Pravda No. 147, October 19, 1912.
Signed: V. I..
Published according to the Pravda text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, , Moscow, Volume 18, pages 366-367.
Translated: Stepan Apresyan
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
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Professor Tugan-Baranovsky, a candidate of the Cadet Party, is one of those Russian economists who were near-Marxists in their youth but later quickly “grew wiser”, “corrected” Marx with shreds of bourgeois theories, and by their great services as renegades secured university chairs from which to bamboozle students in erudite fashion.
A few days ago Mr. Tugan, who bas developed from a Marxist into a liberal, dished up in the newspaper Rech the following argument concerning the burning issue of the high cost of living:
“In my [?] view, the main [aha!] reason for the increased cost of living is perfectly clear. It is due to the enormous growth of the population, chiefly in the towns. The increased population necessitates a change to the use of more intensive cultivation methods, which, in accordance with the well-known law of declining productivity of agricultural labour, leads to a higher labour cost per unit of product.”
Mr. Tugan likes to shout “I” and “my”. But in fact he merely repeats shreds of bourgeois doctrines refuted long ago by Marx.
The “well-known law of declining productivity” is a bit of old bourgeois rubbish, which ignoramuses and the hired scholars of the bourgeoisie use to justify capitalism. Marx long ago disproved this “law”, which puts the blame on nature (as if to say, productivity of labour is dropping, and there’s nothing to be done about it!), whereas in fact the blame lies with the capitalist social system.
The “law of declining productivity of agricultural labour” is a bourgeois lie. The law of the growth of rent, i.e., of the income of the owners of land, under capitalism is a reality.
One reason for the high cost of living is land monopoly, i.e., the fact that land is held as private property. The landowners are therefore taking an ever greater contribution from growing productivity of labour. Only the organisation of the workers to defend their interests, only the abolition of the capitalist mode of production, can put an end to the high cost of living.
None but hangers-on of the bourgeoisie, such as the Cadet Mr. Tugan, are capable of trying to defend the fable about the “law” of declining productivity of agricultural labour.