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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: April 2020

5 - The Family Farm and the Limits to Village-Level Cooperation

from Part III - Explaining the Weakness of the Family Farm


This chapter looks at the nature and extent of collective action in rural areas, and the difficulties associated with creating credit and producer cooperatives. It shows that the traditional village economy provided a wide variety of public goods, and the persistence of the pósitos, or village grain banks, suggests an ability to organize and resolve problems of collective action that extended over most of the country, and not just the North, as assumed in much of the literature. However, although the village pósito met the needs of a traditional, organic-based farming system, it was inadequate for an agriculture that was becoming increasingly dependent on industrial inputs. In particular, it was the inability to create an organizational structure that could extend collective action from the village to the regional and national levels, and attract savings from a wide geographic area to meet the growing needs of the small farmers that helps explain the persistence of paternalist relations in the countryside. The chapter finishes by providing a background to the changing nature of Spain’s farm organizations over the half century prior to the Second Republic.

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