if anyone wants to hang up the pen and try the plough you can make me an offer.

author by An DDpublication date Tue Sep 13, 2011 00:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It's ridiculous to talk about taxing farmers. They are getting 75% of their income from farmers dole right now. Are you going to cut that out, and tax them on the 25% they have left?

No, since we are already paying for 75% of the wages of farmers, it makes much more sense to pay 100% of it, and own our land.

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Tue Sep 13, 2011 14:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You cant equate agri-business mega-farmers with smallholders.
And get real, are you seriously proposing to evict farmers and distribute an acre each to those who want to live in urban settings.
We need land reform that can be communicated, and we need address the issue from a global, not national, perspective. The rights of land-holding/owning must be recognised as privileges with obligations. Redispossession will not achieve that.
CAP subsidies have helped farmers modernise and increase efficiencies, the problem is it has been divorced from the obligation to feed, and replaced with the market privilege of self-agrandisment while those cleared off the land are considered begrudgers. It cannot be seperated from a more rational and lateral general redistrubution of resources.
First thing needs recognising is not just a minimum sustaining income for all, but a maximimum access to wealth control, unlike the current sky-is-the limit and the devil take the hindmost.

author by An DDpublication date Tue Sep 13, 2011 22:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Who is talking about evictions? Or distributism either? The people will own the land, and the current farmers, plus anyone else who wants to, can work the land as public workers, on state wages. This is the only way to keep the farmers on the land. If things keep going the way they are, in twenty years time all of Irish land will be owned by 10,000 ranchers, and most of todays small and medium sized farmers will be working in the cities - or working as wage-slaves for the ranchers.

author by Paddy Hackettpublication date Wed Sep 14, 2011 12:45author email rasherrs at eircom dot netauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Land nationalisation is a bourgeois measure. Michael Davitt, as a leader of the 19th century Land League in Ireland, called for the nationalisation of the land. Land nationalisation is not the same thing as the collectivisation of agriculture.

Farmers in the Irish Republic are both landowners and farmers. In this respect theere is a significant difference between the Irish farmer today and the Irish farmer in the 19th century. The latter were largely tenant farmers. DeValera had the opportunity to nationalise the land. However in order to dissolve any radicalism among Irish farmers, and the Irish masses generally,
he transferred ownership of the land from the landed aristocracy to the farmers thereby transforming the latter into landowners. In this way he hoped to take the land issue out of Irish politics thereby weakening the struggle for national liberation. This led to the attenuation of Irish popular struggle against oppression.

DeValera's legacy left Irish society with an abiding conservative farming community bearing a decidedly parasitic character both commercially and politically. It is this owner-farmers that have been a weight in retarding development in Ireland.

The farmers in Ireland, despite the existence of social differentiation within them, are landowners ---even landlords. "Landed property is based on the monopoly by certain persons over definite portions of the globe, as exclusive spheres of their private will to the exclusion of all others." (Karl Marx) Consequently ground rent, which has its basis in monopoly over the ownership of land, accrues to the Irish farmer. This means that there is less incentive for the Irish farmer to invest in his land to ensure that his profit exceeds the ground rent. It must be remembered that ground rent is a form of surplus value. It is a deduction from total surplus value thereby reducing the quantity of surplus value that accrues to the capitalist in the form of profit. Landed property is a form of backwardness in that it is an obstacle to the development of capitalism and the transformation of that society into a communist one. Surplus value in the form of absolute ground rent is no more than a deduction from the total surplus value created within the valorisation process. In this way it leaves less surplus value available for the accumulationj of capital.

Landlordism is a parasitic form since surplus value accrues to the landlord independently of any commercial activity on his part. It is this that invests the Irish farmer with a parasitic character. This parasitic character has been further propped up by the vast hand-outs to the Irish farmer. The farmers received at least 1.8 billion Euros last year. 1.6 billion of this is the product of revenue from Irish taxation. It was the state, via Fianna Fail, that transferred Irish land to the ownership of farmers and it is the state that persists in propping this sector up with, among other things, hand-outs.

Related Link: http://paddy-hackett.blogspot.com
author by Tpublication date Wed Sep 14, 2011 13:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Two points in response.

Firstly you say: This means that there is less incentive for the Irish farmer to invest in his land to ensure that his profit exceeds the ground rent......Landed property is a form of backwardness in that it is an obstacle to the development of capitalism and the transformation of that society into a communist one'

You seem to imply that if the parasitic creaming off in the form of ground rent can be removed, then he cant get more from his land by investing in it, whilst if he doesn't nothing more with it, I think you are implying that is a backward step or can be. If you take the environmental perspective, he can only invest and get so much from his land and then he will be exploiting it in a unsustainable way and is thus eating into the environmental capital. He is taking surplus value from the environment in that case. If the farmer is using the industrial agricultural practices then he is using finite resources like oil taken from far flung corners of the world and probably slowly poisoning the land with chemicals and destroying the right of existence to the rest of nature. If he is an organic farmer that impact is far far less and probably a lot closer to the ideal, but I wouldn't imagine anything but almost zero growth in the long term. Having said that I agree it could also lead to backwardness.

The second point relates to parasitism. I think we all understand the capitalism form of parasitism where surplus value is creamed off. If the land were to revert to communism, then I assume it would be collectivised. However a different form of parasitic behaviour can arise here and this is the basis of much of the criticism of the big collective farms of the USSR and so on. It is only by recognising and understanding the mechanisms, can we attempt to mitigate them. Parasites in the biological sphere are widespread at all levels of life. It is clear parasitic behaviour exists in the political and cultural sphere also -aka capitalism, but I sometimes get a distinct impression that if we just switched to socialism there would be none and the reason that I got this is because the focus tends to be on how the parasitic mechanisms work in capitalism and that it in itself is parasitic. The implication is that removing it, removes the problem of parasitism and therefore problem solved and since parasitism does not seem to get mentioned in discussion of other alternatives then people may deduce that the phenomena does not exist in them. It is a reasonable assumption to say that all complex systems likely suffer parasitism.

author by Paddy Hackettpublication date Thu Sep 15, 2011 10:33author email rasherrs at eircom dot netauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Much of the what the commentator above writes is ambiguous.

An inefficient farmer can be a serious polluter of her/his environment. Efficient farms are not necessarily more environmentally damaging than less efficient ones. You make reference to the Stalinist collectivisation of agriculture. I never suggested I was an advocate of such agricultural forms. The former Soviet Union was not communist.

Concerning farming under capitalism. I never suggested that such farming is not environmentally damaging. I never suggested that capitalist farming should be supported.

Incidentally the opportunity for land nationalisation goes back to the early twenties. So this opportunity goes back to before De Valera. Furthermore the farmers in paying annuities in exchange for land ownership were only paying half the rent they would have been paying as tenant farmers under landlordism. The funds , then, for land purchase were funded from revenue from taxation.

The state effectively paid for much of the land that Irish farmers now own. The Irish working class suffered so that Irish farmers could own Irish land.

Related Link: http://paddy-hackett.blogspot.com
author by Tpublication date Thu Sep 15, 2011 11:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

First off, I wasn't implying that you were suggesting that farming under capitalism is not environmentally damage and should not be supported. It clearly is damaging and I was pointing out that industrial agricultural in its present form is unsustainable. I was also trying to introduce the concept that the parasitic divide is not just human centric in terms of taking surplus from human labour, but we must consider that there are two additional components. One is the capital stock of nature itself, in terms of plants, animals, good soil, clean water and genetic diversity and the second is lets called it the ecology factor. Essentially that no matter what the political and economic regime is, that if humans use the land for their own needs (even a sustainable farm can do this), then we are exproitating from the rest of nature and are being parasitic against those entities. In plain language it really means, we should not take all the land for human use, but should allocate a certain amount to remain free or wild as it were to allow all the other living things to exist since they need space to live too. i.e. the rest of life has some sort of right to live.

The second point to clarify was that I wasn't saying you were advocating collective farms as per Stalinist system. What I was saying though is that if capitalism was got rid of tomorrow and I think you were saying if we moved away from the model of ownership, then I'm presuming we would have some type of collective type of farming system. The exact model that could take is one of many forms. My point here was that it is highly likely that all of these forms also suffer parasitic effects which may be quite different to the form it takes under the capitalist model, but they would exist nevertheless because practically all complex systems exhibit parasitism. Therefore I think the discussion would benefit from a consideration of these since the main part of the discussion is focusing on how the structure of the present system affects behaviour and consequent distribution of benefits or gains.

author by Germanic.publication date Thu Sep 15, 2011 13:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Irish Farmers.
I Love your food.

Germans who pay are getting fed up of your Irish whinging .

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Thu Sep 15, 2011 14:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

But some of us Irish are wondering why you should have the benefits of our prime produce, while we cant afford to buy meat regulary because we're paying interest on fraudulent loans from the German, and other, mega-EUsurers.
You get to have your reich and eat it, we get emigrant boats for our kids and subsistence rations. No wonder your fed up, we feed ye, on our kids' stolen wealth.

Of course, if our constitution still prevailed, the 'common good' clauses would ensure the island was run for its people, rather than your agribusiness cartel.

Asa for Paddy's attribution lof Irish farmer conservatism to De Valera, I think John B might say ran deeper and further back.

author by Paddy Hackettpublication date Thu Sep 15, 2011 14:33author email rasherrs at eircom dot netauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors


Unlike many mainstream marxists I am of the view that the planet is vastly over-populated by the human species. This may prove to be a serious factor in the extinction of the human species.

I support population control on a regulated basis. We are overly species centred -a kind of species imperialism.

Each time a highway is constructed much flora and fauna is destroyed.

Related Link: http://paddy-hackett.blogspot.com
author by JoeMcpublication date Thu Sep 15, 2011 15:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Landed property is a form of backwardness in that it is an obstacle to the development of capitalism and the transformation of that society into a communist one' ...........Paddy

Population control beginning with the small farmers then , as we must logically encourage big farmers and ranchers so that they can play the role history has set down for them and become capitalist farmers (as if they aren't already!) . Then according to Paddy's grand stagist schema , after you've got rid of the small farmers and have established these huge super-efficient , profitable capitalist ranches , you can proceed to socialist property relations.This would , if Ireland were to take the UK, USA , France or any other developed country as models for capitalist development of agriculture, take about two or three centuries.

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