Socialistic Agriculture

According to the socialistic ideology, private ownership of land leads to exploitation. The socialization of the means of production is, therefore, an essential element of this agrarian system that is predominantly influenced by the political ideology. Belonging to this is the conception that small farms have been passed up by technical progress and should be combined into large economic units, therefore. The third component is the rigid state planning of the agricultural production. The actual longterm goal abolishing the difference between agricultural and industrial ways of life has not been achieved to date. In fact, there are great differences between the individual East European countries and Cuba regarding the extent of their presently achieved socialization. Thus the extent of the socialistic sector in agriculture fluctuates between 96 % in the USSR and only 31 % and 25 % in Poland and Yugoslavia, respectively. The rest is split among small private farms and household plots that are allowed to the members of the collectives in all of the countries.

Regarding the farm organization in socialistic agricultural forms, a differentiation must be made between state farms (sowkhoz) and collective farms (kolkhoz) The latter is often given preference because although it is subjected to complete state control, the state does not have to bear the economic risk. This is shifted onto the shoulders of the members. Furthermore, the state can influence and direct wage levels as well as capital formation and capital transfer by means of delivery quotas and fixed prices. In other words, it can use the agrarian sector for its own economic policy goals. In this system, the individual household plot production plays an important role. In this case, labour intensive production is carried out in order to improve the farm members' own supply while simultaneously producing crops that are difficult to grow on a large farm unit. Animal husbandry also plays a certain role in the household plots. The profits allow an improvement in the otherwise partially low incomes.

The system has a few elements that have to be regarded as weak points from a production performance viewpoint. The collective bas to employ anyone looking for work owing to the right of employment, even if they are not needed. The percentage of controllers and idle time resulting from red tape on government farms is high. This, together with difficulties with the supply of inputs, results in relatively low production performance that, even over a longer period of time, cannot measure up to the productivity of Western industrial countries, It must be mentioned, however, that this is only one possible judgment criterion. The picture would be different if one took the factor contributions the capital and labour transfer in other sectors and contribution towards the political goals in these states into consideration.