Stolypin believed that the encouragement of a class such as the Kulaks would make them hostile to further change therefore more conservative and loyal to the Tsar as the Tsar had made them wealthy. Furthermore, peasants made up 85% of the population of Russia and a majority relied on agriculture for their income. Reforms that would please the ‘dark masses’ would strengthen the tsarist regime. Another reason for reforming agriculture was to oppress peasant unrest. In Poltava and Kharkov provinces, mass impoverishment of the peasants, which was exacerbated by the poor harvests of 1901 led to 40,000 peasants took part in an uprising where they also ransacked 150 landlord properties.
Other changes Stalin made were to increase production in agriculture by the collectivization policy. Document 4 shows how he planned to do this by joining small peasant farms together and eliminate the Kulaks who were wealthy farmers. During the First Five Year Plan, livestock went from 33 to 16 million. During the Second Five-Year Plan, livestock went up slightly from 16 million to about 17 million. Wheat production yo-yoed from 25 to 18 million between the years 1928-1937.
Prior to the “five year plans”, Russia had mostly a peasant farming economy. The 1750 to 1914 period in Russia was met by a large increase in the available labor force. Coupled with an increase in population, Russia's emancipation of the serfs freed many of Russia's serfdom from perpetual slavery. However, the emancipation process was planned so as to put the freed serfs deeply in debt to the original owners of the land. In fact, many of the serfs were so deeply indebted that they relocated to Russia's cities in search of better work opportunities.
(Only 50% of Russian farms produced surplus crops.) In 1883, Nikolai Bunge introduced the “Peasant Land Bank”. It was a scheme set up to loan peasants resources such as land and equipment, this was arguably to make them more inclined to make surplus crops, which would be in turn given back to the government. Alexander II also removed all the debts that had been imposed on the peasants due to the increasingly high taxes that were simply ludicrous for the peasants to pay off. Not only did this mean that the peasants were now living without worry, but statistically, makes Russia’s economy better as a whole as the majority of the country was no longer in massive debt.
Industrialization was creating even more towns, increasing this problem. So in order to feed his industrial workforce Stalin needed to revolutionize agriculture. He achieved this through forced grain seizure and the prosecution of kulaks and forcing peasants to work together in ‘collectives’. By doing so he was able to secure extra grain to feed the growing urban population of workers and sell the surplus to gain foreign currencies for purchasing foreign machineries. Though collectivisation may have had short term boosts to the economy but the effects of collectivisation were disastrous.
By 1933 the value had dropped to three billion. Also, American industrial output as decreased by half. In 1933 the world acreage that covered wheat, rice, rye, maize, barley, and oats had been larger than in 1929. All the other crops, such as potatoes and sugar, that furnish calories for human consumption, had actually risen. As six sevenths of the American race depend on cereals for most of their nourishment, this gain in agricultural production was extremely important at the time.
The decrease in agricultural production also affected the soviet government. Since 1921, Russia’s government had been selling grain surpluses abroad in order to gain foreign currency necessary to provide resources for industrialisation. Clearly, if there were no grain surpluses there was no money to build up Russia’s industry. Collectivisation aimed to hold out the prospect of many economic benefits. First, large farms would increase efficiency.
ENGLISH COLONIAL EXPANSION Sixteenth-century England was a tumultuous place. Because they could make more money from selling wool than from selling food, many of the nation’s landowners were converting farmers’ fields into pastures for sheep. This led to a food shortage; at the same time, many agricultural workers lost their jobs. The 16th century was also the age of mercantilism, an extremely competitive economic philosophy that pushed European nations to acquire as many colonies as they could. As a result, for the most part, the English colonies in North America were business ventures.
These other causes are all political social and economical factors which helped to free the serfs. And had the Tsar taken a more liberal view on his rule the emancipation may never have happened. Firstly there are many political causes for the emancipation of the serfs. The bankruptcy of nobles who were the tsar’s main supporters was, caused because of the inefficiency of using serfs to farm lands, which meant most nobles were losing money and by 1860 over 60% of serfs were mortgaged to the government meaning they were “unofficially” no longer tied to their land. This meant serfdom was already coming to its own natural end, and for Alexander II to support his nobles he had to emancipate the serfs so they could go start increasing their wealth and get out of debt.
He intended to provide an industrial basis for China by ordering 25,000 strictly regimented communes, thus making agriculture more efficient which would enable more farmers to labour in industry. He also believed that the abolition of private ownership would stop peasants indulging themselves by overeating so more mouths could be fed. However these ideas of Mao backfired and the disruption caused by ending private farming was a major cause to the famine because it discouraged peasants from producing food beyond their own immediate needs. The results of collectivisation were disastrous because the production simply didn’t compare with the population, in 1958 China produced 200 million tonnes of wheat and by 1960 it had fell 143.5 million. The falls in production led to 300,000,000 Chinese deaths so Mao’s agricultural policy was extremely responsible for the scale of the great famine in China.