Academic journal article Political Economy Journal of India

Transition of Rural Artisans to Farm and Non-Farm Labour under Globalisation

Academic journal article Political Economy Journal of India

Transition of Rural Artisans to Farm and Non-Farm Labour under Globalisation

Article excerpt

The transition from feudalism to capitalism in England and France had caused by the bourgeois revolution and capitalistic development (Marx, 1959). The historical experience highlights that the transition to capitalism was successful where artisans and craftsmen producers became merchants and capitalists. Feudal economic system had provided the space for the growth of small producers, peasants and artisans. Under feudal economic system, the petty commodity producers owned their own means of labour, land, farm implements, and artisan tools. But due to its scattered nature, they were involved only in petty production (Vygodsky, 1966). With the passage of time, these petty commodity producers raised their production to a comparatively high stage through cooperation that had further facilitated the concentration of their means of production into one workshop. Due to the rise in demand for their produce over a period of time, the cooperation was replaced by the manufacture i.e., capitalist enterprises, based on manual techniques and specialisation of labour. With the introduction of machinery in production process, the result was an unprecedented increase in industrial output. The evolution of factory system had thrived many of the earlier manufacture out of the business. On the other hand, it decreased the percentage of highly skilled manual workers in the labour force. The majority of the artisans found work in the skilled small workshop sector of their own or moved towards large factories as workers. The transformation of Europe towards the industrialisation occurred through transformation of artisans and household production to large scale production. This transformation became successful largely due to the market in colonised countries that has facilitated the absorption of large scale production.

As far as India is concerned it has forced by the imperialist ruler towards the other path of development, where merchant directly sway over production and became capitalist. The rural artisans left their ancestral occupations because they faced a stiff competition with imported factory made products which entered into the villages through commercial castes such as bania, traders etc. The flow of factory made goods in the villages rendered many artisans jobless and they were either shifted toward agriculture as full time labourer or migrated to the cities for the search of livelihood (Gupta, 1980). Specifically, in case of Punjab, the rural artisans were performing various economic activities in the villages. They were directly linked to the agriculture through household tools, farm equipments and maintenance of these equipments (Gurtrell, 1981). The introduction of new agriculture technology has transformed the subsistence agriculture into the commercial agriculture. New farm tools, equipment and machinery had replaced the artisans production and made their production unnecessary to a greater extent (Qureshi, 1987). On the other hand, the importance of artisans has also declined due to industrial alternatives. New occupations has been generated through the effects of green revolution and industrial development which increased the growth of manufacturing and large range of services employment connected with the transport, repair, trade etc. (Mehta, 2005). After the introduction of neoliberal policy, the rural economy became integrated with the world capitalist system that has changed the demand pattern and needs of the rural economy according to their produce. The large scale industrial production (both domestic and imported) has not only captured the rural market of artisans but it has uprooted them through machine made industrial products. It has not only disrupted the self-dependent structure of Punjabi villages but also changed the overall mode of life. In the light of these facts, the present paper will made an attempt to look into the change in occupational structure of an important segment of rural economy. The present paper will look into their new occupations which came into the existence due to change in overall economic structure. …

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