The Economic History of Eastern Europe, 1919-1975 - Vol. 1

By M. C. Kaser; E. A. Radice | Go to book overview

Chapter 3
Agriculture

I. T. BEREND1


The postwar state of farming

Farming had been much changed during the half-century before the First World War; something of a modern capitalistic east European agricultural system had emerged from a congeries of near-serfdom and semi-nomadic stock-raising, but the transformation had followed two very different paths. In the first case, in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, Russia and Romania, the traditional feudal latifundia had been converted into large capitalist estates while retaining several of their feudal-type characteristics in the area of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy west of the Leitha. In Cisleithania about four thousand estates of over 500 hectares, or 1.2 per cent of the total number of holdings, owned 23 per cent of the arable land. Within this region, Bohemian- Moravian tenure was especially characterized by giant estates: more than 28 per cent of the arable area in Bohemia and almost 20 per cent in Moravia belonged to estates of over 2,000 hectares. At the same time, almost three million peasant farms of under 100 hectares, or more than 99 per cent of all holdings, occupied only two-thirds of the land. In Hungary, more than 32 per cent of the privately-owned land belonged to less than 3,400 of the largest estates (above 570 hectares),2 which represented only 0.2 per cent of estates, whereas 2.3 mn peasant farms, 99 per cent of holdings possessed only 52 per cent. In Romania some 1,500 estates of more than 500 hectares were 0.1 per cent of the total

____________________
1
The first draft of this chapter was presented at a conference in Oxford in September 1972. I should like to thank the participants at this conference for their comments, which helped in the preparation of this final version, and especially I should like to express my thanks to Professors Scott M. Eddie and M. Szuhay for their detailed and valuable observations. I also profited from the ideas, data and sources in Papers in East European Economics (see 'Notes' at the beginning of this Volume), particularly those of L. Berov, "The Economic Development of Bulgaria between the Two World Wars"; N. Constantinescu and V. Axenciuc, "The Economic Development of Romania in the Period between 1919 and 1939"; Z. Landau and J. Tomaszew ski , "The Main Social and Economic Problems of Poland between the Wars"; R. Munting, "A Comparative Study of Land Reforms after the First World War"; N. Vučo, "The Contribution of Agriculture to Economic Growth in Yugoslavia between the Two World Wars". It was also useful to be able to refer to the statistical tables compiled by Z. Allflatt.
2
Hungarian statistics used the unit of the 'cadastral hold' (yoke), which is 0.57 hectares and the highest division was at 1,000 cadastral holds, i.e. 570 hectares.

-148-

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The Economic History of Eastern Europe, 1919-1975 - Vol. 1
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Economic History of Eastern Europe 1919-75 ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Maps and Figures vi
  • Contributors to Volumes I and II vii
  • Notes xi
  • Acknowledgements xvii
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter I General Characteristics of the Region Between the Wars 23
  • Chapter 2 Human Resources 66
  • Chapter 3 Agriculture 148
  • Chapter 4 Raw Materials and Energy 210
  • Chapter 5 Industry 222
  • Chapter 6 Infrastructure 323
  • Chapter 7 Foreign Trade Performance and Policy 379
  • Chapter 8 National Income and Product 532
  • Index 599
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