After the thankless job of explaining the things imputed to me, it is a pleasure to meet, at last, with an objection on fundamentals, even if formulated in terms of the stern rebukes ("fetishism," "utter failure to understand") which Mr. Skvortsov evidently considers very convincing, and even if the critic's own opinions have had to be surmised rather than seen plainly stated. Mr. Skvortsov is quite right when he says that my views "are the central theme of the entire book." In order to set off our points of disagreement more sharply, I will compare two extreme formulations of our opposite views: Mr. Skvortsov probably thinks (at all events, it follows from his objections) that the less the land the peasants received when they were emancipated, and the higher the price they paid for it, the faster would have been the development of capitalism in Russia. I think the opposite: the more the land the peasants received when they were emancipated, and the lower the price they paid for it, the faster, wider and freer would have been the development of capitalism in Russia, the higher would have been the standard of living of the population, the wider would have been the home market, the faster would have been the introduction of machinery into production; the more, in a word, would the economic development of Russia have resembled that of America. I shall confine myself to indicating two circumstances which, in my opinion, confirm the correctness of the latter view: 1) land-poverty and the burden of taxation have led to the development over a very considerable area of Russia of the labour-service system of private-landowner farming, i.e., a direct survival of serfdom,* and not at all to the
* Incidentally, in my book I definitely advance this thesis (that labour-service is a survival of serfdom). Mr. Skvortsov says nothing about this but takes my remark that, fundamentally, labour-service has existed ever since the time of Russkaua Pravda and storms about it; he cites a quotation from Klyuchevsky, talks of home markets in the 12th century, and of commodity fetishism, and asserts that [cont. onto p. 625. -- DJR] I think that "commodity production is the miraculous and all-explaining starting-point in history (sic !) since the days of Russkaya Pravda " (sic !). This, apparently, is some more of the "tchi-tchi" type of criticism to which, as it is, I think I devoted too much time at the beginning of this article.
development of capitalism; 2) it is in our border regions, where serfdom was either entirely unknown, or was feeblest, and where the peasants suffer least from land shortage, labour-service and the burden of taxation, that there has been the greatest development of capitalism in agriculture. This comparison is necessary precisely for an analysis of the conditions of the "transition from the one social formation to the other," which I am so fiercely and so sweepingly accused of ignoring by Mr. Skvortsov.
The extremely stereotyped nature of Mr. Skvortsov's views on the economic processes in peasant economy in this country is also revealed by his remarks on migration and on the way capitalism breaks down medieval barriers. Now, was I not right in drawing a comparison between Mr. Pavel Skvortsov and Mr. Nikolai-on? Both "solve" the problem of migration by an extremely simple and entirely negative criticism of those "who attach importance" to migration. But that conclusion is worthy only of the most primitive -- to wit, "genuine" -- Marxism, which contents itself with absolutely abstract . . . commonplaces. What does "attach importance" to migration mean? If we take these words in their literal sense, can there be a single economist of sound mind and good memory who does not attach importance to the annual migrations? If we take these words in the specific sense of capitalism, then, firstly, Mr. Skvortsov distorts my meaning, for I say the very opposite in the passage he quotes. Secondly, an economist who sets out to study the characteristics of the economic system and development of Russia (not only to bring lengthy, and often irrelevant, quotations from Marx) must necessarily ask: what influence is exerted by the migrations in Russia? Without making a special study of the question, I remarked in the passage indicated by Mr. Skvortsov that my conclusions on the differentiation of the peasantry fully correspond to those of Mr. Hourwich.* Moreover, I repeatedly
* A propos of Mr. Hourwich, Mr. Skvortsov, by his unwarranted [cont. onto p. 626. -- DJR] and supercilious attitude towards the "conclusions" of this writer who is known in Marxist literature as the author of two books and as a contributor to magazines, only reveals his own conceit.
touch on the subject of migration in other parts of my book. Maybe my views on this subject are wrong, but Mr. Skvortsov does absolutely nothing to correct or to supplement them; he tota]ly obscures the issue with his stern rebukes. Further, my remarks give Mr. Skvortsov grounds for concluding that the "commodity fetishist believes in the miraculous power of his fetish now" (sic !). Now, that is truly "crushing"! But do you deny that I am right, most respected Mr. Critic? Why not share your factual considerations with the public and examine the data of at least one uyezd? That would be so natural for a person who makes a special study of Zemstvo statistics! And I take the liberty of holding this view, in spite of Mr. Skvortsov's terrible words (fetishism, miraculous power), which -- does anyone doubt it? -- are enough to frighten anybody.*
* My words: "Before capitalism appeared, agriculture in Russia was the business of the gentry, a lord's hobby for some, and a duty, an obligation for others" (313), in Mr. Skvortsov's opinion "indicate that a whole social formation, the feudal mode of production, was merely a lord's hobby." No, Mr. Skvortsov, they do not "indicate" this at all, for I pointed out elsewhere that "feudal economy was a definite, regular and complete system" (192), and here I merely described one of the features of this system. That landlord economy contained an element of the "lord's hobby" can easily be seen by anyone who remembers the "Oblomovs of the feudal or bondage-suffering countryside" (218); and it is borne out by the Zemstvo statisticians who invented the expression "lord's hobby" (213), -- it is proved even by the data on a certain period in the development of the agricultural machinery industry in Russia: the attempts of landlords simply to import both workers and machines from abroad (193), which (219) were nothing but a "lord's hobby." -- "When and where the transformation by capitalism of the lord of the manor [votchinnik ]" (Mr. P. S. is wrong in thinking that this category is applicable only to the period "prior to the rise of serfdom"; it is also applicable to the period of serfdom) "and of the dependent peasant into industrialists was completed Mr. Ilyin does not, unfortunately, tell us." (2293) I speak of this in chapters II and III, and particularly IV, of my book, where I deal precisely with the transformation of agriculture into commercial and industrial enterprise. Very possibly, what I say about this process requires supplementing and correcting, I have no doubt that any serious and well-informed critic could do this; but Mr. Skvortsov, unfortunately, has utterly obscured the issue by simply voicing stern rebukes. That's hardly enough!
Finally, the last point on which one can discuss fundamentals with Mr. Skvortsov is that of the classification of Zemstvo statistics on the peasantry. Mr. Skvortsov has made a special study of Zemstvo statistics, and, if we are not mistaken, still continues to do so. One would, therefore, be justified in expecting him to say something based on facts and explaining this controversial and extremely interesting subject. I wrote: "we reject a limine any classification according to allotment and exclusively employ classification according to economic strength (draught animals, area under crops)," and I went on to say that classification according to allotment, which is far more common in our Zemstvo statistics, is absolutely unsuitable because life disturbs the equality (within the village community) of allotment land tenure: it is sufficient to recall such universally known and unchallenged facts as the leasing of allotments, their abandonment, the purchase and the renting of land and the supplementing of agriculture with commercial and industrial enterprises and with work for hire. "Economic statistics must necessarily take the scale and type of farm as the basis of classification" (105). Mr. Skvortsov's "criticism" consists in the following: "Mr. Ilyin is displeased with the classification of statistics on the peasantry according to allotment. There are two (sic !) classifications of statistics. One is the historical classification, according to which village communities (!) having the same amount of allotment land per registered person are gathered into one group. The other is a factual classification, according to which peasant farms having allotments of equal size, regardless of the communities to which they belong, are gathered into one group. What makes the historical classification important is that it clearly shows what the conditions were under which the peasantry passed from feudal to capitalist society . . ." and so forth on this theme, also examined above. . . . "The classification Mr. llyin proposes . . . utterly confuses the historical conception of the conditions of our peasantry's transition from the one social formation to the other. Mr. Ilyin's proposal is more in the nature of an industrial census (sic !), such as is taken in Germany" (2289). This is a sample of Mr. Skvortsov's criticism on a subject on which he specialises, and on a question on which, with the best will in the world, it is
impossible to "quote" Marx. The question is: What is the point of this argument about the "historical" classification of village communities, when I am dealing with the classification of house-to-house data? By what miraculous means can the classification of present-day house-to-house data "utterly confuse" the long-established historical data on village communities? Mr. Skvortsov is entitled to use the word "historical" in this connection only to the extent that he turns his back on history : if the classification of village communities according to size of allotment per registered person relates to the history of what happened 40 years ago, then what is going on before our eyes with ever-increasing rapidity is also history. Further, it is altogether inexplicable how a man who studies Zemstvo statistics and talks of all things in nothing less than the tone of a prophet can write that "there are two classifications" (of village communities according to allotment and of households according to allotment), when everyone knows that there are very many classifications : according to area under crops, number of draught animals, number of working members, number of farm labourers, house ownership, and so forth? How can Mr. Skvortsov declare so categorically, and without a shadow of proof, that only classification according to allotment is "factual," when the point at issue is precisely: is this classification a factual one ? I show for a number of uyezds that the distribution of allotment land among the peasant farms continues to this day to be marked by an "equality" that is relatively very great (20% of well-to-do households, 26-30% of the population, account for 29-36% of the allotment land in various uyezds or groups of uyezds), whereas the distribution of the factual indices of farming, draught animals, area under crops, improved implements, etc., is everywhere, without exception, incomparably less equal. Mr. Skvortsov contrives to criticise, and even berate, my statements, without saying a word about fundamentals.
It goes without saying that, not being a professional statistician, I laid no claims to solving the problem of classification. I think, however, that the basic problems of Zemstvo statistics (and the problem of the methods of classifying information concerning households is a basic one, as I point out in the passage quoted by Mr. Skvortsov) are things
which not merely Zemstvo statisticians, but all economists, have a right and even a duty to discuss. One cannot conceive of an economist who is studying the actual economic situation in Russia being able to dispense with Zemstvo statistics; and if the elaboration of Zemstvo statistics and the work of economists proceed independently, each in its own way, neither the one nor the other can achieve satisfactory results. That classification according to allotment is not a satisfactory factual classification has been admitted in part by the Zemstvo statisticians themselves, who have given a number of classifications according to draught animals and to area under crops of which I made use in my book. Just now, when the importance of the problem is particularly emphasised by practically all Marxists and is not denied even by economists of other trends, a re-examination of the problem should be particularly necessary. But Mr. Skvortsov, instead of offering criticism, presents us with pompous but quite vapid phrases like the following: "we need a summary of Zemstvo returns which gives a detailed account of the production and reproduction of peasant farming, so that anyone who desires may take up such an abstract and verify the 'conclusions' of Messrs. Ilyin, Postnikov and Hourwich" (2292). Yes, of course, "we need a summary"; but if these words are not to remain an empty sound, and if the summary is really to succeed in answering the main problems advanced by Russia's present economic system and by that system's evolution, what is needed is to raise and to discuss from all angles the fundamental problem of the methods to be employed in drawing up the summary, to discuss it without fail in general publications, and not merely among Zemstvo statisticians, and still less within the four walls of this or that Zemstvo statistical bureau. I raised this problem in my book and attempted to indicate its solution. It is not, of course, for me to judge whether the solution is a correct one. But I am justified in drawing the conclusion that Mr. Skvortsov, for all his sternness, has said nothing whatever about the problem, but has instead, without grounds for so doing, advocated routine methods, advocated a point of view that was already old in 1885 (see footnote on page 103 of The Development of Capitalism, where I quote from Mr. V. V.'s
article "A New Type of Local Statistical Publication" his admission that "the statistical data must be adapted to the groups themselves and not to such a conglomeration of the most diverse economic groups of peasants as the village or the village community," and where I raise the question as to why Mr. V. V. himself never once made use of the data on these most diverse groups).
In conclusion, a few words about "orthodoxy," which will not be superfluous, since Mr. Skvortsov's appearance in the role of "genuine" Marxist renders particularly urgent the precisest possible definition of what, if it may be so expressed, is one's position. While not in the least desiring to place Mr. B. Avilov on a par with Mr. Skvortsov, I nevertheless find it necessary to touch on a passage in the former's article in the same issue of the Nauchnoye Obozreniye. At the end of a postscript to this article Mr. B. Avilov says: "Mr. Ilyin stands also for orthodoxy. But I think there is still plenty of room for 'orthodoxy,' i.e., the simple interpretation of Marx . . ." (p. 2308). I think that the words I have italicised are probably a slip of the pen, for I said quite definitely that by orthodoxy I do not at all mean the simple interpretation of Marx. In the article which Mr. B. Avilov has in mind, after the words: "No, let us better remain 'under the sign of orthodoxy,"' I say: "Let us not believe that orthodoxy means taking things on trust, that orthodoxy precludes critical application and further development, that it permits historical problems to be obscured by abstract schemes. If there are orthodox disciples who are guilty of these truly grievous sins, the blame must rest entirely with those disciples and not by any means with orthodoxy, which is distinguisbed by diametrically opposite qualities" (Nauchnoye Obozreniye, 1899, No. 8, p. 1579). Thus I definitely said that to accept anything on trust, to preclude critical application and development, is a grievous sin; and in order to apply and develop, "simple interpretation" is obviously not enough. The disagreement between those Marxists who stand for the so-called "new critical trend" and those who stand for so-called "orthodoxy" is that they want to apply and develop Marxism in different directions : the one group want to remain consistent Marxists, developing the basic tenets of
Marxism in accordance with the changing conditions and with the local characteristics of the different countries, and further elaborating the theory of dialectical materialism and the political-economic teachings of Marx; the other group reject certain more or less important aspects of Marx's teachings, and in philosophy, for instance, take the side, not of dialectical materialism, but of neo-Kantianism, and in political economy the side of those who label some of Marx's teachings as "tendentious," etc. The former on this account accuse the latter of eclecticism, and in my opinion have very good grounds for doing so. The latter call the former "orthodox," and it should never be forgotten that use of this term has been made by opponents in controversy, that the "orthodox" do not reject criticism in general, but only "criticism" by eclectics (who would only be entitled to call themselves advocates of "criticism" to the extent that in the history of philosophy the teachings of Kant and of his followers are called "criticism," "critical philosophy"). In the same article I named authors (p. 1569, footnote, and p. 1570, footnote[*]) who, in my opinion, are representatives of the consistent and integral, and not eclectic, development of Marxism, and who have done for this development -- in the field of philosophy, in the field of political economy and in the field of history and politics -- incomparably more than, for example, Sombart or Stammler,** the mere repetition of whose eclectic views is regarded by many today as a big step forward. It is scarcely necessary for me to add that latterly the representatives of the eclectic trend have grouped themselves around E. Bernstein. I shall limit myself to these brief remarks on the question of my "orthodoxy," both because it is not immediately relevant to the subject of my article, and because I am unable here to elaborate in detail the views of the former, and must refer those who are interested to the German literature. On this subject the Russian controversies are merely echoes of the German, and unless
* See present edition, Vol. 4, Once More on the Theory of Realisation. --Ed.
** Cf. against Stammler the very proper remarks made by G. Cunow, part of whose article was translated and published in the Nauchnoye Obozreniye in 1899; then B. Lvov's The Social Law (ibid.), and the translation of Mr. Sadi Gunter's article which the Nauchnoye Obozreniye promises to publish in 1900.
one is familiar with the latter one cannot obtain a roally precise idea of the point at issue.*
* It is this eclecticism, in my opinion, which is the substance of the "new" "critical" trend that has "begun to take shape" in our literature latterly (cf. Struve's articles in Zhizn, 1899, No. 10, and 1900, No. 2, and Tugan-Baranovsky's in Nauchnoye Obozreniye, 1899, No. 5, and 1900, No. 3). The first-mentioned author began to "give shape" to leanings towards eclecticism over five years ago in his Critical Remarks, and immediately after that book appeared an attempt was made (as Struve will be good enough to recall) to "open the eyes" of the public to the mixture of Marxism and bourgeois science in his views. It is strange, therefore, to hear the following from Struve: "Simply to close one's eyes to the so-called (wrongly so-called, perhaps? -- V. I.) 'bourgeois' criticism of Marx's teachings and to engage in repeating and paraphrasing them, has hitherto proved not only useless but even harmful" (Zhizn, No. 2, 305). "Simply to close one's eyes," not only to bourgeois science, but even to the most absurd doctrines, up to and including extreme obscurantism is, of course undoubtedly harmful; that is a banal commonplace. It is one thing however, not to close one's eyes to bourgeois science, by keeping watch on it, and using it, but being critical towards it, and refusing to surrender the integrity and definiteness of one's world outlook; but it is another thing to give way to bourgeois science and to repeat for example, catchwords about Marx being "tendentious," etc., which have a very definite meaning and significance. As for "repeating and paraphrasing," does the repeating and paraphrasing of Bohm-Bawerk and Wieser, Sombart and Stammler, in itself, a priori, deserve more attention than the repeating and paraphrasing of Marx? Has Struve, who has managed to discern (in Russian literature, mind you) the "harmfulness" (sic !) of repeating Marx, failed to notice the harmfulness of uncritically repeating the fashionable corrections of fashionable bourgeois "science"? How far must one have departed from Marxism to have arrived at such an opinion, and at such an unpardonable "closing of eyes" to the present-day "vacillation of thought"! At the end of his article Struve particularly requests my views on the questions raised by the so-called "critics." I would reply to this that what specially interests me just now is the contemporary eclectic trend in philosophy and in political economy, and that I still hope at some future date to present a systematic analysis of this trend; but to chase after every single "fundamental error" and "fundamental antinomy" . . . of eclecticism is (I ask the pardon of the respected "critics"!) simply uninteresting. That is why I shall confine myself for the moment to putting forward a counter-suggestion. Let the new "critical trend" take the most definite shape, and not limit itself to mere hints. The sooner this happens the better, for then the less will be the confusion and the more clearly will the public appreciate the difference between Marxism and the new "trend" in the bourgeois criticism of Marx.