Front Cover
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Reflections relating to the sociology...
 Contributions to the study of the...
 The development of family-sized...
 Improvement of the systems of agriculture...
 A suggestion for rural community...
 Sociology and the process of community...
 Back Cover

Title: process of rural development in Latin America,
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Agriculture   ( lcsh )
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Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Title Page
        Title Page 1
        Title Page 2
        Introduction 1
        Introduction 2
    Table of Contents
        Table of Contents
    Reflections relating to the sociology of development
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
    Contributions to the study of the two rural social systems
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
    The development of family-sized farms
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
    Improvement of the systems of agriculture in Columbia
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
    A suggestion for rural community planning in Latin America
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
    Sociology and the process of community development
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
    Back Cover
        Back Cover
Full Text

?] 7, 00Z

by T. Lynn Smith

University of Florida Monographs



by T. Lynn Smith



Social Sciences Monographs

MARVIN E. SHAW, Chairman
Professor of Psychology

Professor of Economics

Professor of Education

Professor of Political Science

Professor of Sociology

Professor of History


CATALOG CARD No. 67-22199



A ll six studies appearing here are concerned
with specific aspects of the sociology of the
development process. In addition all of them
are directly related to development as it is go-
ing on in one of the larger and more important
portions of the "underdeveloped" or "develop-
ing" parts of the earth, the 20 independent
countries which collectively bear the designa-
tion of Latin America. The pertinency of the
generalizations and principles presented, how-
ever, is by no means limited to those countries
nor to the American hemisphere as a whole.
Most of them apply in a large measure to all
basically rural or agrarian societies, that is to
those in which a majority of the earth's popu-
lation still live.
The research on which the studies are based
has extended over a period of more than a
quarter of a century; but the original texts them-
selves have been prepared during the last dec-
ade after the accumulations of statistical data
and the studies of various specialists were avail-
able in quantities vastly exceeding those one
could find and analyze in 1940 or even 1950. All
six have been published previously or are in
the process of publication in Spanish, the lan-
guage in which they were originally presented.
As is evident from the information given in
connection with each, most of them were writ-
ten for gatherings of Latin American sociolo-
gists, such as the Latin American Sociological
Congress or the Mexican National Sociological
Congress, or for international meetings of spe-
cialists from various fields who had a common
interest in rural or agricultural development in
Latin America. The fact that they were in

Spanish was highly advantageous from the
standpoint of the original objectives, but that
plus the fact that the media in which they
appeared have a very small circulation in the
United States, or in some cases almost none,
means that they are practically unavailable and
almost totally unknown in this country and
everywhere else except in Latin America.
In an endeavor to make these portions of my
work reasonably available to the rapidly in-
creasing number of sociologists, economists, and
others who are vitally concerned with the de-
velopment process, I have prepared these Eng-
lish texts of the studies. They correspond as
closely as possible with the originals in Spanish.
In a few places deletions have been made, ac-
companied by appropriate cross references, in
order to avoid the duplication involved when a
few sentences or paragraphs from one of the
earlier studies were quoted in some of those
written subsequently.
It is realized that there may be some who
may want a fuller statement of the facts and
documentation on which some of the generali-
zations given here are based. Also there may be
those who would like to consult other of my
works which deal with the general subject un-
der consideration here. Accordingly a selected
list of my other works dealing with the develop-
ment process is included as an Appendix.


1. Reflections Relating
to the Sociology
of Development 1

2. Contributions to the
Study of the Two
Rural Social Systems 11

3. The Development
of Family-Sized Farms 30

4. Improvement
of the Systems
of Agriculture
in Colombia 40

5. A Suggestion for Rural
Community Planning
in Latin America 60

6. Sociology and the
Process of Community
Development 67



From the days of August Compte and Herbert Spencer to those
of P. A. Sorokin, Lucio Mendieta y Nunez, Roberto Agramonte,
and Kingsley Davis, interest in the nature and processes of social
change has been a principal preoccupation of the world's sociolo-
gists.* This is not to say that there have been no basic theoretical
differences among sociologists relative to the important social pro-
cess under consideration, nor to imply that Compte's theory of
stages, Spencer's evolutionism, Ward's social telesis, Sorokin's
proposition of aimlessness and unpredictability of social change,
Ogburn's variety of evolutionism, and the idea of social progress
in general, are identical with what today is called social develop-
As a matter of fact the "directed social change" or "social de-
velopment" of which contemporary sociologists write and speak
has little in common with the principles which oriented the think-
ing of Compte, Tarde, Emile Durkheim, Spencer, Sorokin, William
F. Ogburn, and most of the others who have contributed to gen-
eral theorizing on the subject of social change. With few excep-
tions, these eminent thinkers appear to have considered society
as the product of immutable forces impinging upon it. They seem
to have held that social change was hardly susceptible to human
control and direction, and that man's social order resembled a kind
of raft that was swept along by the stream of events. This, of
course, reached its clearest expression in the writings of all those
*The original version of this paper in Spanish was published in Estudios
Sociologicos (Sociologia del Desarrollo), Mexico: Instituto de Investigaciones
Sociales, 1963, pp. 305-14.
1. The well-known works in which these ideas are set forth include,
August Compte, Positive Philosophy, various editions; Herbert Spencer, Prin-
ciples of Sociology, various editions; Lester F. Ward, Pure Sociology, New
York: The MacMillan Company, 1903, Part III; P. A. Sorokin, "A Survey of
the Cyclical Conceptions of Social and Historical Process," Social Forces,
VI (September, 1927), and elaboration of this and related matters in Social
and Cultural Dynamics, 4 vols, New York: American Book Company, 1937-41,
and Society, Culture, and Personality, New York: Harper and Brothers, 1947;
and William F. Ogburn, Social Change, New York: B. W. Huebsch, 1922.

who worked under the influence of Darwinism and Spencerism,
and it is only recently that sociologists in general have begun to
free themselves from the overwhelming cloud of influence gener-
ated by these two powerful intellectuals. The case of Ward is
substantially different. To me the basic idea in his social telesis
seems to approximate closely that which now is designated as
social development. This is because social telesis as well as social
development involves the establishment of definite goals and the
direction of social change in such a way as to bring about the
attainment of these goals.
It also is interesting to reflect for a few moments about the
manner in which the term "development" came into use in soci-
ology and economics. The word itself has been long established in
the English language and the same is true of its equivalents in
other languages such as desarrollo in Spanish and desenvolvimento
in Portuguese. But the specific connotations it seems to have in
contemporary sociology and economics were lacking. Development
had meant merely to unfold, to unroll, to evolve, and did not
denote a directed movement toward definitely established objec-
tives or goals. Today as used in sociological and economic literature
in general the specific connotation is that of social change which is
directed by men and societies toward goals they have consciously
established. Hence it is pertinent to inquire about the manner in
which this specific meaning became attached to an old and well-
established term. As one who has been near the center of pertinent
activities in which this metamorphosis was taking place, I wish to
propose for consideration the following sketch of the natural his-
tory of this particular concept.
Prior to the second world war and the rapid advancement in
all of the modern means for transportation and communication,
contacts between persons from various parts of the world were
only a small fraction of what they are at present. Under these
circumstances there also obviously prevailed the well-known ethno-
centric tendencies for each people or society to consider its ways
and cultural patterns vastly superior to those of other peoples.
Moreover, the rapid urbanization and industrialization that had
been taking place in parts of the larger and more powerful nations
helped to produce in those countries a system of values in which


industrialized urbanization represented an advanced stage in the
scale of social and economic existence. Agricultural and pastoral
activities represented out-moded, more elementary and less desir-
able stages of human endeavor. Indeed desires for many of the
products of an industrial civilization quickly spread to all parts of
the world. Whether or not a given country could produce an
abundant supply of industrial products quickly came to be of
major importance in distinguishing the "have" from the "have not"
portions of the globe. The results of such a situation in many
places were comparable to those in Brazil, about which as early
as 1946 I had the following to say: "One who writes about Brazil
should remember, or at least console himself with the thought that
it is an agricultural and collecting country living in a family of
industrialized nations. There is a tendency nowadays for modern
progress' to be gauged by industrial advancement. This factor
seems to help keep many Brazilian intellectuals constantly on the
defensive, oftentimes far more so than would seem to be neces-
In the decades before the colonial powers lost control of the
peoples they had tutored into mental and physical contact with
western civilization, industrialization still was largely confined to
Europe and portions of North America and Japan. Before contacts
on a large scale were established between the political, economic,
and intellectual leaders from all parts of the earth, there was little
to check the ethnocentric and patronizing propensity of the urban-
dominated to designate their own societies as "advanced" and the
societies dependent economically upon agricultural, pastoral, and
collecting activities as "backward." Even within the industrialized
nations there was a similar tendency to think of the rural in com-
parison with the urban segments of their own societies in the
same disparaging terms.
Following the close of the Second World War the organization
of the United Nations and the beginning of contacts on an im-
mense scale between representatives of agricultural nations and
those of industrialized nations made the continued use of the
"advanced-backward" dichotomy unthinkable. Under these cir-
cumstances "developed" and "underdeveloped" quickly were hit
upon as the designations for nations and societies. There then
2. T. Lynn Smith, Brazil: People and Institutions, Baton Rouge: Louisiana
State University Press, 1946, pp. 8-9.

rapidly came into being a sociological and economic interest in the
purposeful transformation of a nation from a position in the latter
category to a place in the former. Thus the sociology of develop-
ment had its beginning. It should be emphasized that the term
social development is far too significant to be restricted to the
process of industrialization as such, as there is considerable likeli-
hood that the actual case will be. Societies such as those of Den-
mark, portions of Canada and the United States, and of many
districts in other countries in which middle-class farmers operating
family-sized farms are dominant, demonstrate clearly that under
the proper conditions an agricultural society still may represent a
high stage of development on the part of its people, personally,
socially, economically, politically, and culturally.


In the remainder of this paper we merely attempt to center
attention upon two of the points at which there is the greatest
chance to make substantial headway in any planned programs of
social development in rural areas. These are agrarian reform and
rural community development.
Agrarian Reform.-Agrarian reform is the principal necessity in
any substantial program of directed social change that may be
elaborated for almost any of the so-called underdeveloped sections
of the world. The mounting chorus of voices throughout the Latin
American countries demanding changes in the name of agrarian re-
form is ample evidence that this is particularly true in most parts of
Central and South America. It is essential that those engaged in this
particular variety of social telesis be guided by very specific con-
cepts of exactly the needs for, the nature of, the objectives of, and
the methods that may be employed to bring about a genuine agrar-
ian reform. If this is not the case or if matters are allowed to drift
and there is no substantial effort made to modify existing institu-
tionalized relationships between man and the land, the pressures for
change may very well erupt into bloody and destructive revolution-
ary activities. Thus today many societies seem to be confronted
with two major alternatives: (1) to carry out a genuine agrarian re-
form; or (2) to become an additional case lending support to
Sorokin and Zimmerman's generalizations that rural radicalism and


revolt always hinge upon the ownership and possession of the land
and that "they burst like thunderstorms from excessive suffering
and the impossibility of bearing longer existing conditions, in spite
of the great patience of the peasant class."3
Elsewhere4 I have set forth in summary form my principal con-
clusions of the nature of agrarian reform, the indicators of the
need for such programs of directed social change, the specific ob-
jectives of any genuine agrarian reform, and some of the tech-
niques that may be used to achieve the desired objective. Thus I
have stressed that the need for agrarian reform is indicated when-
ever and wherever there prevails a high degree of concentration
in the ownership and control of the land; wherever we find the
large estates in which the land is poorly used or even deliberately
withheld from productive purposes, i.e. the type of estates that
are referred to as latifundia in many parts of Latin America; any
place that a high proportion of all those who live from agriculture
are found in the category of agricultural laborers, a group that
almost always is poorly paid, fed, clothed, housed, and educated,
and whose members rarely enjoy more than the most elementary
measures to protect their health or to safeguard their lives and
civil rights; any time that there is a proliferation of the small,
pocket-handkerchief type of holdings designated as minifundia in
Latin America and microfundia in Spain; wherever the system of
agriculture is so rudimentary and the use of labor so prodigal
that the production per worker is low; in all cases when those who
live in the rural districts are unable to attain anything except very
low standards and levels of living; and in all situations in which
there exists within rural society as a whole a high degree of social
stratification, this is to say a condition characterized by the divi-
sion of the population into a small elite class at the apex of the
social pyramid and a large amorphous mass of agricultural workers
at the bottom, with an immense gap between the two that is
3. Pitirim A. Sorokin, Carle C. Zimmerman, and Charles J. Galpin, A
Systematic Source Book in Rural Sociology, II, Minneapolis: University of
Minnesota Press, 1931, p. 562. Cf. P. A. Sorokin and Carle C. Zimmerman,
Principles of Rural-Urban Sociology, New York: Henry Holt and Company,
1929, pp. 460-467.
4. T. Lynn Smith, Sociologia Rural: La Comunidad y la Reforma Agraria,
Monografias Sociol6gias No. 3, Bogoti: Universidad Nacional, 1959, Chapter
III; and T. Lynn Smith, Current Social Trends and Problems in Latin
America, Latin American Monographs No. 1, Gainesville: University of Florida
Press, 1957, Chapter III.

filled by few if any agriculturists deserving to be classified as
belonging to the middle social class.
Likewise the principal objectives of a program of directed so-
cial change that would be entitled to be designated as a genuine
agrarian reform, I have identified as follows: (1) to effect sub-
stantial improvement in the abilities, capacities, and performances
of the people who cultivate the land so as to bring them all to
correspond more closely with human potentialities; (2) to bring
about a substantial increase in the amounts of agricultural and live-
stock products that are secured through the use of given amounts
of land and of effort on the part of those who work the soil; and
(3) to replace wasteful, inefficient, labor-devouring, demeaning,
and stultifying methods in agriculture and animal industry by ways
of producing food, fiber, and other farm products with those that
can be considered as more effective and efficient and also uplifting,
dignifying, or ennobling to those engaged in rural activities. Phrased
in a different manner these objectives of agrarian reform are mere-
ly those "of getting a nation's agricultural and stock-raising activ-
ities highly concentrated in the hands of a middle social class of
farmers" or of "developing and maintaining in any given country
or area a system of agricultural production and farm living that
would compare favorably with those to be found in any part of
the world, subject only to the limitation of the land resources
available."5 In order to attain such broad objectives, however, I
have stressed that a considerable number of smaller and more
limited goals must be set and attained. Of these, two of the most
fundamental are as follows. First, the control of the land, either
as owners or as renters on long-time leases, must be placed in the
hands of those who work it. This means that the class of agricul-
tural laborers as such, irrespective of the names or euphemisms
by which the workers may be designated, must be elevated into
the category of farm operators. It also means the elimination of
the many privileges by which the terratenientes have virtual
powers of life and death over those who toil on their estates.
Second, by means of education, training, and actual experience,
the ordinary person who works the land must be developed to the
point at which he can exercise with considerable facility the
functions of the manager or entrepreneur as well as those of the
5. Smith, Sociologia Rural: La Comunidad y la Reforma Agraria, p. 37.


Two of the reasons why the highest agricultural attainments can
be made only by a society of middle-class farmers operating
family-sized farms are so important that they must be mentioned
even in a short exposition such as this. The first of these is that in
agriculture and stock raising the all-important managerial function
can be developed and applied in sufficient volume and at the
necessary times and places only when the knowledge and skills in-
volved literally are "built-in" the vast majority of those engaged in
agricultural activities; and the second is because, certainly in the
past and likely in the future, there has been a very close relation-
ship between the family-sized farm system and the invention, per-
fection, and diffusion of all efficient kinds of agricultural tools and
machines. Let us consider each of these in turn.
In any agricultural society (i.e., the society that is almost sure
to be given the "underdeveloped" label by the urban and indus-
trial values which dominate the thinking of most contemporary
political leaders and intellectuals) the distinctive nature of the
managerial factor in production and distribution is all important.
Furthermore the problems involved are quite different from those
in industry. The production of agricultural crops and livestock
products requires large acreages. It cannot be concentrated on a
few feet of space under a single roof as is true of most industrial
products. Therefore the theoretical problems involved in getting
the optimum combination of capital (including land), labor, and
management in agriculture are entirely different from those in-
volved in bringing about the best combination of the factors of
production in industry. Briefly, in agriculture and stock raising it
is necessary, if efficient and effective results are to be obtained,
for managerial skills and judgments to be applied to every square
yard of land on the farm. Likewise, in the production of corn or
cotton, rice or wheat, beef or mutton, potatoes or beans, the skills
of the manager must be available at all hours, day or night, at
many seasons of the year, and they must hourly be the moving
force in all of the extremely varied operations in all stages of
the yearly cycle from the preparation of the seed bed to the
marketing of the products. This means that it is impossible to get
an adequate input of management to the land, to the plants, to
the livestock, and to the products before they are marketed under
any system in which the managerial activities are lodged in one
person and in which there are dozens or hundreds of others to

perform the manual labor involved. Even if the manager of a large
plantation has various overseers or majordomos to help supervise
the workers, the sparse input of management, in comparison with
the use of the other factors, is still a major defect of the system.
Indeed in practically all agricultural operations it is necessary, if
the management input is to be adequate, for the very persons who
are executing the multifarious tasks involved in any of the princi-
pal types of farming to be at the same time the ones also re-
sponsible for the managerial activities. Herein lies the secret of
why the Soviet Union has never been able to solve her problems
of agricultural production; whereas in the many parts of Europe
and America in which the family-sized farm system prevails, i.e.,
in which the large majority of those engaged in agriculture are
members of a genuine middle class, agricultural problems are not
those of production but rather those of the distribution of the
abundance that annually is produced.
In passing one should mention that herein lies one of the princi-
pal advantages the non-Communist parts of the world enjoy in
their contest with the Soviet Union and other powers in the
Communist block. Followers of the Marxist line cannot, of course,
admit of the differences set forth between the way in which
management operates in industry and agriculture. We may expect
many more decades in which Mr. Khrushchev and his successors
will admire the accomplishments of middle-class farm operators in
Iowa, and perhaps even try to encourage still other countries to
become Bulgarian or Rumanian lowas, without ever experimenting
with the systems of social organization and farm organization that
are responsible for the effect they make every effort to observe
and even take occasion to laud.
The role of the family-farm system in the invention, perfection,
and diffusion of agricultural implements was treated in a paper I
prepared for the Segundo Seminario Latinamericano sobre Prob-
leme de la Tierra (Montevideo, Noviembre Diciembre, 1959).
It would be difficult to outline this subject more succinctly than
was done at that time. Therefore, I hope you will permit a quo-
tation of the more pertinent paragraphs from that address (see be-
low pages 38-39).
Co mmunit Development.-Fundamental modifications in the
pattern of social relationships and activities prevailing within the
small social worlds, or communities, in which rural people live and

have their being are also a sine qua non of rural development.
I treated this subject at the Sexto Congreso Nacional de Socicologia
at Morelia in 1955, when my talk was "Algunas Observaciones
Relacionadas con la Comunidad Rural, Referidas Especialmente a
la America Latina."6
At that time the discussion of rural community development was
centered upon such aspects of the general topic as: The Na-
ture of the Rural Community; The Strength or Weakness of the
Rural Community; Some Causes of the Lack of or Slowness of
Rural Community Development; and the Measure that Can Con-
tribute to Strengthen and Develop the Rural Community. It is not
the intention to repeat the discussion of any of these at this time.
However, as pointed out then, a substantial portion of the co-
operative measures that must be used if any community is to
make substantial progress toward contemporary social goals, or
if its levels of living are to keep pace with the rapidly rising
standards of living, call for ways and means of securing substantial
portions of the productive efforts of all members of the local com-
munity to help pay the costs of the necessary services rendered to
the people.
In the world in which we live neither mutual aid nor voluntary
cooperative efforts organized along Rochdale lines can meet the
entire need. These are not sufficient to enable a rural community
to develop the health and educational services which now are a
prime necessity for all members of the group. In brief, the local
community must be empowered to collect from all its members
the taxes which are needed in order to provide such services. This
involves far greater sums than ever could be raised if compulsions
of one kind or another were not employed. In brief, in the second
half of the twentieth century the typical rural community in the
underdeveloped countries as well as those in the so-called de-
veloped ones must choose between the following alternatives: (1)
to continue in its lack of schools and other educational facilities,
with its inadequate health services, with its woefully poor protec-
tion for life and property, and so forth; or (2) to develop a system
of local taxation that will secure from all those who live within
the community, and also from the non-residents who own real
estate within its limits, an amount of effort, or its equivalent in
6. Estudios Socioldgicos (Sociologia Rural) I, Mexico: Instituto de Investi-
gaciones Sociales, 1955, pp. 231-245.

cash, that will amount to the proceeds from at least 25 days of
their work per year.
As a general rule within the rural community there is only one
tried and tested way of imposing the needed taxation, provided
that it is a local measure, imposed by a favorable vote of the
citizens of the rural community, collected by local authorities, and
expended by local officials for the support of local primary and
secondary schools and other community services. This is the gener-
al property tax upon all land and buildings lying within the com-
munity's limits. The sooner this principle becomes known and
accepted throughout the length and breadth of a given country,
by its common citizens as well as by those who occupy govern-
mental and administrative positions at national, state, and local
levels, the sooner the groundwork will be laid for substantial
development on the part of the rural communities throughout the
world. Once such a local foundation for rural development is laid,
state and national measures and financial assistance can help
strengthen the local programs; but unless such initiative comes
from within the rural community, we may expect many more dec-
ades of underdevelopment in rural areas, or in many places, the
superimposition of stern, iron-handed, repressive policies by some
kind of totalitarian national government. If the latter should even-
tuate, we may be sure that the tributes exacted from the members
of the local community will far exceed the contributions that are
required to develop the needed community services through the
consent, approval, and participation in genuine rural development
programs on the part of those who make up the rural community.
In addition it should be stressed that the imposition of a substantial
general property tax would quickly eliminate the problem of the
latifundium, in the sense of the large expanse of idle or poorly
used land. Thus the measures for community development here
proposed would also bring about rapidly the solution of two of
the chief problems now confronting many of the underdeveloped
countries, latifundismo and illiteracy. Let us hope that the people
in some nation or in a part of some nation will be willing to
attempt the experiment.


n a large measure the development of civilization consists of the
S"natural history" of two sharply constrasting systems of rural
social organization.*1 The raison d'dtre of the first, or the factor
principally responsible for determining the form, the structure, the
power, and the other fundamental features of the system is the
large landed estate. This immense agricultural and pastoral entity,
known by so many names such as hacienda, estancia, fundo,
fazenda, plantation, latifundium, cortijo, and so on, was the princi-
pal one in ancient times, and it still persists in many parts of the
earth. The central core of the second rural social system is the
family-sized farm, the unit which has proved extraordinarily suc-
cessful during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in Western
Europe, in the United States and Canada, and in some other
countries, with respect to the quantity and efficiency of agricultur-
al production and above all in the development of the capacities
and abilities of the masses of the rural population and the high
levels of living in the societies involved. The degree, unfortunately
high, to which human history is an account of slavery and other
forms of servile or semi-servile labor is due almost exclusively to
the huge landed estate and the social system to which it gives rise,
whereas the existence of an economic, political, and administra-
*The original version of this paper, written in Spanish, was presented to the
VII Congreso Latinoamericano de Sociologia, Bogota, July 13-18, 1964, and
published as "Aportaciones para el Estudio de los dos Sistemas Sociales
Rurales," in Sociologia y Sociedad en Latinoamerica, Bogota: Asociaci6n
Colombiana de Sociol6gia, 1965, Vol. I, pp. 190-210.
1. It is not our purpose to belabor the reader with a long, obtuse, and
complicated definition of the concept of social system. The important thing
relative to the meaning of a system of any kind is the idea of internal unity
which comes from interaction or interdependence, that is a functional inter-
relationship, which distinguishes any system from a mere aggregation of
various components. Thus the significance of the word in the concept of a
social system is comparable to the one it has in connection with an organic
system, an astronomical system, a telegraph system, a weather system, and so
on. The differentiating word in the term, that is "social," indicates that the
components of such a system are human beings, social groups, classes, insti-
tutions, cultural traits, and so forth.

tive organization in the rural zones truly deserving the name of
democratic accompanies the development and strengthening of a
rural social system based upon agricultural units of medium size
or what is properly designated as family-sized farms.2
Although the basic facts about the nature and effects of the large
estates and family-sized farms have been known for centuries, in
most of Latin America it is only in the course of the last two
decades and in connection with the plethora of projects for agrari-
an reform, that the knowledge pertaining to social and economic
consequences of large agricultural and pastoral units on the one
hand and of family-sized farms on the other is becoming widely
disseminated. Nevertheless one encounters among the writings of a
noted Colombian, a nineteenth century forerunner of modern scien-
tific sociology and a remarkable intellectual according to any stand-
ards, an analysis so perspicuous as to deserve quotation at length.
This is done in the following translation.
"Among the causes of the prosperity of Anglo-Saxon America I
consider the principal one to be the system adopted from the be-
ginning for the distribution of the public lands in small allotments,
which put within reach of the worker this primary element of all
riches, the first condition of independence and of personal dignity
among men, and the indispensable basis of political equality, with-
out which republican forms are a fraud. This system and the
institution of the Homestead Law, which established the cultiva-
tion of the land by the worker as the only way of acquiring the
ownership of land and which assured its possession by the family,
has given an enormous stimulus to labor of the proletarian classes;
it has completely changed the conditions of ancient social organi-
zation, which placed the land in the hands of a few privileged
persons; it has established imperishable bases for democracy; it
has founded upon general participation the most perfect cooper-
ation between those involved; it has cheapened the price of the
2. In this analysis the elementary and primitive forms of communal organi-
zation are considered of no great importance in the development of civiliza-
tion. Nor is any particular significance attached to the survivals of such col-
lective systems in countries such as Peru. The ejidos of Mexico are considered
to be worthy of mention, but generally the parcels within each of them are
managed as individual units by the various members of the communities, and
do not form communal units of production. With reference to the state and
collective farms in the Soviet Union and the so-called communes of Com-
munist China, there seems to be no reason to consider them apart from
other huge landed properties.


means of subsistence; it has been a powerful attraction to immi-
grants from other countries; it has given the incentive for the
construction of a vast net of railways; it has sustained the demand
for domestically manufactured goods; and it has created in all
parts new articles for international trade.
"Indeed, what, if not the hunger to acquire the ownership of
land, has attracted this enormous current of American and Euro-
pean migrants to populate the solitudes of the West and to found
these new and powerful States in the Valley of the Mississippi?
What, if not the demand created by the extremely numerous and
well-to-do farmers of these new regions, supports and sustains
New England's mills for manufacturing textiles of cotton and wool,
machinery, and agricultural implements? Who, if not these four
or five million small owners, collect in their harvests these hun-
dreds of millions of loads of corn and wheat and fatten each year
these forty million hogs, and care for and milk these sixteen million
milk cows, the products that make up two thirds of the food of
the American people and two thirds of the articles exported? And
where, if not in the Mississippi Valley, among these virile culti-
vators of the soil, were first organized the hundreds of regiments
of volunteers who, under thecommand of Grant, Sherman, Sheri-
dan, and Thomas, gave the stroke of death to the slave-holding
Confederacy at Mill Springs, Fort Donaldson, Vicksburg, Pitts-
burg Landing, Chattanooga, and Nashville? Is not the aspiration to
become owner of a small piece of land [to the members of Colom-
bia's elite, landowning class whose system of large estates and
system of rural social organization he was challenging, a mid-
western farm of 160-320 acres was "a small piece of land"], to
become free of the rack-rent, of the ever-increasing rent of the
already monopolized lands of Europe, the principal thing which
leads the English, Irish, and German cultivators to abandon their
homes in numbers of more than half a million per year in search
of security and dignity in the American prairies? Is not the com-
petition of millions of those who-sell the foodstuffs that which, by
lowering the prices of these, makes life easy, cheap, and abundant
in these regions?
"The large mass of owners of small farms, established princi-
pally in the West, today dominates the elections in this Republic
and maintains the equilibrium between the semi-feudal ideas of
the large proprietors of the South, the aristocratic tastes of the


wealthy owners of factories in New England, and the magnates
of speculation in the central States of New York, Pennsylvania,
and New Jersey."3
After presenting more facts relative to the effects of the family-
sized farm in the United States, in an analysis that in no way can
be thought to suffer in comparison with that given by the cele-
brated Alexander de Toqueville, author of the much-cited Democ-
racy in America, the perceptive Colombian went on to say:
"Thus, it is in the United States that one best can study the
change that the nineteenth century is beginning to bring about in
the conditions of the collective life of the people. The ancient
world was the kingdom of privilege, of the shameful exploitation
of the multitudes in favor of the few, of the luxury of the aristo-
crats amidst the destitution and misery of the masses. In the French
Revolution there arose, alongside the nobility and the clergy, the
Third Estate, into whose composition entered the manufacturers,
the merchants, those in the liberal professions, and the scholars
and writers; at the present time the Fourth Estate is already
surging forward in the form of the body of artisans and laborers
who have received the right to vote in elections. In the United
States, in 1880, of nine million of those who cultivated the soil,
nearly five million were landowners and barely four million were
agricultural wage hands. In this shines forth, therefore, the aurora
of the redemption of the oppressed. Those who were previously
slaves hitched to the ball and chain, later serfs of the glebe, and
still later sharecroppers, have already begun to be the owners of
the land which they water with the sweat of their brows. And
this transformation is not as a result of the blood of martyrs, nor
by means of a violent convulsion of the social structure with a
promise of order and peace, but through the slow and sure actions
peaceful but victorious, of the best type of human social organi-
"Of all the grandeurs that I had the opportunity to see during
my rapid trip through the heart of that country, none appeared
to me so great as this social fact, because the independence, the
liberty, and the equality of men does not consist in mere words
written as a promise in the political constitutions, but in true and
tangible facts which place men on the road to redemption. How
3. Salvador Camacho RoldAn, Notas de Viaje, Paris: Gainer Hermanos
and Bogota: Libreria Colombiana, 1897, pp. 677-679.


can anyone consider as a free man the one who for his subsistence
and that of his family is dependent upon the will of a landlord?
Can there ever be equality between a wage hand and his patron?
More fearful than the tyranny of men is the tyranny of things, and
this result of the functioning of an institution suffices for the under-
standing of the difference which should exist between peoples who
have their historical point of departure in the feudal control of the
land and those who have sought to establish themselves by means
of an equitable distribution of this primary basis of production in
proportion to its occupant's capacity to work ....
"Moreover, one cannot deny that the concentration of the owner-
ship of the land in a few hands is an instrument for concentrating
wealth among the smallest number of producers; this leads to the
development of luxury, of artificial pleasures, and of vices among
the few and the degradation of the others, all of which results in
the creation of useless riches, since they are not employed in the
satisfaction of true necessities. As between better production and
better distribution of the riches, the moralist and even the econo-
mist always favor the latter. For my own part, in summary, I
believe the principal problem of modern societies consists in
seeking, through natural means, the elimination of unjust institu-
tions and better distribution among the producers of the values
created by production."4

In any area, region, or country, the degree to which either the
ownership and control of the land is concentrated in a few hands
or widely distributed among those who live from agricultural and
pastoral activities is the principal factor in determining the other
major features of the prevailing rural social system. One or the
other of the two great rural social systems under consideration
constitutes the universe that establishes almost all of the oppor-
tunities, activities, aspirations, accomplishments, ways of life, levels
of living, and so on, of those who inhabit the rural areas. In order
to indicate in a succinct and specific manner the principal charac-
teristics of these two rural social systems, which have such a tre-
mendous influence upon human beings, their groups, their insti-
tutions, and their entire lives, Figure 1 has been prepared. In it
4. Ibid., pp. 680-683.


for each of the two systems the size of the agricultural and pas-
toral units is taken as the central feature, or the one which de-
termines in large measure the nature of the other characteristics
and the mutual interrelationships between all of them.



FIGURE 1.-Schematic Representation of the Two Over-All Rural Social

Social Stratification.-Wherever huge landed estates monopolize
the land, it follows that society is sharply divided into two vastly
different social classes. At the one extreme there is a small class
of the elite, the large landowners possessed of all the qualities and
attitudes of patricians or aristocrats. They occupy positions at the
apex of the social scale and they hold in their hands all of the
powers, economic, political, administrative. At the other extreme,


separated from those in the upper class by a huge void, is the
mass of the population or the lowly ones, humble, poorly trained,
inadequately fed, badly housed, ill clothed, who can only be con-
sidered as belonging to a lower social class.5 Between the two there
is little or nothing deserving the designation of a rural middle class.
There are few if any farmers capable of carrying on simultaneously
the three economic functions, possessing and investing modest
amounts of capital in land, equipment, and operating expenses,
performing a major share of the manual labor required, and, above
all, having and exercising the managerial functions.
How strikingly different is the situation in areas wherein family-
sized farms constitute the nucleus of the prevailing rural social
system! In such zones, regions, or countries middle-class farmers
constitute the bulk of the rural population and for this reason social
stratification is reduced to the modest gradations to be found in
the middle class itself. Entirely lacking at the one extreme is any
elite group of aristocrats, for even the richest and most powerful
5. It should be indicated that in some cases where there is a high degree
of concentration of rights to the land the plants for processing the agricultural
products also are the property of the landowners, as is the case with the
factories on modern sugar-cane plantations, and the buildings and equipment
needed by a large dairy. For this reason the industrial part of a large
sugar-cane plantation or a huge dairy may include among its personnel many
skilled workers who possess some of the characteristics of middle-class per-
sons. Nevertheless, the great sugar-cane plantations do not constitute an
exception to the generalizations expressed in this article. One should consider
the following words of the maximum Brazilian authority on the subject,
Gilberto Freye, relative to the conditions of the workers on present-day
sugar-cane plantations in Brazil:
"In some areas, such as in the sugar-cane plantation districts, the land serves
only to provide what it can for industry, with the most archaic and anti-
economic methods of production, by means of a poorly paid agrarian labor
force and a rural population held as pariahs by the landowners. Not a few of
these proprietors are absentees from the land which they long have owned, and
have little contact with their semi-serfs, who live, it is well to repeat it, in a
condition of pariahs, while the urban worker and also the employees of com-
mercial establishments and banks and the public employees in the cities, dur-
ing recent decades, have benefited from the legislation protecting labor and
promoting social welfare. It was a situation in which the greater part of the
rural population of Brazil was used in the rudest work on plantations and farms,
on the estates of men with a mentality quite different from that which years
ago characterized the relations between the landowners and their laborers, when
the former really were, most of them, a rural gentry: not only proprietors deep-
ly attached to their estates, but masters attentive to the needs of their workers
in accordance with patriarchial forms of association." (Translated from Gilberto
Freyre, "La Lucha no Es de Clases," Life en Espaiol, May 11, 1964, pp.

of the farm families have little or no claim to upper-class status.
Despite the fact that they are at the top of the local social scale,
in reality the largest and most wealthy farmers are not persons
dominated by the attitudes and activities of the patrician. They
are merely the highest part of the large middle class. If now and
then some of them, or their wives, attempt to imitate the ways of
life of genuine members of an upper class such efforts are likely to
appear highly ludicrous.
At the same time the other extreme is also lacking, for few
persons can actually be considered as irrevocably condemned to
lower-class status. Very few men pass their entire lives in the
unenviable social positions of those who are peons, sharecroppers,
wage hands, or any other category of genuine agricultural laborers,
so that they never properly are designated as slaves, serfs, or
vassals of any kind. This is to say that any true lower social class
is almost entirely lacking.
With little or nothing that merits the designation of upper or
lower class the social stratification which prevails consists almost
entirely of the moderate degrees of difference between the various
levels of the middle class. It is just as ridiculous to designate as
upper and lower class those constituting the top and bottom layers
of such a scale as it is to label as middle class the upper portion of
the massive body of agricultural laborers who are entrapped for-
ever at one of the lowest of social levels by the large landed es-
tates which still prevail throughout much of the world. It is neces-
sary to emphasize that in the form of rural social organization in
which family-sized farms are the moving force, or the central cell
of the social system, the large majority of the heads of all the
farm families are simultaneously investors of some capital, men
who personally engage in the manual labor needed for the per-
formance of various farm tasks and persons who themselves are
responsible for planning and managing their own agricultural en-
Vertical Social Mobility.-From the two systems and from vari-
ations produced by their distinguishing factor there arise funda-
mental differences between the two with respect to vertical social
mobility. Although the social system arising from large landed es-
tates has one class that is far above the other in the social scale,
in the system itself there is relatively little movement up or down
from one status to another. It is almost impossible for persons of

humble origins to ascend through the vast gap that separates the
lower class from the upper and powerful one of the elite. At the
same time mutual assistance and the obligations of kinship which
characterize the patricians make it possible for them to retain at the
upper level even the least capable of their children and grand-
children. Poorly endowed and slightly capable offspring of those of
superior positions do not have to descend to a social and economic
level commensurate with their own abilities and capacities. As a
result of the almost total impossibility for those of the lower class
to ascend into the upper and of the preservation at high levels of
even the least capable part of those of aristocratic origins, such a
social system is characterized by very little vertical social mobility.
Strikingly different is the role of such mobility in the rural social
system based upon family-sized farms. Although the distance is
small between the upper and the lower social levels in its essen-
tially one-class system, the movement between layers or strata is
intense. By putting forth extraordinary effort, by habits of thrift
anl saving and by training and experience any given farmer may
reasonably expect to be able to better his own standing and that of
his family. Year after year he can increase the size of the farm, add
to his machinery and livestock, improve his fences and land, better
his farm buildings, and raise his level of living. But at the same
time the one who shirks work, neglects the ever-present cares of
managerial responsibilities, is insufficiently concerned with thrift
and saving, and wastes money on various vices is unable to main-
tain his position. Little by little he loses the possession of his land,
his appearances of a prosperous existence fade away, his standing
in the community sinks, and he rapidly descends to a social and
economic position much below that he once enjoyed. Not even
kinship ties can long maintain such a person in the upper reaches
of the social scale. Thus in such a social system, the rise in status
of many persons, combined with the loss of position of other, sets
up a vertical social circulation of considerable intensity, so much so
that a fairly high degree of vertical social mobility may be identi-
fied as one of its important features or characteristics.
Caste.-Since caste is merely the inheritance of social position
or status, that is a reflection of the extent to which the position of
persons in the social scale is determined by that of their parents,
the importance of the caste element is very different in the two
rural social systems under consideration in this paper. Wherever

the fabric of the network of social relationships is determined by
the large landed estates, a considerable importance of caste is
closely associated with the two-class type of social stratification
and the low degree of vertical social mobility characteristic of the
system. However, if the prevailing rural social system is based
upon family-sized farms, so that a genuine upper class is lacking
and also any considerable number of permanent agricultural labor-
ers, the caste factor is of relatively little importance. In this second
type of rural social organization the position of any given farm
family depends largely upon the intelligence, training and efforts
of the farmer and his wife. In such a system, with considerable
frequency the socioeconomic position of the children is either
higher or lower than was that of their parents.
Levels of Intelligence.-Intelligence as used here signifies the
capacity of the human being to adapt to new situations. It depends
in part upon the zoological inheritance (native ability) and in
part upon education, training, and experience. For this reason,
due to the features of the two rural social systems, there is a great
difference between the average level of intelligence of the persons
who comprise the active part of the rural social system in which
large estates dominate the scene and of those in the societies
composed of farmers who are the operators of family-sized farms.
In the first case the vast majority of the rural population lack all
opportunity to have many of the experiences that are most im-
portant in the development of human personality and the realiza-
tion of much of the human potential. This is because the role of
agricultural laborer, even if he is a free man and not a serf,
contributes so little to the development and perfection of many of
the more significant features of intelligence. Naturally the limited
number of persons of elite social status develop to near maximum
the abilities that are indicative of the intelligent man or woman,
but in the calculation of the average for all those involved in the
system the high scores of this small minority does very little to
elevate the general level. The rural society made up of persons
of the middle-class status exhibit a much higher average. Even
though the few aristocrats who have developed their capacities to
near the maximum are lacking, the same is true of the large num-
bers of those belonging to the lower social class who are doomed
to an existence little superior to that of mere animals. Variation
within the group is not exceedingly great as compared with the

average, but the index itself is very much higher than that for the
inhabitants of the zones in which the large estate largely de-
termines the nature of the rural social system.
Personality Development.-Intimately related to the differences
between the average levels of intelligence of those whose lives and
beings are bound up in the two rural social systems, are the pro-
found contrasts between the personalities of the people in each of
them. This feature, of primordial importance for the sociologist,
deserves a much more thorough analysis than that possible in this
paper. As indicated above in the rural social system which has
the large landed estates as the point of departure for all the lines
of its socioeconomic network, the vast majority of the inhabitants
of these rural areas are concerned with only one of the three
economic functions-supplying manual labor. They are born in the
huts and shanties of the peons, sharecroppers, wage hands, and
so on, and they grow and develop in these same rude shelters.
From very tender ages they perform the manual tasks required in
agricultural and pastoral activities. They terminate their lives amid
the unenviable surroundings of those at the lowest social and eco-
nomic levels. They forever are subject to the orders and control
of the large landowners and their administrators, and under the
vigilance of the overseers, majordomos or drivers. Never do they
have any opportunity to develop those human characteristics, nor
those personality traits which have to do with the all-important
responsibilities of management or administration, nor those involv-
ing the saving, investment, and use of capital. In other words they
pass their entire lives in those aspects of the agricultural and
pastoral activities which once were the roles of slaves and serfs
and which most easily may come to be performed by pack and
draft animals and by machines. If they live to be 90 years of age,
almost never do they have anything to do with the opportunities
and responsibilities of management and investment which play
such important roles in the adequate development of the human
How different from all this is the life history of one born in the
roomy and comfortable home of the farm family in the rural society
made up of those of the middle social class. From their earliest
years the children in such families are acquiring skill and facility
in the functions of management, habits of thrift and saving, and
experience in the use and investment of capital. At the same time

they are acquiring the skills and attitudes required for the efficient
use of the manual labor they themselves are called upon to do
along with their families and neighbors. A substantial part of their
waking hours, especially after they reach the age of adolescence,
must be devoted to the problems of planning and management, of
saving and investment, and of the effective and efficient use of
their labor. They are under the orders and supervision of no ad-
ministrator or overseer of any type and by the time they reach
adulthood they have in large part in their own hands the respon-
sibility for their own well-being and that of their families.
In a like manner, if space permitted, one could analyze in detail
the more ample development in the personality of such middle-
class farmers which comes from their contacts with others of simi-
lar status in the neighborhood, and those of like positions and also
those of entirely different interests and lines of work in the com-
munity and beyond the limits of the community. It suffices, though,
to say that these contacts are responsible for a development of the
human personality, from the qualitative standpoint as well as from
the quantitative, that is far closer to the potential than is possible
in the rural social system based upon large estates.
Personal Relationships.-The personal relationships between
those involved in the rural social system integrated about the large
landed estates show striking differences from those in which the
prevailing pattern grows out of a widespread distribution of fami-
ly-sized farming units. Wherever plantation and other large agri-
cultural and pastoral establishments prevail, the order-and-obey,
domination-and-submission types of relationships are the rule in
the work of the men and women on the land and also in the
domestic tasks connected with the affairs of the manor or "big
house" itself. They are the authoritarian variety which inevitably
arise and are perpetuated between those who have all the power
and the authority, or their representatives, and those whose only
role is that of the servant or sub-servant. Frequently the most
vigorous exercise of unbridled power is exhibited by a former
worker who has been taken from the ranks and invested with the
authority of the overseer, majordomo or driver. Naturally such pat-
terns of super-ordination and sub-ordination are worlds apart from
the equalitarian varieties which characterize the rural social sys-
tem which has as its central feature and moving force the family-
sized farms. Even the role of leadership in the two systems has

very little in common, pure caciquism being the characteristic of
the one and the necessity of developing in many persons the
capacity to inspire and stimulate the participation of large num-
bers of persons whose socioeconomic status is similar to that of
the leader prevailing in the other.
Emphasis upon Routine versus the Search for Progress.-Prima-
rily because the function of management, the process of getting an
adequate input of this all-important factor applied in the diverse
and kaleidoscopic processes of agriculture, is so difficult and com-
plex, the role of routine is entirely different in the two rural social
systems under discussion here. Thus in all areas in which large-
scale agriculture prevails, simplification and standardization of all
the mental and physical tasks becomes the sine qua non of the
endeavors, and monoculture becomes the rule. The concern is to
reduce to the minimum the number and intricacy of the activities
which the wage hands or peons must perform and which the
overseers and managers must supervise. Under these circum-
stances any innovation that does not come from above, which is to
say any that is not ordered by those who are not participating
directly in any of the actual work, is considered undesirable and
obnoxious. The best worker is the one who repeats endlessly and
precisely as instructed by the overseer the few manual tasks as-
signed to him. In this system to follow orders, even though the
worker may know that the way he is proceeding is wasteful and
ineffective, is "good," whereas any attempt to change for the better
or to improve the process is "bad." As a result of this general rule or
the overwhelming value of routine in complying with the instruc-
tions of the administrators and overseers and the general disdain
for the laborer and his work, it is almost impossible for even the
first steps in the improvement of agricultural methods to be under-
Sharply different from all of this is the search for new and bet-
ter ways of doing farm tasks, the more efficient use of labor, and
technical progress in general which is an integral feature of the
social system based on family-sized farms which are controlled
and operated by middle-class farmers. The mere fact that the one
who is responsible for the managerial activities also is he who
does the manual labor produces an unceasing effort to improve the
system. Moreover, in comparison with the zone which is dominated
by the plantation or other large estate the vigilance of the over-

seer or driver is lacking; and those performing the labor are free
to experiment with new and more effective ways of doing things.
For this reason with very few exceptions (among which some of
the large owners in England during the eighteenth and nineteenth
centuries are the principal ones) almost all of the modern agricul-
tural tools and machines were invented and perfected by those
particular societies, or parts of societies, in which the rural social
system based on family-sized farms predominated.
I analyzed the role of the family-sized farm in the invention,
perfection, and diffusion of agricultural machinery and equipment
in a paper delivered at the Second Latin American Seminar on
Land Problems, held at Montevideo, Uruguay, in November and
December, 1959, under the auspices of the Food and Agriculture
Organization and the Government of Uruguay. Since it would be
difficult to prepare a more succinct resume of this matter than was
done in that paper, a few of the more pertinent paragraphs from
it in translation are presented (see below pages 38-39).
Attitude toward Manual Labor.-An indelible feature of large
landed estates and a true indicator of the close relationship be-
tween it and servile or semi-servile labor is the attitude it engen-
ders and perpetuates with respect to work with the hands. Wher-
ever the huge agricultural units prevail manual work is considered
as demeaning and degrading. In large measure this is because of
the role played by the huge estate with respect to slavery and
serfdom, but the attitude itself persists for centuries after the
slaves may have been given their freedom. In areas today where
manual labor is considered to be dishonorable, almost inevitably
that area has suffered from the concentration of land ownership
and control in the hands of a few. On the other hand where this
cultural heritage is lacking, this deplorable attitude toward work
with the hands is not to be found.
Sharply different from the attitudes toward manual labor gener-
ated and preserved in the system of large estates are those which
prevail in areas given over to medium or family-sized farms. In
the corresponding rural social systems such work is considered to
be honorable and dignifying. The middle-class farm operator him-
self performs this fundamental economic function and he teaches
his children to do the same and to think of such behavior as
being highly acceptable. Manual labor in such a society in no way
can be considered to be degrading.

Levels of Living.-Generally speaking the average levels of liv-
ing of the rural inhabitants dominated by large agricultural and
pastoral units are very low and the standards of living also are low
or at least made up of aspirations that have scant relationship to
actual possibilities. This feature of the one rural social system, in
turn, is due largely to the relatively small output per unit of labor
that is typical of the large operations and also to the high degree
to which this disdained factor of production is wasted in this type
of agricultural organization. It also is due in part to the tremendous
power of the large landowners and the lack of humanitarian quali-
ties on the part of many of them. As should be evident to all,
throughout human history there has been a very close relationship
between large estates (of which the great Mexican haciendas
during the reign of Porfirio Diaz may be thought of as being fairly
typical) and subsistence economies. The production on this type
of estate always has been slight in relation to the number of per-
sons dependent upon it, and even in the cases probably not very
numerous in which the landowners have not taken the lion's share
of it for themselves the average per person has remained very low.
Neither the production per man-year, nor the manner in which it
has been distributed has permitted an adequate quota per family.
For this reason as a general rule the levels of living of those
whose lives are enmeshed in the rural social system based upon
large agricultural and pastoral units are much below those of
persons privileged to form part of the one integrated about family-
sized farms. This generalization is valid even for the southern
region of the United States in which the large cotton plantations
long have monopolized the most fertile lands in the flood plains of
the various rivers whereas the family-sized farms, entirely too small
to be satisfactory, are largely confined to the poorer, hilly districts
of the area.6
Wherever adequate family-sized farms and the corresponding
rural social system are enrooted in areas of highly fertile soils we
may observe that the average levels of living of the farmers are the
highest in the world. But irrespective of the fertility of the land,
when it is the general rule for the farmer to be at once the
6. The vast superiority of family-sized farms in the matter under con-
sideration is due in large part to the role of management in such enterprises.
This feature was the object of some analysis in a paper I presented to the
Mexican Sociological Congress in 1962. Some of the more pertinent para-
graphs from that exposition appear in Chapter 1.

investor, the manager, and the laborer there is a strong tendency
for agricultural productivity to be maximized. This particular fea-
ture also does not merely bring about a relatively high production
per family, but it also does much to insure an equitable distribu-
tion of that which is produced. Nevertheless we must indicate
that, since the rural social system is only one part of a great
society, the system of interchange between the rural and urban
portions of the larger entity may involve a very grave problem of
distribution. Not infrequently the farmers have difficulty in secur-
ing their fair share of the total production and there is much talk
of overproduction of crops and livestock. However in comparison
with the problem of deficient production which characterizes so-
cieties with rural social systems oriented about the large landed
estates, this difficulty occasioned by the maldistribution of the
abundance between the rural and urban segments dwindles much
in importance.
Propulsions to Regular Work and Saving.-Finally, to conclude
this analysis of the principal characteristics of the networks of
human, social, and cultural interrelationships which are called so-
cial systems, we may consider the propulsions to regular work and
saving. These propulsions are very weak indeed on the part of
the human beings who are integrated into the rural social system
which has large landed estates as its central .core. As has been
indicated above, the human components of such a system are made
up to a very high degree of peons or some other type of agricul-
tural laborers, which is to say of the demographic elements of the
very lowest socioeconomic status even in those cases where actual
slavery or serfdom is not involved. With the interrelationships that
prevail in such a system, the individual best serves his own per-
sonal interests when he specializes in substituting appearances for
deeds and actually performs just as little work as is possible on the
tasks that are assigned to him. Perforce his poorly developed in-
tellectual capacities are concentrated upon the problem of how to
pass muster and still do a minimum of work. Since he has absolute-
ly no reason to aspire to better his position in the social scale, it
is unreasonable to expect him to make any effort to save a part of
his pitifully small income even in those situations when he is not
actually subjected to involuntary servitude or peonage. If by any
chance it were possible and feasible for peons and other agricul-
tural laborers, including sharecroppers, to save and to ascend the

agricultural ladder, this very process alone would bring about the
subdivision of the plantation or other large estate into smaller units
within a single generation. But it is practically impossible within
such a rural social system to secure strong propulsions to steady,
hard work on the part of the laborers and even more difficult to pro-
mote any significant amount of saving by them. Thus the compul-
sion to work the least possible and the almost complete lack of
capital accumulation by the mass of the population are funda-
mental features of the rural social system which is brought into
being and preserved by large landed estates.
Entirely different is the propulsion to steady work and saving
felt by the middle-class farmer who is the operator of his own
agricultural establishment. Day and night his preoccupation is with
the problems of management connected with his land, buildings,
animals, and crops. From early in the morning until late at night
his attention must be dedicated to needs for mental and physical
work so pressing that there never is sufficient time to take care of
all he feels should be done. His stimulus is always to greater effort
and his concern never with the problem of deceiving some over-
seer or supervisor. Likewise the average farmer in the social system
which grows out of family-sized farms is highly stimulated to
habits of thrift and saving. The purchase of an additional tract of
land, the care of fences and ditches, the improvement of barns
and stables, the addition of more machines and implements, and
so on, always figure in his thoughts. Even the items in the family
budget must compete in his scale of priorities with those which
make up the farm budget. Almost always he has the aspiration
that each of his children shall occupy a position in the social scale
that is higher than his own, and he makes every effort to provide
them the formal schooling, to acquire more land, and to do all
else that will enable him to accomplish such a goal. In summary
among the agriculturists who form part of the rural social system
which has family-sized farms as its moving force the propulsions
to steady work and saving reach a maximum.

The words already quoted from the writings of Salvador Cama-
cho Roldan with respect to the predominance throughout antiquity
of the large landed estate seem sufficient on that subject. At the

dawn of history in various parts of the world the curtain went up
on a situation in which there was a high degree of concentration
in the ownership and control of the land in the hands of a few
powerful landowners who made up the aristocratic or plutocratic
upper class. Almost always, as shown by the slight documentation
available, the cultivators of the soil were submitted to a regime of
slavery or some other type of servitude. Only in a few places, such
as in Rome during the early centuries of its existence, were the
farmers free to manage their own land and to be responsible for
their own affairs. But even in Rome, as is well known, with the
development of the Empire the ownership of the land came into
the hands of a few powerful landowners, from whence we derive
the term of latifundia. Rare indeed in ancient times were genuine
middle-class agriculturists; and after the political and administra-
tive institutions arrived at the point at which they put an end to
the early primitive forms of communal ownership, the supremacy
of the large landed estates was general.
Likewise during the Middle Ages the rural social system having
family-sized farms as the central feature was of little importance.
With the fall of the Roman Empire came the historical epoch in
which feudalism prevailed and serfdom was the usual condition of
the man who worked the soil. From the fifth to the sixteenth
centuries, as throughout antiquity, the baronial estates of the pow-
erful ones and the servile condition of the masses were the general
rule. This is to say that up until the eighteenth century, and in-
deed almost until the nineteenth, there were in the entire world
very few places in which rural social systems based upon family-
sized farms and given life and action by middle-class farmers
were of any significance. But in parts of Europe during the eight-
eenth and nineteenth centuries and above all in North America
since about 1700 such a rural social system has surged forth
strongly, even to the point at which middle-class farmers and the
corresponding rural social system came to be the dominant ele-
ment in some of the societies. Today this type of rural social
organization is of considerable importance in much of France,
Switzerland, the British Isles, Belgium, the Netherlands, the Scan-
dinavian countries, Western Germany, Canada, Israel, New Zea-
land, Australia, and the United States. Likewise, advanced in
part by agrarian reform programs, it is coming to be of considerable
importance in countries such as Italy, Mexico, Japan, Formosa, and

the Philippines; and it has come to be the fundamental objective
of the programs of directed social change, or agrarian reform, in
still other important countries such as Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela,
the United Arab Republic, and Turkey.

The objectives and goals of actual and proposed programs of
agrarian reform throughout the world are closely related to the two
rural social systems discussed here. If the proponents and directors
of such promises or projects are more or less familiar with current
theories of social change they are somewhat obliged to attempt to
replace the social system in which the large landed estate is the
fundamental feature by the one to which the family-sized farm is
the key. To this there are two exceptions: first the few cases in
which agrarian reform consists solely of the distribution of the
rights to the land to the workers engaged in its cultivation; and
second, the programs in which the so-called agrarian reforms con-
sist merely of a change in the ownership and control of the large
estates so as to form state or collective farms from units that once
were the private possessions of the well-to-do. The first type natu-
rally does not result, or at the most produces after the lapse of
much time, in agricultural units that are large enough to meet the
needs and possibilities of families who are equipped with modern
agricultural knowledge and skills. In the second, the mass of the
rural people continue in the condition of mere agricultural labor-
ers, and thus remain deprived of any opportunity for the realiza-
tion of the greater part of their human potentialities and of any
chance of bettering their lot to a condition comparable with that
of middle-class farmers. It must be stressed that throughout most
of the non-Communist world, the primary objective of agrarian
reform programs is the development of a genuine class of farmers
who are the owner-operators of family-sized agricultural units.


Two highly important topics have been assigned to me by those
in charge of the program of this Seminar.* These are as fol-
lows: (1) "What Forms of Tenancy Are Possible in the Range
Between the Latifundia and the Minifundia?" and (2) "The So-
cioeconomic Importance of the Creation of a Middle-Class Agrari-
an Structure." As a title for my modest contribution to the dis-
cussion of these topics, I have chosen "The Development of
Family-Sized Farms." Nevertheless it would be a serious mistake
were I not to indicate, first of all, that the development of an
agrarian structure composed of intermediate units, or in other
words of agricultural families belonging in the upper portion of
the rural middle class, is the most difficult task confronting those
who are seeking to bring about an improvement in the relations
of man to the land.

From the standpoint of the size of the agricultural units there
are three possibilities: the minifundio or microfundio, the latifun-
dium, and the middle-sized unit or farm adjusted to the possibili-
ties of a single farm family. The latter is the one that has been so
tremendously important in the countries of Northwestern Europe,
Canada, and a large part of the United States. It is not my inten-
tion to say very much about the minifundio nor the latifundium,
since these Siamese twins which constitute a tremendous obstacle
to the socioeconomic well-being and progress presently throughout
Latin America seem to be evaluated in all of these countries as
belonging in the list of the most serious social problems. If in some
of them, such as Brazil, Bolivia, and Peru, the latifundium is
singled out as the chief defect, in others, including Ecuador, Co-
lombia, and Venezuela, the minifundio also is generally recog-
nized as a serious handicap.
*Paper presented to the Segundo Seminario Latinoamericano sobre Prob-
lemas de La Tierra, Montevideo, December, 1959. (Spanish text appeared as
"El Desarrollo de Unidades Agricolas Medianas," Boletin Uruguayo de So-
ciologia, I, No. 2 [March, 1963], pp. 55-60.)


It is well known that in many areas the greater part of the
most productive lands is owned and controlled by a few large
proprietors, whereas the large majority of those who live from
agriculture are mere landless agricultural laborers. Furthermore
in many regions in which the ownership of the land is more
widely distributed, as is the case in some Andean countries such
as Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela, hundreds of thousands of
the farms are too small to provide even a bare subsistence for the
families who possess them. Moreover, in the regions where the
large estate is the general rule, the best lands are used merely for
pastures, while farming has been forced up onto the steep and
eroded mountain sides. Still worse is the situation in many parts
where the richest of the lands remain completely idle and unpro-
ductive. As a matter of fact in countries such as Brazil and Colom-
bia the concept of latifundium generally signifies not merely a
large landed estate, but a large holding which deliberately is with-
held from productive uses. This problem is especially acute (and
this is recognized and condemned by officials in the ministries of
agriculture and other agencies) where the lands surrounding the
great cities, such as Rio de Janeiro, are concentrated in a few large
and idle holdings, while the production of essential foodstuffs for
the city is forced into areas that are farther and farther away
from the great center of consumption. Even if we were to concern
ourselves with the large agricultural units in which the land is cul-
tivated intensively, as occurs on many of the holdings which
produce sugar cane or coffee, the very nature of this system of
agricultural organization always means that the vast majority of
the rural families can never attain a plane or level of living above
that of mere agricultural laborers.
Some twenty years ago we observed in Latin America various
endeavors to establish colonists on small plots of land which de-
served no designation other than minifundia, but fortunately today
it appears that this stage in the evolution of our theory and prac-
tices with respect to colonization already has been passed. In
addition, those presently directing the policies of countries such as
Colombia and Brazil are engaged in promoting programs to pre-
vent the formation of more very small and anti-economic hold-
ings and to reduce the number of those that already are in exis-
tence. For this reason I think it unnecessary to say more about
the minifundia here.

Nor do I desire to elaborate relative to the latifundia at the
present time. In the world today there are underway so many
forces, such as the subdivision of estates by inheritance, the de-
velopment of universal education, the cultural contacts which are
awakening new desires and aspirations on the part of the masses,
and political programs for the improvement of rural life, that it
now seems impossible for the traditional forms of the large estates
to continue. It is unlikely that the higher wages paid to the se-
lected and better-trained workers who are employed on the large
plantations devoted to the production of sugar, cotton, coffee, and
so forth, will be sufficient to enable the masses to raise their
standards and levels of living. Indeed, it appears entirely pos-
sible to me that in the course of the next 50 years the majority of
the American countries will have to choose between the two fol-
lowing alternatives: (1) a type of large-scale agricultural organi-
zation in which the State will direct with an iron hand all of the
rural activities; and (2) a system based upon medium-sized agri-
cultural units in which the farmers, either as owners or as long-
term renters, come to be the operators of highly commercialized
agricultural businesses. In other words, it seems that the principal
possibilities are: (1) a system in which the power of the State is
utilized to keep the greater part of the rural people at the level
of mere agricultural laborers; and (2) a system in which a middle
class of farm operators own and control and themselves farm a
high proportion of the land. Naturally, it seems certain also that
there also will be in some places a communal or collective type of
organization similar to Mexico's ejidos.

The formation of a genuine farmer implies much more than
taking a man and giving him or selling him 25, 50, or 100 hectares
of land. In the personality of the farmer are combined in a dynamic
manner all three of the basic economic functions, that is of the one
who accumulates and invests a modest amount of capital, that of
the manager, and that of the laborer. The income of such an
agriculturist comes in part as interest on the capital he has in-
vested in the agricultural enterprises; in part for his work in exer-
cising the managerial function; and in part as a wage for his
labor. It may be very difficult to get all of these functions per-
formed by one man if such a combination is not the general rule

in the society in which he is born and reared. The Latin American
campesino can perform, of course, the labor function; but only a
few highly selected ones of his class can master and perform the
other two functions, that is the responsibilities of the manager
and those of the investor. The children of upper-class families, on
the other hand, may have the habits and the talents of the investor
and they may even find it socially acceptable to acquire those of
the manager; but for them it is practically impossible to accept
and carry on the third indispensable role of the farmer, that of the
worker. Nevertheless, with radical changes in the ways of working
the land and performing other farm tasks, through the use of draft
animals, the wagon, the plow, and other small implements, and
even the tractor and mechanized equipment, it may be possible
to make it socially acceptable for them to perform some of the es-
sential labor.

In many parts of Latin America there are only two possible
sources for the recruitment of colonists with reasonable chances
of being able to develop into the operators of family-sized farms.
(1) It may be possible to enjoy some success in assisting some of
the campesinos who demonstrate the most intelligence, initiative,
and industriousness to ascend one rung on the agricultural ladder.
The success obtained in the small locality of Saucio in the Depart-
ment of Cundinamarca, Colombia, deserves, in this connection,
attention from those engaged in colonization activities throughout
the Americas. When a few campesinos are successful in taking a
step of this nature, they serve as a tremendous stimulus for the
others; and, indeed, one of the most important benefits to be de-
rived from a colonization program is the encouragement it gives to
the campesinos to aspire to better things. (2) In the upper layers of
the social pyramid in many Latin American countries there are
not going to be sufficient places for the numerous children of the
upper-class families unless these countries industrialize and urban-
ize with great rapidity. The evidence so far indicates that there
is little reason to expect that those of upper-class status will during
the next decade or so practice birth control to any considerable
degree. Consequently it seems likely that many of the offspring
of upper-class parents will have to accept middle-class standings.

If sufficient orientation and training in agricultural matters are
given, some of them might contribute strongly to the development
of a genuine category of operators of family-sized farms.
There are also in various of the Latin American countries ele-
ments in the population that already are prepared to take advan-
tage of any enlarged opportunities for becoming the operators of
such agricultural units. For example, from the little that I have
been able to learn about Argentina, it appears that many of the
descendants of European immigrants already are renting and cul-
tivating fairly large tracts of very good land. It may be that their
leases are for far too short a period and it may be difficult or im-
possible for them to purchase good land in tracts of from 50 to 300
hectares, owing to the rapidity of monetary inflation in that coun-
try. Nevertheless it seems to me that it would not be exceedingly
difficult for Argentina to promote and strengthen the positions of
family-sized farms and of their middle-class operators. It may be
that a similar opportunity exists in Uruguay, but in this case one
of the principal purposes of this visit is to learn a little more about
this subject.
From the standpoint of the development of a much more wide-
spread and stronger system of family-sized farms, Brazil has avail-
able magnificent human resources in the states of Rio Grande do
Sul, Santa Catarina, Parand, and SLo Paulo. In the "colonial zones"
of the three most southerly states in the Brazilian confederation
there are millions of persons who have received and are still re-
ceiving from their parents the attitudes, abilities, and knowledge as
these were found during the second half of the nineteenth century
among middle-class farmers in countries such as Germany, Poland,
and Italy. They are not abreast of current agricultural knowledge,
and they have only limited access to lands of good quality in the
amounts needed for the majority of their young people to become
operators of family-sized farms. But the cultural heritage carried
by this population is a resource of great importance for the future
of the rural middle class in Brazil. Also of great significance for the
development of family-sized farms and middle-class farmers in that
country is the large population of Japanese descent now living in
Sao Paulo, and, to a lesser extent, in Parana, Minas Gerais, Goids,
and Mato Grosso.
It may be that there are comparable elements in other countries,
that is of people who already have a tradition or a cultural heri-

tage dominated by the patterns characteristic of the agricultural
middle class. Many places in Mexico, the southern part of Chile,
portions of Costa Rica, and the new Italian colonies in Venezuela,
for example, should have numerous persons who are already suited
to become the operators of family-sized farms. Nevertheless, the
knowledge that I personally have been able to obtain is that re-
lated to the Antioquefios of Colombia. Even in a short presentation
such as this one, it is worthwhile to mention briefly this extra-
ordinary group which includes so many members of the middle
Probably the most important development in the history of
Colombia has been the formation of a middle class of farmers in
the mountains of Antioquia, its rapid growth, and its push to the
south. Less than 100 years were required for them to dominate
the immense forests throughout what is now the Department of
Caldas, transforming the area into one of the richest and most
productive sections of Colombia, and also to spread into two other
departments (Tolima and El Valle del Cauca). During the course
of their work of spontaneous colonization, a personality type was
developed which may be characterized as that of an independent
farmer of middle-class status, self-confident, and equipped with a
system of production and a mode of life that well might be the
envy of the rest of Colombia and of many other parts of Latin
America. The fact that this category of farmers produce on their
rather small farms a large share of the highest quality of coffee
grown in Colombia is something that merits special attention.
Unfortunately the history of the emergence and development of
this group and their system of social and agricultural organization
has never been written in an adequate manner, nor has there been
any thoroughgoing analysis of the factors that gave rise to its
origin and growth. The most illuminating paragraphs on the sub-
ject that have come to my attention are those by Ram6n Franco
F. in his Antropogeografia Colombiana1 and those by James J. Par-
sons in his Antioquefo Colonization in Western Colombia.2 Franco
describes the manner in which a century ago the productive ener-
gies of the people of Antioquia were stymied by the huge grants
of land that had been giyen to a few favorites during the colonial
1. Manizales: Imprenta del Departamento, 1941.
2. Ibero-Americana: 32, Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of Cali-
fornia Press, 1949.


period, and the equally regrettable gifts of vast amounts of public
lands to a few powerful chieftains during the period of the repub-
lic. As a result, immense areas of land were maintained in idleness,
while the large landowners made use of the vagrancy laws to
force many of the campesinos into their labor gangs and to work
virtually as serfs in clearing the land of forest and undergrowth
and making it into pastures for their livestock. According to Franco
this led to virtual war between the campesinos and the owners of
the large estates, with the former basing their claims to some of
the land in the labor they had put forth and the improvements
they had made, whereas the latter supported their claims with the
deeds that had been given to them or their ancestors. The de-
mands of the colonists forced the large landowners to grant certain
lands for the establishment of pueblos. There resulted an outburst
of spontaneous colonization and settlement which was of such large
dimensions during the nineteenth century and the first half of the
twentieth that today it is not easy to find new areas into which the
settlers can move. Nevertheless these people are among the most
enterprising in America. They are multiplying very rapidly and
already they are crowding heavily the "carrying capacity" of the
area which they inhabit. All of this generates a tremendous pres-
sure for the extension of the agricultural activities of "Los Paises,"
as they are called by their fellow countrymen, further up onto the
steep slopes of the mountains and down into the hot and humid
bottoms of the valleys. Already they are pressing strongly upon the
lowland areas in which the Negroes and mulattoes for centuries
have vegetated unmolested along the banks of the rivers which
flow through the torrid valleys.
Other forces are carrying them and their family-sized farming
units to the north, to the last vestiges of mountainous terrain,
where the northerly extremes of the Andes give way to the Plains
of Bolivar and the lowlands of the Sinui Valley. Furthermore the
push to the south continues and today the settlers already have
spilled over the crest of the western cordillera into an area that
for centuries has defied all attempts at settlement. There, on the
headwaters of the Colima River, particularly, the hardy sons of
the Antioquefios are gathering the forces which very well may
carry their pioneer settlements to the Pacific in the course of the
next 25 years.


Any country that really desires to develop its rural society and
economy on the basis of family-sized farms must, first of all, foster
an environment in which such units can take root and grow. Un-
doubtedly, this itself is a tremendous undertaking, but the worst
thing of all would be to fail to accept this reality. Naturally much
judgment of a qualitative nature is called for in order to specify
exactly the elements that should form part of this environment
or social "climate"; and I doubt that it is necessary for this group
at this time to reach thorough agreement with respect to all of
them. For the moment, though, I personally consider that the most
important ones are as follows: (1) a system of surveys and records
in which deeds to the land are clear and unclouded, exact, and
simple, so as to prevent to the maximum degree any disputes
and conflicts over titles to and boundaries of the farms; (2)
schools, secondary as well as primary, in each division of the state
(such as the municipios, cantons, and partidos) in which all of the
children of farm families may secure at least 10 years of formal
education (while they are in the ages between 6 and 15 years);
(3) a network of roads and trails which will link all of the farms
with the population centers of all sizes, with the shipping points
on railways, with the ports, and with the markets in the large
cities; (4) provisions in the national constitutions which will per-
mit the residents of the smaller political subdivisions (municipios,
cantons, partidos, etc.) to levy a general property tax upon all
rural and urban property in order to raise the funds needed to
pay the costs of their institutions and services such as schools,
health services, and protection of life and property; (5) well-
developed agricultural experimental and agricultural extension serv-
ice so that the operator of the family-sized farm may have
access to the modern scientific and technical knowledge that per-
tains to his business and products; and (6) a farm credit system,
both short range and long range, which will enable the farmer to
make use of adequate amounts of capital in an efficient manner.
For the present this list of six elements in the social environment
needed in order to facilitate the development of family-sized
farms in an area is sufficient, although it would be possible for any
member of the group, or for me personally, to indicate many more.


As a conclusion to this discussion I wish to mention the impor-
tant fact that mechanization is a factor favorable to the develop-
ment of the medium-sized agricultural units, that is the family-
sized farms. When this idea is first broached it may be contradicted
by many. Afterwards, although the weight of the evidence may
convince many of the critics of the validity of the proposition,
they still may consider it paradoxical, unless they spend a great
deal of time studying the development of the various systems of
agriculture throughout the world. Nevertheless, I maintain that the
great majority of the agricultural machines and implements actual-
ly were developed in family-sized farming areas and by and for
the operators of family-sized farms. Almost all of the marvelous
machines and implements which now can do so much to ease the
burdens of farm work and increase the productivity of agricul-
turists throughout the world are closely adjusted to the needs and
activities of the operators of family-sized farms. Tractors, modern
plows, cultivators, combines and harvesters, wagons, motor trucks,
milking machines, cream separators, pumps, cornpickers, mowing
machines, hayloaders, potato diggers, potato sorters, and hundreds
of other important machines and implements are specifically
adapted to the family-sized farm. They are carefully adjusted to
needs of agricultural units in which a man and the members of
his family do the bulk of the work involved in carrying on the
various enterprises which make up the farm business he operates
either as an owner or as a renter. Even the combines for harvesting
grains require relatively few hands, but in this case, because of
costs and other factors, until the present it has been rather com-
mon for these to be owned by specialists who do custom work for
the farmers of an area.
The explanation of the important proposition just advanced is
not difficult to find. The fact is that many of the machines and
implements which now contribute so heavily to the efficient use of
land, labor, capital, and management in the agricultural areas
were either invented and perfected by or for the operators of
family-sized farms. These machines are specifically adapted to the
needs of such farmers who are located in northwestern Europe and
parts of the United States and Canada. Indeed, it is difficult to con-
ceive of accomplishments such as those of John Deere or Cyrus H.

McCormick in regions dominated by the large estates and their
Siamese twin the pocket-handkerchief-sized minifundia. If any of
these inventors had been the owner of a magnificent plantation, of
a large hacienda, a splendid estancia, or a fundo of vast extension,
today his name would not figure in any list of the forerunners of
mechanized agriculture. As the proprietor of an immense tract
of land and with a position at the apex of the social pyramid, his
interests would have been directed almost exclusively to the fields
of finance, politics, literature, administration, diplomacy, and so on.
Hence it is almost impossible to think of him as devoting intermi-
nable hours and days experimenting with broken saw blades and
other pieces of rusty metal in an attempt to construct agricultural
implements that would reduce the burden of his own labor, and
that of his neighbors, in the indispensable work of the farm. Or if
any one of them had first seen the light of day in the hut of one
of the peons on such a large estate, or even in an area blanketed
with minifundia, probably he would have passed his days repeat-
ing endlessly, under the vigilant eyes of some majordomo or over-
seer, like Millet's the "Man with a Hoe," the few rudimentary and
routine tasks demanded of him and his fellows. In summary, the
revolutionary development of agricultural machines and imple-
ments in the course of the last 100 years is due above all to the
ceaseless quest by the operators of family-sized farms for labor-
saving devices for their own farms and those of their neighbors.
The fact that the greater part of the agricultural machinery
presently available is adapted for use on family-sized farms is of
tremendous importance. It should stimulate private and govern-
mental agencies throughout the Americas to give preference to
such agricultural units in their various projects and programs.
Furthermore, in everything related to the mechanization of agri-
culture, it seems certain that the family-sized farms will retain
their advantage for many years to come.


W ill it be possible for Colombia quickly to replace systems of
agriculture that are antiquated, inefficient, and frequently de-
grading with modern ones that are efficient and which will enable
the masses of her agriculturists to lead a more human and digni-
fying type of life?* The future of that nation depends to a high
degree upon the answer to this question. If by chance at the
present time the average farmer in Colombia were equipped with
the knowledge and practices pertaining to agricultural and pas-
toral enterprises more or less equal to those possessed by Canadian
farmers in the provinces of Ontario and Saskatchewan as early as
1910, then the Latin American country we are considering already
would be a model of social and economic development worthy of
imitation by all of the so-called underdeveloped countries. I
feel perfectly justified in making such generalizations in spite of
the fact that I observed highly perfected systems of agriculture in
various parts of Colombia, such as the magnificent sugar-cane plan-
tations in the Cauca Valley, the splendidly mechanized cotton
plantations in Tolima and other parts of the upper Magdalena
Valley, the extremely modern establishments for dairying on the
Savanna of BogotA, and the large agricultural units recently de-
veloped in the Department of Meta and on the northern coastal
Nevertheless I also have seen thousands and thousands of fincas
(or small to moderate-sized agricultural units) and hundreds of
haciendas (or large estates usually devoted almost exclusively to
rudimentary pastoral activities) in the most densely populated
portions of the nation on which the prevailing systems of agri-
culture are very similar to those used in Biblical times or even in
the days of the Egyptians. It is very easy to ascertain the fact,
which later will be demonstrated in some detail, that there pres-
*The original text of this paper in Spanish was presented to the Colloque
International sur les Problkmes Agraires des AmBriques Latines, Paris, October
11-16, 1965.

ently are in Colombia approximately one million farmers, that is
the overwhelming proportion of all of her agriculturists, who are
completely lacking any agricultural implements other than the ax
and the hoe. They also have no power whatsoever, either of ani-
mals or machines, except that of their own hands. With such
systems of agriculture it is evident that human labor is wasted to
an appalling degree. Furthermore, keeping pace with this abysmal
deficiency in the traditional practices is the lack in the agricultural
system of the Colombian farmer of an adequate and efficient input
of the all-important managerial factor.

The concept of system of agriculture or agricultural system as
used here requires an exact definition although its general conno-
tations are rather self-evident.' Like any other system, a system of
agriculture is an arrangement or organization of component parts
into a functioning whole which distinguishes such a unity from a
mere aggregation. Thus the significance of the word system in the
concept is the same as that which it has in connection with other
concepts such as organic system, astronomic system, weather sys-
tem, and so on. Simultaneously, in order to distinguish the system
of agriculture from all others, we must indicate that it is a body of
practices, cultural traits, customs, ideas, skills, techniques, preju-
dices, habits, implements, machines, animals, scientific knowledge,
seeds, and so forth, used by the members of a specific society in
order to secure agricultural and livestock products from the soil.
Moreover, this part of the social order is highly institutionalized,
so that among the farmers of any given region or community the
acceptable methods of preparing the seedbed, cultivation, caring
for livestock, harvesting, and transportation are highly standarized;
and in general the social and cultural values of the community are
oriented in the direction of preserving the traditional forms of
life and labor.
The system of agriculture should be thought of in terms suffi-
ciently broad to include all of the scientific knowledge, skills,
1. For more complete explanations of the concept and a classification of
its principal types or varieties, see, T. Lynn Smith, The Sociology of Rural
Life, 3rd ed., New York: Harper and Brothers, 1953, Chapter 14; and T.
Lynn Smith, Brazil: People and Institutions, 3rd ed., Baton Rouge: Louisiana
State University Press, 1963, Chapter XV.

practices, implements, machines, domesticated animals, and so on,
which have a part in agricultural and pastoral activities and in
rural transportation. Thus the system used by a village of Indians
in the Colombian jungle may have as its central components the
digging sticks used by the women of the tribe and a complex of
magical and religious practices designed to promote the germina-
tion of the seeds and to foster the productivity of the soil; whereas
that in vogue in a large sugar-cane plantation in the Cauca Valley,
or a big cotton plantation in Tolima, may consist of a highly in-
tricate combination of practices that have stood the test in many
parts of the world, well-established scientific principles, and the
most modern machines and implements, that is of components
that had not even been conceived of 50 years ago.
In passing, it also is important to recognize that the acquisition
of the fund of knowledge and the richness of the procedures which
enables the modern agriculturist to magnify the gifts of nature
and to bring forth an abundance of agricultural and livestock
products is the greatest development in the history of civilization.
Only to the extent to which the control of the natural processes
brought about an increase in the quantity of food and fiber pro-
duced by a given man was it possible for human energy to be
directed to other branches of industry, commerce, transportation,
communication, science, philosophy, the liberal professions, serv-
ices, and so on, which have led us to the nuclear age.

Some time ago I classified the various systems of agriculture into
the six following fundamental types: (1) river-bank plantings; (2)
"fire agriculture"; (3) hoe culture; (4) rudimentary plow culture;
(5) advanced plow culture; and (6) mechanized farming.2 Of
these six systems only three are of any particular importance in
Colombia, namely, "fire agriculture" and hoe culture (sometimes
supplemented by a feeble addition of some of the elements of
rudimentary plow culture), which are the traditional ones used by
the rural masses; and mechanized farming, which represents the
wave of the future. Fals-Borda in his fundamental study, the most
important contribution to date to the study of Colombia's systems
2. A general analysis of the systems of agriculture is presented in Smith,
The Sociology of Rural Life, Chapter 14; and a study of the roles of each
of the types in Brazilian society is given in Smith, Brazil, Chapter 15.


of agriculture, makes no mention of river-bank plantings nor of
advanced plow culture.3 However, although the first of these is
lacking in the department of Boyaci, it still persists on a small scale
among the Indians who live along the streams in the remote parts
of the Amazon Basin far removed from the heavily populated
parts of the country. But the system in which the fundamental
components are the metal turning plow, the use of horses as draft
animals, and the four-wheeled farm wagon (this is to say the com-
bination which lead to the high stage of development in countries
such as England, France, Germany, Holland, Canada, and the
United States) never found a place in Colombian society, and it
seems impossible to bring about the radical change in the social
system that would be required to accomplish the introduction of
this advanced plow culture.4 In any case for purposes here, the
important thing is to attend to the three systems of agriculture
that are designated as "fire agriculture," hoe culture, and mecha-
nized farming.

The Colombian campesino remains tied to antiquated proce-
dures that waste his labor prodigally and there are slight prospects
that he will be able in the near future to make any radical changes
in his routinary and inefficient systems. In the torrid zones, the
rural families continue caring for their subsistence plots, that is of
the patches of plantains, bananas, manioc, yams, and so on, in

3. Orlando Fals-Borda, El Hombre y la Tierra en Boyacd, BogotA: Edi-
clones Documentos Colombianos, 1957, Chapter IX. (The original in English
entitled A Sociological Study of the Relationships between Man and the Land
in the Department of Boyacd, Colombia was submitted in 1955 in partial
fulfillment of the requirements for the Ph.D. degree in sociology at the
University of Florida.)
4. It is highly interesting to study the attempts, commencing in the days
of the struggle for independence, of Englishmen, Frenchmen, persons from
the United States, and even Colombians themselves, to transplant to Colombia
the turning plow and other basic features of this system of agriculture. See,
for example, Charles Stuart Cochrane, Journal of a Residence and Travels
in Colombia ., London: Henry Colburn, 1825, Vol. II, pp. 5-6 and 188-
189; William Duane, A Visit to Colombia in the Years 1822 & 1823, Philadel-
phia: Thomas H. Palmer, 1826, pp. 407-408; P. L. Bell, Colombia: A Com-
mercial Handbook, Washington: Government Printing Office, 1921, pp. 163,
177, 199, and 221; and Orlando Fals-Borda, Facts and Theory of Sociocul-
tural Change in a Rural Social System, Monografias Sociol6gicas No. 2 Bis,
Bogota: Universidad Nacional de Colombia, 1960, p. 20. The experience
reported by Fals-Borda in his studies of Saucio probably is more or less

their conucos, aided solely by the ax and the machete. They do
not cultivate the soil in any sense of the word; in the system they
use there is no necessity for digging, moving, or turning the earth.
Their present system of agriculture is the traditional one called
rozar ("fire agriculture") that is so well described in Libro IV, Ti-
tulo XII, Ley XXII of the Laws of the Indies, which reads as
follows: "Whereas in the district of the villa of Toli, of the province
of Cartagena, there are large expanses of unproductive land, and
of great and very dense forests which have no value or use other
than that of farming or agriculture, by felling, burning, and clear-
ing the woods, and their quality is such that only during the year
in which the forest is felled and burned do they plant and replant
the maize, which is called a new roza, and at least the next year
and for twenty subsequent years they are of no further use ."
In the densely populated temperate and cool zones, where the
bulk of the rural population lives, the system of agriculture is one
that involves the cultivation of the land. But in these areas as a
general rule the small farmers depend almost exclusively upon
hoes, the digging stick, and the machete, that is upon agricultural
implements whose use is totally dependent upon human energy.
Only a few of them are in economic circumstances which permit
the use of a mule as a pack animal. Furthermore, due to the high
degree to which the components of a system of agriculture are
interdependent and the large extent to which the campesinos are
bound by their cultural heritage and their traditional social values,
it is extremely difficult to bring about improvements in their agri-
cultural practices. The proponents of various theories of directed
social change, for example, should pay particular attention to the
results of the efforts of Fals-Borda to introduce new implements
among his campesino friends in the Saucio district. Here are the
exact words used in his report: "The farmers distinguish what can
be damaging or prejudicial to them; thus they reject apparently

typical of these attempts to introduce the turning plow as an implement
without, at the same time, transplanting the many complementary elements
upon which its successful use depends. Be this as it may, among the cam-
pesinos of Saucio "The first steel plows easily broke, and later models were
defective in the angle and bladecatching mechanism." Ibid., p. 18. (A few
of the essential features that were lacking in these trials are: the necessary
clevises, double trees, adequate harnesses, well-trained teams of horses or
mules, and, most important of all, a plowman who had had several years of
apprenticeship, preferably during his youth.)

useful innovations. Such was the case with the writer's experimen-
tation with the scythe in 1956. After one year and a half of con-
tinued trials with a number of Saucites, it became evident that the
scythe could not displace locally the rudimentary sickle for the
harvesting of grain. The terrain; the kind of seed; the nature of
weed growth; the weather in relation to tying, shocking, and
stacking; the system of threshing; all conspired to curtail the local
efficacy of the scythe as a grainharvesting implement. The sickle
remained while the farmers handed down their decision against
the innovation. This decision was sound from the technical view-
point. In a similar manner, resistance against the modern combines,
that appeared in Saucio for the first time in 1955, was justified for
at least one good objective reason: The machines did not separate
efficiently the weed from the wheat; and, consequently, the har-
vest was damaged."5
Very explicit and exact statements may be made with respect
to the extent of the persistence of antiquated systems of agricul-
ture among the masses of Colombia's campesinos, since in the
year 1960 the national government completed the first agricultural
census to be made in that country. Presently we already have
available the national summaries of these data, sources of informa-
tion that have made obsolete all of the partial estimates prepared
for earlier years. According to the extremely valuable information
collected in this census, the total number of explotaciones agro-
pecuarios (or of farms and subsistence tracts taken together) in
1960 came to 1,209,672, of which 781,717 (or 65 per cent) relied
exclusively upon human energy. This is to say that two-thirds of all
the agricultural and pastoral units in the country, from the conucos
and subsistence estancias of the resident laborers on the fincas and
haciendas to the great estates containing more than 2,500 hectares
apiece, completely lacked any draft animals, horses, mules or bur-
ros for riding or packing. They also had no tractors or motors of
any type. See Table I. Moreover, there are departments in which
this proportion is as high as 95, 96, and 97 per cent. See Table II.
It should be indicated that even these statistical materials are
not truly indicative of the extreme degree to which the Colombian
campesinos remain dependent upon the hoe, the machete, the ax,
and fire in their agricultural enterprises. First, although the great
majority of those who own the large estates and the moderate-
5. Fals-Borda, Facts and Theory of Sociocultural Change, pp. 19-20.


sized fincas do not live on their properties, there still are many
more dwellings on the farms and subsistence tracts than there are
explotaciones agropecuarios themselves. Thus the census gives
1,309,942 as the total number of dwellings on the agricultural and
pastoral units, a figure 100,270 greater than the number of explo-
taciones. Furthermore, the number of dwellings should correspond


Size of Explotaciones dependent solely
explotaciones Number of upon manpower
(in hectares) explotaciones Number Per cent
Less than 0.5 165,652 144,236 87
0.5- 0.9 132,419 96,059 73
1- 1.9 191,347 131,054 68
2- 2.9 117,005 75,630 65
3- 3.9 92,001 56,216 61
4- 4.9 58,181 34,739 60
5- 9.9 169,145 94,579 56
10- 19.9 114,231 60,849 53
20- 29.9 44,049 23,362 53
30- 39.9 26,500 14,204 54
40- 49.9 16,240 8,792 54
50- 99.9 39,990 21,872 55
100- 199.9 22,317 11,711 52
200- 499.9 13,693 6,233 46
500- 999.9 4,141 1,536 37
1,000-2,499.9 1,975 551 28
2,500-over 786 93 12
Total 1,209,672 781,716 65

"Source: Compiled and computed from data given in Departamento Ad-
ministrativo Nacional de Estadistica, "Resumen Nacional (Segunda Parte),"
Directorio Nacional de Explotaciones Agropecuarias (Censo Agropecuario),
1960. Bogota: Multilith Estadinal, 1964, p. 56.

roughly to the number of agricultural and pastoral families who
live on the farms and subsistence tracts; but it is regrettable that
the data available do not permit a cross classification of the num-
ber of families living on the explotaciones who lack completely any
draft and pack animals or motorized equipment. Second, as is
well known, there are many thousands of peons and other agri-
cultural laborers who do not live on the land itself but in clusters


of huts (rancherias), hamlets, villages, towns, and cities of all
sizes. The number of such families who do not live on the explota-
ciones, but who gain their livelihood by working on the farms and
ranches must be approximately 200,000; and we may be certain
that at least 95 per cent of them have neither animals nor motor-
ized equipment for use in their work. Thus it seems reasonable to


Number of Explotaciones dependent solely
explotaciones upon manpower
Department agropecuarias Number Per cent
Total 1,209,672 781,716 65
Antioquia 169,299 135,861 80
Atlintico 11,902 11,431 96
Bolivar 63,827 61,823 97
BoyacA 169,282 47,273 28
Caldas 80,424 68,495 85
Cauca 73,753 42,758 58
C6rdoba 48,393 42,230 87
Cundinamarca 145,003 73,327 51
Huila 34,683 16,332 47
Magdalena 54,989 52,007 95
Meta 15,835 9,060 57
Narifio 90,285 55,630 62
Norte de Santander 39,069 24,222 62
Santander 89,972 44,393 49
Tolima 72,133 51,795 72
Valle del Cauca 50,823 45,079 89

*Source: Compiled and computed from data given in Departamento Ad-
ministrativo Nacional de Estadistica, "Resumen Nacional (Segunda Parte),"
Directorio Nacional de Explotaciones Agropecuarias (Censo Agropecuario),
1960, Bogoti: Multilith Estadinal, 1964, p. 32.

estimate that there are about 1,500,000 Colombian families who are
dependent upon agriculture and stock raising. Of these about 75
per cent or 1,125,000 families must rely exclusively upon their own
hands, aided only by the hoe, the ax, the machete, and fire.

There are substantial reasons for believing that the mechanized
system of agriculture, based upon the tractor and the modern im-

plements associated with it, is the doorway through which Colom-
bian farming will enter the twentieth century. As a matter of fact,
there are a few parts of the country in which the cultivation of
the soil is abreast of the possibilities of the second half of that
century. Among all of the factors related to the revolution in Co-
lombia's systems of agriculture, this is to say to the great process
of development now underway, two are of primary importance:
(1) as a general rule until the close of the second world war the
lands best suited for cultivation in Colombia (because of their
topography, fertility, and location with respect to the cities) were
held almost unused in the extensive and rudimentary pastoral es-
tates of a few powerful landowners; and (2) the mechanized
system of agriculture is an entirely new cultural complex, largely
lacking links with traditional ways, so that its use demands the
simultaneous introduction and employment of its thousands of com-
porients. (In sharp contrast to the many futile attempts to intro-
duce the simple turning plow and the advanced plow culture
system of agriculture, no one is tempted,to try fitting a few fea-
tures of mechanized farming into the antiquated ways of rudi-
mentary plow culture.)
The pattern in which for a period of 400 years the lands most
suited for farming were monopolized by the Spanish overlords and
their descendants for pastures for their livestock while the plant-
ings of the Indians and mestizos were crowded off into out of the
way places and up onto the steep mountainsides has been docu-
mented elsewhere." Here we are limited by space to a reference
to three of the most important observations pertaining to the ob-
structive nature of the pattern under consideration. Two of these
items are from the highly important report of Manuel Ancizar, sec-
retary of the famous Codazzi Commission and they were written
more than a century ago. The first of them refers to the situation
on the Savanna of Bogota, by far the largest and most important
area of level land in the high, cool and densely populated zones of
Colombia. In literal translation, it reads as follows: "From BogotA
to ZipaquirA it is ten granadian leagues of level road, whose great-
er part has the same floor which the good Bochica left us when he

6. See, for example, T. Lynn Smith, "Land Tenure and Soil Erosion in
Colombia," Proceedings of the Inter-American Conference on the Conserva-
tion of Renewable Resources, Washington: U. S. Department of State, 1948,
pp. 155-160.


drained the great lake whose bed constituted the beautiful plain
upon which the innocent Chibchas lived and worked. They, ac-
cording to what we are told by the chroniclers of the conquest,
were cultivating palm by palm the entire plain: we have converted
it into pasture for fattening livestock, that is to say, we have
taken a step backwards, since grazing is the first step in civilization,
which is not truly developed except by agriculture. In the ten
leagues of plains mentioned, only the Pueblo of Cajici presents
its lands carefully cultivated and planted, being preserved there,
as in the other pueblos of the indigenes, the primitive type of
agriculturist in contrast with our lazy industry of stock raising."7
The observations contained in the second extract from the work
of Ancizar corresponds perfectly with those I made in visits in
the years from 1943 to 1964 to dozens of haciendas located in vari-
ous parts of Colombia: "From Sogamoso to Iza it is something over
four leagues of level road, happy and clear through a pretty, green
valley occupied by a hacienda called La Compafiia, in commemora-
tion of the Jesuits, first owners of that valuable finca, the only one
in the canton in which the large extension of land included in this
valley is concentrated in the hands of a single family, because
happily the remainder of its soil is divided into small holdings, the
property of many proprietors. La Compafiia is simply a pasture for
fattening cattle, so that the plantings of the colonos which surround
it appear like refugees upon the slopes and sides of the surround-
ing mountains; and the rich plains possessed by herds of sheep
and larger animals, and by numerous troops of mules, incontestable
sign of the infancy of our country it is, with agriculture dislodged
from its legitimate lands by livestock."8
Inasmuch as cultural complexes and social systems are highly
resistant to change, the third citation has been made for the pur-
pose of indicating that the monopolization of the best lands for a
rudimentary pastoral industry had taken place long before the
perceptive work of Ancizar was done. It is a statement by one of
the last of the Viceroys of the New Kingdom of Granada, who also
was Archbishop, a man who held power during the decade ending
in 1789, and in translation it reads as follows:
"One sees the most fertile valleys, whose abundance pleads for
7. Manuel Ancizar, Peregrinaci6n de Alpha, Bogota: Arboleda & Valen-
cia, 1914, pp. 12-13.
8. Ibid., p. 276.


the hand of man, more to harvest than to labor; and nevertheless
they are found to be empty without a single inhabitant, at the
same time that the rough, sterile mountainsides are peopled by
criminals and fugitives, persons who have fled society to live with-
out law or religion. It is sufficient to delineate a small map of the
population of the Kingdom in order to appreciate the confusion and
disorder in which these men of the mountains live, electing of their
own choice and without the intervention of the Government nor of
the local judges their places of retreat, the more remote from the
pueblo and its church the more pleasing to them [the mountain
people]. Except for the few cities of the first class which hardly
merit second class rating from the mere appearance of their un-
happy buildings or third class rating of pure name from the mem-
ory of their ruins and remains; except also for some Parishes which
recently have been established on better lines, all the other popula-
tion centers are merely small collections of miserable ranchos,
chozas, and bujios, which constitute only the twentieth part of the
inhabitants attributed to the respective places. This comes from the
old and deep-seated liberty of fleeing from one to the other to
live at their expense without fear of apprehension in their infamous
and vile undertakings. Men designated as fairly well off are those
who from the lack of measures designed to prevent the concen-
tration of [the ownership of] land in the hands of a single person,
have succeeded in acquiring at exorbitant prices immense holdings
in which they regularly hold as serfs the less well-to-do. The form-
er preserve more firmly their possessions through the income which
they receive from their broad domains; but the latter, who make
up the great majority of the free inhabitants, constitute strictly
speaking a migratory, floating population who, forced by the tyr-
anny of the land owners, move about with the facility conceded
to them by the small amount of their household goods, the slight
value of their huts, and the lack of love for the fonts in which they
were baptized. They have the same in the place they die as in the
one in which they were born, and in any place they find the same
as they left. They eat little with considerable grossness, but they
are not so temperate in drinking. They are always ready and will-
ing for games, dances, and functions, inclined to laziness, to which
the fertility of the land contributes, a little work sufficing to supply
their few necessities. Their children, educated in this school, go on
imitating faithfully their parents; they continue propagating al-

ways the same thoughts and the same conduct and rusticity, and
in spite of the general increase in population, they only increase
the number of such useless vassals, who with great strides are
precipitating themselves in the same barbarity as the first inhabi-
Turning our attention to the present and to the interest that
some of the large proprietors are taking in monoculture of various
types, such as the cultivation of sugar cane, cotton, and rice, a few
of the most important tendencies may be indicated. It is well to
start this by mentioning that for a long while, especially since 1947,
Colombia has been undergoing the destruction and ravages
brought about by great political divisions and struggle, or the tre-
mendous blood bath resulting from the so-called "violencia" of civil
war and banditry, and the general lack of security for life and
property. From the sociological point of view the nation is under-
going the torment of all the tensions and conflicts of a chaotic
condition in which one general social system is losing its force,
leaving the society involved on a course that is unpredictable and
seemingly beyond control. Nevertheless, even in the situation pre-
vailing, much headway is being made in the development of a
modern system of mechanized agriculture. The fact has already
been mentioned that the vast majority of the best land is readily
available for cultivation as quickly as and to the extent that a few
large and powerful landowners develop a concern about plants
and cultivation. Also highly important to mention in this connection
is the abundance of petroleum in Colombia, for export as well as
for all domestic needs. Moreover, there are in that country im-
mense beds of coal and large deposits of iron ore, and it already
has a domestic steel industry well capable of satisfying the needs of
the factories that could make the agricultural machinery. In sum-
mary everything points to substantial changes in the traditional
systems of agriculture in which human labor is wasted to such a
staggering degree.
Today one who visits the Savanna of Bogota, the Cauca Valley,

9. "Relaci6n del Estado del Nuevo Reino de Granada, que hace el
Arzobispo de Cordova a su sucesor el Exemo. Sr. Don Francisco Gil y Lemus,
Afio de 1789," in Jos6 Antonio Garcia y Garcia, ed., Relaciones de los
Virreyes del Nuevo Reino de' Granada, New York: Hallet and Breen, 1869,
pp. 215-216. It should be indicated that some of the successors of the
Archbishop declared that His Excellency's judgments were a little extreme. Cf.
ibid., pp. 452ff.


the plains of the upper Magdalena, the areas near Villavicencio
and Florencia on the great plains to the east of the Andes, the
Caribbean coastal plain, and so on, no longer will be surprised by
the absence of tractors, modern plows, and all of the other imple-
ments and machines involved in a system of agriculture that is in
line with the social values of the second half of the twentieth cen-
tury. In the rice plantations and even in some of the wheat fields
he can see combines for harvesting and threshing the grain, in
place of the sickles and the animals circling the threshing floors
which prevailed until very recently. If he goes to one of the cotton
zones, such an observer may even see small airplanes taking part
in the work of dusting the growing plants.
When we did our sociological study of the municipio of Tabio
during the years 1943 and 1944 my Colombian associates and I
found no tractors whatsoever in this small arm of the Savanna of
BogotA. On the basis of interviews with all the heads of agricul-
tural families in the municipio, those of the farm operators as well
as those of the farm laborers, we found that: "Only 27, or 11 per
cent, of Tabio's farm operators possess steel plows. Another 174,
or 72 per cent, have only the wooden plow with its crude steel
point. The remaining 40 possess no plow of any type, but through
the various systems of compafiia in vogue some of their farms
probably have the plow applied to the soil. However, a consider-
able amount of the land is never stirred by any means except the
hoe. Of the farm laborers, only one family possesses a steel plow,
and only 55, or less than 30 per cent, have wooden plows. Through
the various partnership arrangements some of the others, too, may
have some use made of these animal-drawn instruments on their
small estancias. But it is fair to say that for the most part the pan
coger yielded by their small subsistence plots is extracted solely
by hand labor."1o Twenty years later, in one of the periodical visits
subsequently made to the municipio, almost as soon as the bound-
ary of the county-like unit was passed, a tractor was seen working
in the field; and the 1960 census of agriculture enumerated a total
of 39 that were owned by farmers in the small administrative
Unfortunately other studies that would indicate with exactitude
10. T. Lynn Smith, Justo Diaz Rodriguez, and Luis Roberto Garcia, Tabio:
A Study in Rural Social Organization, Washington: Office of Foreign Agri-
cultural Relations, 1945, pp. 36-37.

the nature of the systems of agriculture prevailing in Colombia 20
years ago are lacking, but notes I made daily in visits to various
parts of the Republic in the years 1943, 1944, and 1945, indicate
that only now and then does one encounter any entries pertaining
to tractors or other modern agricultural machinery. For example,
in the course of a visit (February 26, 1944) to one of the haciendas
owned by a prominent family in Pasto, we recorded that the pro-
prietor, who was president of the Agricultural Society of Narifio,
possessed a tractor and that it was one of the two in the entire
department. (The data in Table IV indicate that there were 263
tractors in the department in 1960.) Similarly there are the notes
made on the occasion of a visit (October 17 and 18, 1943) to one
of the haciendas of the Minist6rio de Economia in the Samaca
Valley, in Boyacd. There we saw tractors at work preparing for
planting to wheat level lands on the floor of the valley that had
been devoted exclusively to pastoral activities for almost 400 years.
But these cases are the exceptions: as a general rule in the hun-
dreds of fincas and haciendas that we visited, from the depart-
ment of Magdalena on the north to Narifio on the Ecuadorian
border, we found no implements whatsoever that had anything to
do with the mechanization of agriculture.
At present the data are vastly superior. As has been indicated
above the reports of the agricultural census taken in 1960, the first
comprehensive enumeration made in Colombia, are a treasury of
important information about the subject. Already indicated is the
fact that there are approximately 1,300,000 families living on Co-
lombia's farms, ranches, and subsistence plots, and that this total
does not include other hundreds of thousands of families whose
livelihood is directly dependent upon agricultural work even though
their dwellings are in population centers of various sizes. Since the
census gives a total of 15,361 tractors on Colombia's farms, it may
be calculated that there is approximately one tractor for each 85
families residing on the explotaciones agropecuarias.
It is reasonable to suppose that there would be a close associ-
ation between the size of the agricultural units and the degree to
which the tractor and complementary implements are used; and
this proposition can easily be confirmed from an examination of
the materials presented in Table III. Thus the number of dwelling
units (which should correspond rather closely to the number of
families) per tractor is 2,177 for the smallest of the size categories,


whereas it is only 4 per tractor on the estates containing more than
2,500 hectares.
It also is possible to indicate with some precision the extent to
which the mechanization of agriculture varies from department to
department. See Table 4 and Figure 2. This variation is tremen-


Number of
Size of dwellings or
explotaciones Number of Number of households
(hectares) dwellings tractors per tractor
Less than 0.5 154,599 71 2,177
0.5- 0.9 112,628 150 751
1.0- 1.9 171,641 353 486
2.0- 2.9 113,327 208 545
3.0- 3.9 94,823 214 443
4.0- 4.9 62,199 148 420
5.0- 9.9 194,738 762 256
10.0- 19.9 142,691 1,054 135
20.0- 29.9 58,676 728 81
30.0- 39.9 36,369 600 61
40.0- 49.9 22,822 477 48
50.0- 99.9 59,228 1,920 31
100.0- 199.9 37,637 2,242 17
200.0- 499.9 27,670 2,540 11
500.0- 999.9 11,191 1,705 7
1,000.0-2,499.9 6,516 1,380 5
2,500.0-over 3,187 799 4
Total 1,309,942 15,361 85

*Source: Compiled and computed from data in Departamento Administrativo
Nacional de Estadistica, "Resumen Nacional (Segunda Parte)," Directorio
Nacional de Explotaciones Agropecuarias (Censo Agropecuario), 1960, BogotA:
Multilith Estadinal, 1964, pp. 56 and 59.

dous, or from only one tractor for each 503 dwellings or families
in the rugged terrain of Antioquia to one tractor for each 20 dwell-
ings in the department of El Valle del Cauca. Mechanized farm-
ing likewise has developed slowly in the cool and heavily popula-
ted uplands of the departments of Santander, BoyacA, and Narifio,
while it is keeping pace with the rhythm of change in El Valle del
Cauca, in departments such as AtlAntico (on the Caribbean coastal


plain), and in Meta (to the east of the Andes). Furthermore, in
the departments which include parts of the plains in the upper
Magdalena Valley, that is in Tolima, Huila, and Cundinamarca,
where cotton is king, and on the Savanna of Bogota (also in
Cundinamarca), the adoption of modern methods for cultivating
the soil is making rapid headway. Finally, in other portions of the


Number of
Number of dwellings Number of households
Department or households tractors per tractor
Total 1,309,942 15,361 85
Antioquia 171,604 341 503
Atlintico 6,935 236 29
Bolivar 61,752 795 78
Boyaca 192,324 751 256
Caldas 89,593 359 250
Cauca 78,830 626 126
C6rdoba 56,723 863 66
Cundinamarca 167,652 3,036 55
Huila 36,275 511 71
Magdalena 61,289 1,340 46
Meta 15,145 523 29
Narifio 87,556 263 333
Norte de Santander 43,993 187 235
Santander 102,935 290 355
Tolima 75,290 2,203 34
Valle del Cauca 62,046 3,037 20

*Source: Compiled and computed from data in Departamento Administrativo
Nacional de Estadistica, "Resumen Nacional (Segunda Parte)," Directorio
Nacional de Explotaciones Agropecuarias (Censo Agropecuario), 1960, BogotA:
Multilith Estadinal, 1964, pp. 33 and 35.

northern coastal plain, or more specifically in the departments of
Magdalena, C6rdoba, and Bolivar, the tractor presently is being
used extensively in the radical transformation of large areas tra-
ditionally devoted to grazing into huge plantations of cotton, sugar
cane, and rice.
Other useful information relating to the distribution of tractors
and of the system of agriculture of which these form the core or
integrating feature, may be secured from a study of the extent to
which these machines have found places for themselves on the


fincas and plantations of the various municipios or counties into

which the departments are subdivided. See Table V and Figure 2.

These materials enable us to see that in the year 1960 more than


.. '

0 O ro f ot _

S o o ,. o N
0 oo

.. .. .... .
0N P. o ..... 0" -0 0 n
' .' ., ' ;

.N *

O' -CTRO om "
e -- C10 O "
* "ti-4* *
* "10! il lt -sm s *

FIGURE 2.-The Distribution of the Tractors Owned by Agricultural Producers
in Colombia, 1960, by Municipios.

half (58 per cent) of all the municipios in the country had at least
one tractor in use on its farms. Furthermore, with the data pre-
sented as they are in Figure 2, we may ascertain precisely the
parts of Colombia in which the use of the tractor already is a
reality and those in which its benefits are reserved for the future.
Finally, it is interesting to note exactly in which municipios the


Municipios in which tractors
Total number were reported
Department of municipios Number Per cent
Total 824 480 58
Antioquia 102 89 38
AtlAntico 21 21 100
Bolivar 48 43 100
BoyacA 123 84 28
Caldas 47 24 51
Cauca 33 19 58
C6rdoba 21 21 100
Cundinamarca 114 74 65
Huila 33 27 82
Magdalena 30 28 93
Meta 13 12 92
Narifio 49 27 55
Norte de Santander 35 13 37
Santander 75 31 41
Tolima 43 33 77
Valle del Cauca 42 34 81

*Source: Compiled and computed from "Resumen Nacional," Directorio
Nacional de Explotaciones Agropecuarias (Censo Agropecuario), 1960, BogotA:
Multilith Estadinal, 1962, pp. 23-91.

mechanized system of agriculture is most advanced. In this con-
nection the most striking case of all is that of the municipio of
Palmira in the department of El Valle del Cauca, seat of the
famed sugar-cane plantation called "La Manuelita," whose agricul-
tural enterprises in 1960 were making use of more tractors than
those in the entire areas of six of the sixteen departments into
which Colombia is subdivided. See Tables IV and VI. Even the
agricultural producers of the small municipio of Candelaria in El



Number of Resident agricultural
Municipio and department tractors population

Palmira, Valle del Cauca 501 21,482
Espinal, Tolima 403 12,414
Candelaria, Valle del Cauca 349 10,885
El Cerrito, Valle del Cauca 313 8,261
Agustin Codazzi, Magdalena 295 6,916
Armero, Tolima 278 6,951
Guamo, Tolima 270 19,808
Aracataca, Magdalena 204 10,475
Villavicencio, Meta 190 12,289
Pradera, Valle del Cauca 182 7,986
Tulila, Valle del Cauca 181 18,148
Calota, Cauca 150 14,236
Purificaci6n, Tolima 149 19,581
Guacari, Valle del Cauca 146 6,002
Jamundi, Valle del Cauca 141 14,081
Monteria, C6rdoba 138 48,076
La Dorada, Caldas 138 4,037
Florida, Valle del Cauca 135 6,593
Miranda, Cauca 128 6,443
Tunja, BoyacA 128 20,889
Valledupar, Magdalena 126 32,267
Ibague, Tolima 123 31,898
Ambalema, Tolima 118 1,113
LUrida, Tolima 114 4,142
Ginebra, Valle del Cauca 99 3,818
Cucuti, Norte de Santander 98 16,853
Cienaga, Magdalena 97 25,469
Santander, Cauca 94 19,577
Flandes, Tolima 92 3,086
Cali, Valle del Cauca 91 14,601
Buga, Valle del Cauca 86 8,663
Corinto, Cauca 85 11,916
Pasto, Narifio 81 29,416
Robles, Magdalena 79 10,140
Ortega, Tolima 78 19,528
Carmen de Corupa, Cundinamarca 78 7,942
Alvarado, Tolima 77 5,352
Piedecuesta, Santander 77 9,235
Campo Alegre, Huila 75 5,536
Corozal, Bolivar 75 17,379

*Source: Same as Table 5.

Valle del Cauca, with an agricultural population of only 10,855,
were using at the time of the census of 1960 more tractors (349)
than those of the famed department of Antioquia, with an agri-
cultural population of 964,710 and only 341 tractors. Table VI gives
the data for the 40 municipios in Colombia in which the farmers
of the small political subdivision involved were using at least 75

In conclusion, we should see in the rapid development of the
mechanized system of agriculture in Colombia the portents of even
greater changes in the traditional and dominant social system than
those that have occurred during the last two or three decades.
The skilled worker who is trained to handle tractors, other ma-
chines, and modern agricultural implements is a very different
human type than the peon, arrendatario, or conuquero, of the tra-
ditional fincas and haciendas. The skilled and demanding activities
of the worker who drives and keeps in working order the tractor,
truck, and so on, require specialized training in which mental
activities and the capacity to take responsibility and make deci-
sions are indispensable. Often such an employee must know more
about machinery and mechanics and even the processes of agri-
culture than the landowner, the administrator in charge of the
finca, and any kind of a driver, overseer, or gang boss. These
comments are intended to indicate that by itself the transforma-
tion of a few large pastoral estates into mechanized plantations
is putting in march vast changes in the mentality, aspirations, and
power of some of the campesinos. There should follow pressures
for a genuine agrarian reform on a large scale to bring about a
substantial redistribution of the property rights to and control of
the land. It may be, at long last, that Colombia will accomplish
the long-time objectives of some of its important leaders of a mid-
dle class of owners of family-sized farms and a social system that is
similar to those of such countries as England, France, Denmark,
Switzerland, West Germany, Holland, Canada, and the United


O ne hardly need mention that the broad acreages throughout
Latin America which are still awaiting the fructifying effects
of man's labor offer unequaled opportunities for rural social plan-
ning in all its aspects.* Less well known, however, is the extent
to which social scientists and government officials in the various
countries are arising to the occasion and applying in their work
the best that has been learned through the comparative study of
rural social organization in various parts of the world.1 Apparently
there is as yet no general study of the forms of settlement, systems
of land surveys, patterns of land tenure, and so forth, which are
being utilized in the new settlements, most of which are spontane-
ous and a few of which are planned, that are being established on
the public domain or on lands that once vegetated in large lati-
fundia. But from experience, I can indicate that such develop-
ment in many of the countries (Argentina, Brazil, Colombia,
Mexico, Uruguay and Venezuela, to mention only six) are deserv-
ing of the most careful study.
The major purpose here is to call attention to the opportunity
presented, in the present stage of our knowledge, for a unique step
forward in the planning of new rural communities in certain fa-
vored parts of the Latin American area. Specifically it is suggested
that in certain areas where the topography is favorable the circu-
lar variety of the line village type of settlement (which has been
developed successfully in Israel) be combined with the hexagonal
system of land surveys once proposed by E. Deville, Thomas
Adams, and their colleagues in Canada's Department of Conserva-
"The original version of this paper in Spanish was published in the Revista
Mexicana de Sociologia, Afio XXII, No. 2 (May-August, 1960), pp. 441-47.
1. For a general survey of these aspects of rural social organization see T.
Lynn Smith, The Sociology of Rural Life, 3rd ed., New York: Harper and
Brothers, 1953, Part III.

Those who plan the physical layouts of rural settlements neces-
sarily must select one of the three principal forms of settlement
or some combination of two or more of the basic types. The same
is true of those who without any particular thought about the
resulting social patterns participate in the spontaneous occupation
of a new area. This is to say that the choice is between the village
type of settlement, scattered farmsteads, or line villages of the kind
the French have established in their homeland, in Canada, in
Louisiana, and other parts of the world. The village type of settle-
ment is one in which the homes of the farmers are clustered to-
gether in a village or town with the agriculturists commuting daily
to their fields in the surrounding area. It is almost universal in Asia
and is used considerably in many parts of Europe and in such
American countries as Mexico, Peru, and Bolivia. Scattered farm-
steads, on the other hand, are those in which each farm home is
located amid the fields pertaining to the farmstead usually at some
distance from all except a few of the other residences in the rural
community. This type of settlement prevails in many parts of
Europe and is the typical one in such countries as the United
States, Canada, Brazil, Colombia and Argentina. The third possi-
bility, the line village type of settlement, requires that agricultural
holdings be long in comparison with their width, that the farms
be laid off side by side, and that all the farm homes be located at
the same end of the strips of land which usually front on a stream
or a road. As mentioned above this cultural form has been diffused
widely by French settlers, but it also is found in Southern Brazil
and a few other places in which the French influence is not the
responsible factor.
If one attempts to evaluate the social and economic advantages
and disadvantages of the three principal settlement types some
very interesting conclusions emerge. In general the social advan-
tages of the village type of settlement stand out as do the farm
management advantages of scattered farmsteads. The economics of
transportation seem to favor the village. In all aspects, however,
line village settlements occupy an intermediate position. They
achieve most of the social and transportation advantages of village
settlements and most of the farm management advantages of scat-
tered farmsteads without the most serious social and economic

disadvantages of either. For this reason, in the planning of new
settlements unless topographical features are too unfavorable or
unless the health problem is all important, I recommend the line
village type of settlement.
Particularly deserving of attention for possible use in areas in
which the terrain is fairly level is the circular type of the line
village form of settlement that has been employed by the Jewish
settlers in some parts of Israel. See Figure 3. In these cases a
circular street several hundred yards in diameter forms the core of
the community. Within the circle is space for religious and other
community buildings, playgrounds, and so forth. The farms front
on the circle and extend back like the spaces between the spokes
of a wheel to achieve the desired area. All homes are built at the
narrow end of the wedge-shaped farmsteads, so that all face upon
the community center. As actually used today in Israel this cir-
cular type of the line village type of settlement represents the most
highly rationalized manner so far devised by mankind for arrang-
ing an agricultural population on the land. With or without an
equally rational system of surveys for dividing the land among the
farm families it deserves emulation widely wherever new rural
settlements are being planned and established.

The systems, or lack of them, which mankind have used to
establish the boundaries between agricultural holdings rarely en-
title men to designate themselves as homo sapiens. The ancient
Egyptians are one exception to this rule and those who have
benefited by the wisdom Thomas Jefferson displayed in this re-
spect are another. But generally speaking defective systems of
surveying and describing titles to agricultural lands have been
among the most acute and chronic causes of the disputes, enmities,
lawsuits, and feuds which have plagued rural communities in most
parts of the world. The Latin American countries all have suffered
and continue to suffer because of the defective nature of the sur-
veys used in dividing the land among the settlers.
In brief, an adequate system of surveys must insure that the
limits or boundaries of each and every farm are definite, determi-
nate, and permanent. When, as is almost universal throughout
Latin America, each description of the area involved must include
the phrase "mAs o menos", that is "more or less," the surveys cer-

FIGURE 3.-Nahalal Israel, Depicting the Circular Line Village Pattern of Settlement. (Courtesy United Israel Appeal.)

tainly are not definite. In many cases they likewise are not de-
terminate. The description of the property is not adequate to
enable a surveyor to run all the property lines. Finally, since beds
of streams, "arroyos," stones, trees and other movable or perishable
objects are used to describe the limits, the boundaries are not
fixed permanently. Jefferson, by basing his system of surveys upon
the degrees of latitude and longitude, made certain that each farm
surveyed in accordance with his plan would have boundaries that
were definite, determinate, and permanent. He also made certain
that it would be possible to give a brief, complete, and accurate
title to each tract of ground which was alienated from the public
domain of the United States from 1785 on. (The fact that the farms
surveyed under this system tended to be square is a defect that
need not concern us here and that need not be part and parcel
of an equally definite, determinate, and permanent system of sur-
veying land.)
The defects of the square farmsteads and the wide separation
of farm homes from one another which prevailed under the check-
erboard system of surveys of the United States and in Canada
(which has borrowed the system almost without change) eventual-
ly gave rise to some highly stimulating thinking on the part of E.
Deville, Thomas Adams, and their colleagues in Canada's Depart-
ment of Conservation. In brief Deville and Adams proposed that
the land be surveyed into hexagons containing 1920 acres apiece;
that each of these be subdivided into twelve 160-acre triangles,
and that the twelve farm homes all be constructed near one
another in the center of the hexagon, each at the apex of the
triangular farm to which it pertained. See Figure 4. Hexagons are,
of course, just as suitable as squares for exactly dividing any area
into equal sections.

There are in Latin America many broad expanses of relatively
level lands still awaiting occupation by agricultural families. The
circular type of the line village pattern of settlement deserves to
be experimented with in many of the countries concerned. The
establishment of definite, determinate, and permanent systems of
surveys for these and other parts of the public domain is essential.
Now that knowledge is readily available about the alternatives to
the expensive and defective ways presently used for surveying and

deeding the land it will be difficult for those who have the respon-
sibility in the various countries to escape the condemnation of
history unless the changes are attempted. The officials of the
country who will, under appropriate condition, attempt to com-
bine the circular type of the line village form of settlement and

FIGURE 4.-Diagram of a Hexagonal System of Land Division, After a Design
by Dr. E. Deville in Thomas Adams, Rural Planning and Development,
Ottawa: Commission of Conservation, 1917, facing p. 259.

Deville and Adams' proposed hexagonal system of land division,
stand to gain an enduring place in the history of their country.
It should be emphasized, of course, that both the size of the hexa-
gons and the number of farms per hexagon are variables which
should be determined by the type of farming involved, the size
of the grants being made to the settlers, and other pertinent fac-


FIGURE 5.-Diagram Illustrating the Possibility of Combining the Circular
Line Village Pattern of Settlement and the Hexagonal Pattern of Land Divi-

tors in the local situation. Figure 5 is presented merely for illus-
trative purposes. It might very well be the type pattern in situ-
ations in which intensive farming (dairying, the cultivation of
sugar cane, growing of bananas, the planting of cacao, etc.) makes
a farm of 25 hectares adequate for the needs of a typical farm


S ociology is the science most deeply involved in the process of
community development, although the discipline itself neither
has nor should have the responsibility for inducing, promoting,
and directing community development activities.* In this respect
the role of sociology in connection with the process of community
development is almost exactly comparable with that of each of the
following disciplines in relation to the practices with which it is
linked in the following enumeration: physiology and medicine;
anatomy and surgery; economics and banking or commerce; agron-
omy and farming; chemistry and paper making; mathematics and
space travel; and geology and the extraction of petroleum. This is
to say that sociology is the discipline largely responsible for the
study of the community in its dynamic as well as its static or
structural aspects; and that those responsible for planning, stimu-
lating, guiding, and supervising directed programs of social change
in communities and other localities are ill-advised unless they make
every effort to secure and make use of the knowledge sociologists
have secured and organized with respect to the basic cells (com-
munities) of which societies are constituted.
The study of the community is an important and integral part
of the science called sociology which deals primarily with the col-
lective aspects of human behavior. Historically this has been es-
pecially true of that substantial sub-field of the general discipline
which is devoted to the rural features of human existence, i.e.,
rural sociology or the sociology of rural life. But it also is important
in the other portion of the dichotomy, or the sociology of urban
life. As a matter of fact, to a very significant degree the birth,
growth, and development of rural sociology as a scientific discipline
was brought about by the studies of specific communities made by
pioneer sociologists such as James M. Williams, Warren H. Wilson,
'The original version of this study in Spanish was published as La Sociolo-
gia y el Proceso de Desarrollo de la Comunidad, Documentos T6cnicos, UP
Series H/VII, 20.2, Washington: Pan American Union, March, 1964, pp. 1-8.


Newell L. Sims, Charles J. Galpin, Dwight Sanderson, Edmund
deS. Brunner, Carl C. Taylor, and Carle C. Zimmerman.' In addition
in the so-called underdeveloped sections of the earth, the study of
specific rural communities has played a major role in awakening
and promoting interest in the modern pragmatic and empirical
sociology that presently is making considerable progress in those
parts of the world. These studies are the ones which have most to
offer those in charge of community development projects in Latin
America, Africa, and India and other parts of Asia.2
Studies of portions of the urban community, including some that
have embraced the entire city which forms the nucleus of such a
community, also have contributed greatly to the development of
modern sociology. Among these the long series of studies at the
University of Chicago which were conducted through the stimulus
of and sometimes under the direction of Dr. Robert E. Park are
most deserving of mention.3 It must be admitted, however, that
although "urban community studies" are numerous, few, very few
of them indeed, have attempted to deal with those parts of the

1. For general exposition of this aspect of the development of rural
sociology, see T. Lynn Smith, Rural Sociology: A Trend Report and Bibliog-
raphy, in Current Sociology, Vol. VI, 1957, pp. 5-75. See also James M. Wil-
liams, An American Town: a Sociological Study, New York: James Dempster
Printing Co., 1906; Warren H. Wilson, Quaker Hill; a Sociological Study, New
York: privately printed, 1908; Newell L. Sims, A Hoosier Village: Socio-
logical Study with Special Reference to Social Causation, New York: Colum-
bia University, 1912; Charles J. Galpin, The Social Anatomy of an Agricul-
tural Community, Madison: Wisconsin Agricultural Experiment Station, 1915;
Dwight Sanderson, The Farmer and His Community, New York: Harcourt,
Brace & Co., 1922;' Dwight Sanderson, Locating the Rural Community,
Ithaca, New York: Cornell University, 1920; Edmund deS. Brunner, Village
Communities, New York: Doubleday, Doran & Co., 1927; and Carle C.
Zimmerman and Carl C. Taylor, A Study of Primary Groups in Wake County,
N. C., Raleigh: North Carolina Agricultural Experiment Station, 1922.
2. See, for example, T. Lynn Smith, Justo Diaz Rodriguez, and Luis Roberto
Garcia, Tabio: Estudio de la Organizacidn Social Rural Bogota: Ministcrio de
la Economia Nacional, 1944; Olen E. Leonard, Pichilingue: A Study of Rural
Life in Coastal Ecuador, Washington: Office of Foreign Agricultural Relations,
1947; JoSo Gongalves de Souza, "Relaqces do Homem com a Terra em 4
Comunidades Rurais do Medio Sdo Francisco," Boletim da Sociedade Bras-
ileira, de Geografia, No. 1 (1950); Orlando Fals-Borda, Peasant Society in the
Colombian Andes, Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1955; Fernando
Camara, Chacaltianguis: Comunidad Rural en la Ribera del Papaloapan,
Vera Cruz, Mexico: Gobierno del Estado, 1952; and Irwin T. Sanders,
Balkan Village, Lexington, Kentucky: University of Kentucky Press, 1949.
3. See particularly Robert E. Park and Ernest W. Burgess, The City,
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1925.


community which lie beyond the city limits as well as the nucleus
of a metropolitan or an urban community.
It seems desirable to point out early in this discussion that the
term "community study" which has been widely used in recent
decades is employed by various sociologists and anthropologists to
denote two very different types of investigations. One of these, and
the one that is used in the preparation of these pages, is concerned
with the specific nature of the social group that properly may be
classified as a community. It seeks to isolate and analyze communi-
ty phenomena as such, and it is not primarily concerned with
various social and cultural matters as these appear in localities of
various types including the community. The second, which prob-
ably would be more properly designated as the "study of society
in miniature," is devoted mainly to the study of the entire pattern
of social and cultural relationships as these occur in one small
segment of human society. In such studies as a general rule one
could substitute for the term community a word such as locality,
or the proper name of the place being studied, or even county,
municipio, or any other designation for a small segment of the
earth's territory, without changing in any way the nature of the
investigation or of the findings. Indeed in some cases those who
have conducted the so-called community studies have not even
taken the steps necessary in order to determine whether or not
the locality they were investigating actually was entitled to be
designated as a community. This, of course, does not necessarily
diminish the value of their discoveries with respect to a society in
miniature, but it does raise an important question about the propri-
ety of using the word community as the key one in the designation
of such investigations.

Because of the great variety of concepts or definitions which
are denoted as community, even by some of those engaged in
community development programs, it is of the utmost importance
that an acceptable definition of this basic term be in the minds
of those engaged in such work. This is one of the ways in which
sociology as such can be most helpful to those engaged in com-
munity development programs. Because the particular locality
group which he designates as a community is one of the key con-
cepts used by the sociologist he is the one most specifically equip-


ped to help others attain the necessary understanding of the nature
and definition of this highly important social unit. In this connec-
tion the present writer can summarize some of the more basic of
the relevant matters as follows.
Charles J. Galpin,4 one of the more important of the "founding
fathers" of rural sociology, was among the first to demonstrate the
existence of a genuine rural community in the United States and
to develop a practical method for delineating its boundaries. The
stimulus he gave did much to place community studies in the
forefront as sociology and rural sociology developed in the United
States. His classical study of Walworth County, Wisconsin, reveal-
ed the basic locality groupings in the county, and demonstrated a
method for determining their geographical limits. On the basis of
this study came the proposition that the rural community in the
United States consists of two essential parts: (1) a village nucleus,
and (2) a surrounding zone of open country whose inhabitants
are dependent upon the village for trade, financial, social, recre-
ational, and other services. As supplemented and modified by the
results of studies by Sanderson and his associates,5 Zimmerman,"
Sanders and Ensminger,7 and many others, Galpin's concept and
methodology have proved to be among the most dynamic elements
in the development of rural sociology.
The following paragraphs sketch certain rather generally accept-
ed propositions pertinent to the subject as follows.8 In the first
place the rural community is one of the "natural areas" with which
the sociologist deals. Each rural community has specific physical
expression; it is small but a definite part of the earth's surface.

4. Op. cit.
5. See particularly, Dwight Sanderson, The Rural Community, Boston:
Ginn and Company, 1932; and Dwight Sanderson, Rural Social and Economic
Areas in Central New York, Cornell University Agricultural Experiment
Station Bulletin 614, Ithaca, 1934.
6. Carle C. Zimmerman, The Changing Community, New York: Harper and
Brothers, 1938.
7. Irwin T. Sanders and Douglas Ensminger, Alabama Rural Communities:
A Study of Chilton County, Alabama College Bulletin 136, Montevallo, 1940.
8. Among the writer's previous efforts along these lines are T. Lynn Smith,
The Sociology of Rural Life, 3rd ed., New York: Harper and Brothers,
1953, pp. 377-384; "The Role of the Community in American Rural Life,"
Journal of Educational Sociology, XIV, No. 7 (1941); and "Trends in Com-
munity Organization and Life," American Sociological Review, Vol. V, No. 3
(1940); and "The Rural Community with Special Reference to Latin America,"
Rural Sociology, Vol. 23, No. 1 (1958), pp. 52-67.

Even though its limits do not figure on the geographer's maps,
along with streams, divides, and other so-called natural phenom-
ena (this is a regrettable fact), its boundaries are indelibly stamped
upon the minds of the local inhabitants. Indeed they are the
limits that determine effectively the area of social participation,
mutual awareness and concern, and collective action of many
types. Hence, one should think of the community as a specific part
of world, national, or state territory in which all of the residents
realize that they are "in the same boat" and thereby are impelled
to efforts for the welfare of the group over and above those brought
forth in response to family and neighborhood responsibilities and
The rural community is also an area of social interaction, one
member of a general category of "locality groups." It differs in
some fundamental ways, however, from other important locality
groups such as the family and the neighborhood. To begin with it
is larger than either of these, and indeed it may encompass hun-
dreds of families and a dozen neighborhoods. Whereas the family
and the neighborhood are the basic examples of primary groups,
i.e., those characterized by intimate, face-to-face association and of
primary importance in the formation of personality,9 the communi-
ty may include persons and families who are unknown to one
another. In fact some of the families and neighborhoods helping
constitute the community unit may even be openly hostile to one
another. The community frequently consists of a cluster of neigh-
borhoods. It follows, of course, that the persons comprising a spe-
cific rural community may be highly diverse in their social char-
acteristics, and highly individualistic in many of their activities.
They may have very little in common with one another except the
fact that they all reside in one specific fragment of territory,
depend upon its institutions and agencies for the satisfaction of
their basic needs, and participate for better or worse in the vicis-
situdes of its existence.
Where the village type of settlement prevails, that is where the
farm homes are grouped together into villages or hamlets, as is
common in Mexico, Ecuador, and Peru, as well as in most of
Asia and much of Europe, the limits of the rural community are
obvious to almost anyone. It is easy to see their relationships to
9. Cf. Charles H. Cooley, Social Organization, New York: Charles Scrib-
ner's Sons, 1925, p. 23.

local political subdivisions of the province or state. But in coun-
tries, such as the United States, Canada, Brazil, Colombia, and
Argentina, in which the homesteads are widely dispersed through-
out the fields, with the dwelling of each family in close proximity
to the land tilled by its members, the boundaries of the rural
community are not easily distinguished. In such cases there is con-
siderable likelihood that the limits of political subdivisions, tax
districts, school attendance areas, and other significant boundaries
will cut directly through the middle of communities and other
"natural groupings." Near my home in Florida, for example, there
is one rural community in which the central nucleus itself is split
into halves by the line which separates two counties, and in which
the surrounding trade and service basin is divided among three
counties. In Colombia, too, a good example of the lack of corre-
spondence between community boundaries and political bounda-
ries appeared in the study of the municipio of Tabio on the Savanna
of BogotA. Families living in the northern portions of this municipio
were shown to be dependent upon the small seat of the municipio
for religious, educational, and political purposes; but they were
going for purposes of marketing and trade to Zipaquira, the much
larger seat of an adjacent municipio.10 However, in some parts of
the United States, such as the state of Texas, and in some portions
of Latin America, such as the Brazilian state of STo Paulo, the
boundaries of the small counties or municipios have been drawn in
such a manner that they have permitted the boundaries of the
community to adjust themselves fairly well to the political bound-
aries. In such places the county or municipio corresponds rather
closely to the natural group we call the rural community.
MacIver's statement that "any circle of people who live together,
who belong together, so that they share, not this or that particular
interest, but a whole set of interests wide enough and complete
enough to include their lives in a community,"" adequately de-
scribes other essential features of the community. To meet such
criteria any rural community must provide the basic institutions
needed to care for the domestic, economic, educational, political
and governmental, religious, recreational, health, and welfare
needs of its members. All or almost all the basic needs of its

10. Smith, Diaz Rodriquez, and Garcia, op. cit., pp. 36-37.
11. R. M. Maclver, Society: A Textbook of Sociology, New York: R. Long
and R. R. Smith, Inc., 1937, pp. 9-10.

inhabitants may be satisfied within the boundaries of a genuine

Another important contribution that the discipline of sociology
can make to community development programs has to do with the
determination of the nature of and the measurement of the extent
of desired and directed social changes actually taking place. Only
by a comparison of the situation at a given time and the assessment
of the amount of change toward established goals can we be sure
that a process of development actually is going on, and the sociolo-
gist is the one equipped to study such changes in those societies
in miniature which we designate as communities. This involves
the construction, standardization, and application of scales and
other measuring devices which can be used to determine the score
or standing of a given locality group at one point in time; and then,
by repetition of the tests, the extent to which changes have or
have not taken place. Two or more applications of such a com-
munity examination, and careful analysis of the scores are neces-
sary in order to determine on an objective basis the nature, di-
rection, and amount of change or development.
Theoretically the construction and standardization of a scale or
scales (any kind of a score card) such as those just mentioned is
a comparatively simple task. It is by no means as difficult as the
work of devising measures of attitudes, making up social status
scales, determining with precision the level of living, or the devel-
oping of personality scales. It must be indicated, however, that
the assumptions that must be made in the development of such
tests, or even the values underlying such assumptions prevailing
during the second half of the twentieth century, have received
comparatively little attention. Nevertheless some years ago I pro-
posed certain fundamental propositions which I believe are directly
and closely related to the strength or weakness of a specific com-
munity; it would be simple for a sociologist to construct and ap-
ply a community score card based upon them. This by successive
applications could supply a basis for determining the score or
standing of various communities at a given date, and the nature
and direction of change in one or more communities between the
time of the first application and one or more subsequent points in
time. The propositions referred to and a bit of the rationale re-


lated to the pertinency and importance of each are as follows.
Proposition 1.-A rural community is strong when all its inhab-
itants have had their human capacities and abilities developed to
levels approximating their potentialities. In the fundamental rural
industry of farming, this is most nearly attained when each person
who gains a livelihood from agriculture is able to perform simul-
taneously all three of the basic economic functions, i.e., those of
laborer, manager or entrepreneur, and capitalist, with a skill ap-
proaching that he might acquire under the most favorable circum-
Dexterity in the use of tools, implements, equipment, and
machinery is one of the things which distinguishes human beings
from other members of the animal kingdom. The ability to main-
tain, train, pack, harness, hitch, and direct other animals to share
his burdens, ease his labor, and provide more abundantly the milk,
eggs, meat, and other animal products needed in his diet is another.
Both of these are essential in the efficient performance of the
essential labor function upon which the agricultural or other rural
mode of existence is based. In the strong rural community, all the
members are exercising them to the utmost: over-population or
underemployment, outmoded tools and equipment, servitude to es-
tablished routines of work, and a host of other factors do not
dissipate human energy and destroy the efficiency of labor in the
productive process. Man also is endowed with an original nature
which enables him to acquire a vast range of managerial and
entrepreneurial skills. These peculiarly human abilities become
central features in the specific personality. In the strong rural
community they are being exercised by all the heads of house-
holds and children are being reared who expect to perform them as
a matter of course. Finally, the average person is capable of de-
veloping to a considerable extent all of the attitudes and behavior
patterns of the proprietor. Thrift, saving, the postponement of the
pleasures of immediate consumption in the hope of securing great-
er satisfactions later on, and all the other features that lead to the
accumulation and exercise of property rights, are possessed to a
high degree by the average person in thousands of rural communi-
ties in many parts of the world. When the rural community is
strong the personality of the ordinary citizen is highly developed
in the performance of the managerial and proprietorial functions
as well as in the execution of the essential manual labor which,


it should be emphasized, he considers to be honorable and up-
lifting. In such a community the masses of the people are not
denied (by the nature of the class system, the manner in which
the ownership and control of the land is distributed, absentee
landlordship, the lack of opportunities for vocational and other
types of education, and the dead weight of custom) the privilege
of developing fully all three of these fundamental features of
Proposition 2.-A rural community is strong when all of its in-
habitants are enjoying levels and standards of living that are high
relative to the potentialities of the area in which they live. This is
highly dependent upon the factors discussed in connection with the
preceding proposition. In addition to these, however, certain others
should be mentioned. These include a population that is not in
excess of the "carrying capacity" of the area, ways of extracting a
living from the soil that minimize human toil while making gener-
ous inputs of capital and management, the freedom and intellec-
tual stimulations that produce high aspirations on the part of the
ordinary citizens, and an abundance of technical and scientific in-
formation readily available to the members of the average farm
Proposition 3.-A rural community is strong when its institutions
are organized and functioning in a manner that provides the full-
est satisfactions for the needs of its members, insures that the
oncoming generation will develop full and well-rounded personali-
ties, and has effectively operating the agencies needed to provide
adequately for the care and well-being of all those who for any
reason are unable to care for themselves. In addition to the things
mentioned above, the strong community, in order to satisfy this
criterion, must possess a strong family organization functioning
effectively as a welfare agency and basic educational institution,
and in addition it must have a school system and a set of welfare
services that will bear comparison with the best in any other rural
or urban society. Fortunately, since the basic ingredients needed
for the organization of educational and welfare services are not
things from the outside but merely the effective pooling and man-
agement of local efforts, with adequate care and guidance they
are readily available to any rural community in any part of the


Those working in the discipline of sociology also are in a po-
sition to identify and measure to some extent the forces which
are responsible for retarded community development in various
parts of the world; and in doing this they are in position to assist
materially those who are responsible for planning programs that
will overcome the effects of such barriers and make possible the
development of strong, virile communities in various parts of the
world. Therefore let us examine briefly some of the principal causes
of weak community organization or arrested community develop-
ment. As is the case with most social and economic equations the
causal situation is extremely complex. Many factors are almost in-
extricably bound together in the causative complexes that are
responsible for retarded community development in the United
States, Latin America, and other parts of the world. Nevertheless,
certain of these factors are so intimately associated with debility
on the part of the rural community that one may be fairly certain
they are involved in the complex which produces community atro-
phy or retardation. Almost without exception in areas in which the
rural community is weak, they will be found in pronounced degree,
and wherever they have been allowed to exert any considerable
influence, rural community organization is almost sure to be found
in a condition of extreme backwardness.
Most of these factors have been touched upon incidentally in
the preceding pages and to some extent they are overlapping,
but it is well to single each of them out for a little special consider-
ation. First in order, as it usually is in importance, is the concen-
tration of ownership and control of the land and the consequent
reduction of the masses of the people to the status of mere agri-
cultural laborers. Where a favored few own and control the bulk
of the best lands, as is true in several parts of the United States
and in many portions of Latin America not to mention other
parts of the world the bulk of the population is debased to and
maintained in positions at the very bottom of the social scale. This
means that they are deprived of any opportunity to exercise the
managerial and proprietorial functions, and at best they can re-
ceive no more than the meager rewards attributed to their poorly
utilized toil. It means also that they are unable to transmit to
their children any attitudes, aptitudes, and skills other than those
involved in the routinary performance, under the watchful eye of


an overseer, of a few types of manual labor. In some cases the
lordly masters of the huge landed estates may, from humanistic or
other motives, set the welfare of their workers and their depend-
ents above all else and provide the opportunities and institutions
needed for developing the human qualities of the laborers. But
such cases are rare and they usually disappear as one generation of
landlords succeeds another. As a general rule the concentration in
a few hands of the ownership and control of the land means that
the bulk of the population is reduced to a level of mere creature
existence ard anything resembling a strong and satisfactory com-
munity life is absolutely impossible.
Closely related to the concentration of land ownership, as a fac-
tor in arrested community development, is the lack of control by
the people of the community themselves of the basic forces on
which their well-being is dependent. The system of large estates
is part and parcel of this lack of control. This is especially aggra-
vated when the landlords are absentees. Throughout Latin Ameri-
ca, as well as in many other parts of the globe, much of the land
is owned by a few people residing in state and national capitals
or other cities. Most of these landlords visit their estates only at
rare intervals. Although they secure the bulk of all that is pro-
duced within the community, over and above that required to
meet the bare creature needs of the workers, they make very small
contributions to the support of community institutions and agencies.
Because of the power they exercise at the national and state levels,
the people who live in the community are largely lacking in con-
trol over their own destinies. This is because wherever the owner-
ship of the land is concentrated in the hands of a few latifundistas,
the small group has a stranglehold upon the political and adminis-
trative life of the nation. They see to it that there are national
and state prohibitions to prevent the people in the local unit of
government from levying any significant tax upon the land, or
otherwise establishing an effective means whereby significant pro-
portions of the energy expended and products produced locally
are pooled for the support of schools, the building of roads and
bridges, the provision of health services, and so forth. Land be-
comes an asylum for capital, economic pressures do not insure its
economic utilization, and the workers and their families exist in
poverty, ignorance, misery, poor health, and actual hunger. Even
the church languishes in this type of community.


The lack of schools and other educational institutions, whatever
be the cause, is certainly one of the principal factors in weak
community development. As indicated above good schools rarely
are found in the districts afflicted by a concentration of land own-
ership and control, but they are missing from many other com-
munities as well. Irrespective of the cause, unless it possesses
adequate facilities freely available to all children in which they
may acquire the basic elements of a general education with con-
siderable training and drill in vocational subjects, no rural com-
munity can advance very far or become very strong. Also essential
for the fullest development is a rich set of extension services, li-
brary facilities, visual aids, and the other means to assist the adult
members of the community in keeping abreast of current knowl-
edge about technical agriculture, homemaking, and community
Another of the principal causes of retarded community develop-
ment throughout the world is the ineffective and inefficient ways
in which the bulk of the world's farmers are attempting to wrest a
living from the soil. After lengthy study and deliberation I am
convinced that in the 1960's, well along in the atomic age, at least
one half of the earth's agriculturists are dependent upon methods
of farming that are less effective than those being employed by
the Egyptians at the dawn of history.12 Latin America is one of the
parts of the globe in which crude, wasteful and labor-devouring
ways of extracting a living from the soil are most prevalent. Wher-
ever man's principal aids in his struggle with nature consist only of
the ax and fire, of the hoe, or even of the crude wooden plow
drawn by the lumbering ox, the factors of production are being
combined in a highly inefficient manner. Labor, the very life blood
of human beings, is being expended with abandon and manage-
ment and capital sparingly expended in the production process.
Production per man inevitably is very low. Under such circum-
stances the members of the rural community can never produce
enough to enable them to attain a standard and a level of living
that are anything except very low. In many cases the standard
and level of living within the community are still further depressed
because of the little actually produced a large share goes to the
owner of the land who infrequently is not an absentee landlord.
Finally, many rural communities make a poor showing due to
12. Consult Smith, Sociology of Rural Life, 3rd ed., Chapter XV.

the simple fact that the area in which they are located is over-
populated. With the existing state of knowledge of what consti-
tutes resources and how they may be used, there are more people
on the land than it can maintain at anything like a desirable level
of living. This is merely another way of saying that, even with labor
wasted with abandon, there is still much unemployment and un-
deremployment on the part of the rural workers. Some of the most
serious examples of this that have come to my attention are in the
old sugar producing sections of Bahia, Brazil, and sections of
Cundinamarca and Boyack, Colombia,13 but they probably are
matched in many other places. In the most extreme instances it
seems almost impossible that greater community lethargy could
have come into being.

Because of the current importance of community development
programs throughout Latin America and many other parts of the
world, it is well to include in this chapter a section dealing with
the various structural types of the rural community. This is the
case particularly because consciously or unconsciously all of those
engaged in colonization and resettlement programs must determine
the structural type of the community in which the lives of the
colonists or settlers are to be encompassed. The greater the extent
to which this can attain the rational and informed plane in which
such matters are handled in the settlement programs of Israel,
the better the colonization and settlement projects are likely to be
in Latin American countries and in Africa and the Asiatic countries
as well.14
From the structural point of view the rural communities of the
world may be grouped into two large categories or types: (1)
the village structural type; and (2) the service center-farmsteads
type. The first of these includes all those cases in which the com-
munity is made up of one or more villages or hamlets in which the

13. Cf. T. Lynn Smith, "Land Tenure and Soil Erosion in Colombia,"
Proceedings of the Inter-American Conference on Conservation of Renewable
Natural Resources, Washington: U. S. Department of State, 1949, p. 155.
14. The indispensable source of information about community development
programs in Israel is A. Ben-David, ed., International Farmers' Convention
in Israel, 1959, Jerusalem: The Government Press, 1960, and especially the
various papers prepared for the "Seminar on Land Settlement," which appear
on pp. 211-300.

agricultural families reside and which also contain the edifices in
which are located mercantile establishments, schools, churches, the
offices of professional men, and other institutions and services used
by the members of the community. The second includes all of the
cases in which the homes of the farm families are dispersed amid
the fields, pastures, and woodlands used by the members of the
community, with most of the farm residences being at some dis-
tance from the village or town which serves the commercial, cere-
monial, recreational, and other social and economic needs of those
belonging to the particular locality group.
From what has been said it should be evident that the structural
type of the community depends in a large measure upon the set-
tlement pattern that is in use in the society or portion of the
society of which it forms a part. Nevertheless it would be erroneous
to consider the settlement pattern as being synonomous with the
structural type of the community. The former has a much more
limited meaning than the latter. It refers merely to the spatial
relationships of the farmers' homes to one another and the spatial
relationships of the homes to the lands which are used for fields
and pastures."1 But this should not lead to the confusion of identi-
fying the structural types of the rural community with the more
simple and limited features involved in mere settlement types.
For the most part the village structural type of rural community
prevails wherever the village pattern of settlement is in use. This
pattern of settlement is characterized by the fact that all or most
of the farmers of the community live in homes that are located in
one or more village or hamlet units and in close proximity to the
churches, schools, commercial establishments, offices of professional
men, banks, newspapers, and other services available in the com-
munity. The members of the farm families commute daily to the
various parcels, scattered throughout the community's territory,
which they own or rent. Such things as open-country churches or
schools, or even a crossroads store, are hardly to be thought of in
such a setting. But it is important to note the line village of the
circular type, such as is to be found in some of the settlements in
Israel, also represents the village structural type of rural community
even though in these cases the village pattern of settlement is not

15. For a discussion and description of the three principal settlement
patterns, the village, the line village, and scattered farmsteads, see Smith,
The Sociology of Rural Life, Chapter X.


employed. In these Israeli settlements, it is essential to stress that
the home of each farm family is located on the land it uses (simi-
lar to the situation in the scattered farmstead type of settlement),
thus vitiating any thought that they might be classified as village
types of settlement.
It is also important to distinguish two sub-types of the village
structural type of rural community. In many parts of the world,
including the larger part of Mexico, the pattern is one in which all
of the services available in the community and practically all the
homes of the families making up the community are located in a
single village or town. Many of these are extremely small, so small
and also so slightly differentiated that often it is difficult to see
exactly wherein the locality group that qualifies as a community is
different from a neighborhood. This is to say that the personal re-
lationships are frequent, close and intimate, everyone knows
everyone else well, face-to-face social contacts are the rule, and
social differentiation is developed only to a slight degree. At the
other extreme many of these agricultural communities are very
large. There are many cases in which population centers having
as many as 5,000 or even 10,000 inhabitants are almost exclusively
residential centers for agricultural families which gain a livelihood
by cultivating the land within a radius of 10, 15, or even 20 miles
of the center. In many of these the nucleus of the community is
so large and the tributary area is so extensive that effective com-
binations of living and farming arrangements become extremely
complicated to say the least. When farmers must commute daily
between their residences in a population center and their fields
and pastures in the surrounding area, the point of diminishing re-
turns is quickly reached with respect to the distance that it is
socially and economically feasible to carry on such commuting. As
a result in some quarters doubt may arise as to whether it is
possible to make use of this structural type of the rural community
without the necessity, in order to get the size needed for the
maintenance of adequate social and economic institutions, of hav-
ing a community that includes too much territory to enable crop
and livestock enterprises to be carried on successfully.
Fortunately, however, the second sub-type of this structural pat-
tern provides a relatively easy way out of the dilemma. This
sub-type is in fairly common use in the Orient and it recently has
been consciously and deliberately established in some sections of

Israel. This sub-type of the village structural pattern is one in
which a large, central village is used as the location for all the
institutions and services needed by the residents of a modern com-
munity, and in which the other portions of the community consist
of a number of satellite villages which serve largely as residential
centers for farm families but which also contain a few such es-
sential institutions as churches or chapels, elementary schools, and
general stores. Because of the success with which this adaptation
of the village structural pattern has been used in Israel, it deserves
serious consideration by those in charge of colonization and other
agrarian reform programs in Latin America. It also offers a way by
which many already densely populated sections of the world, in
which the small village units seem to be one of the chief obstacles
to progress, may adjust to the larger and more diversified com-
munity patterns which seem to be demanded for successful living
in the second half of the twentieth century. Difficult as the changes
involved may be, they certainly are small in comparison with the
almost impossible task of changing completely the systems present-
ly prevailing in many areas.
The service center-farmsteads structural type of rural commu-
nity is the one commonly found in such countries as Canada, the
United States, Argentina, and Brazil. In all cases it consists of two
sharply differentiated parts: a nucleus of considerable size which
is essentially a commercial, ceremonial, institutional, and recrea-
tional center, and only to a limited extent a location for the homes
of those who engage directly in agricultural and stock-raising en-
terprises; and the surrounding zone of open country of considerable
size where live and work the farm families who depend to a
considerable extent upon the social and economic services avail-
able in the nucleus. This, of course, is the structural type of com-
munity that was studied and described by Dr. Charles J. Galpin in
his classical study of Walworth County, Wisconsin, the study which
did so much during the second decade of the twentieth century to
give form and substance to the emerging young science of rural
sociology. Where this type of community is found it is not unusual
for many of the schools, churches, stores, processing plants, and
other institutions which serve directly the agricultural population to
be located in the open country; and this is especially the case in
those sections of the world in which the line village pattern of set-
tlement is the manner employed for arranging the farm families on


the land. In all cases, however, most of the institutions and services
are located in the village or town which serves as the nucleus of
this structural type of the rural community.
The degree to which the open country portion of such a com-
munity is integrated with the nucleus depends upon a considerable
number of factors, of which the stage of social differentiation is by
no means the least important. Before good roads and rapid means
of transportation, such as the automobile, come into general use in
the rural sections of a country, the farm families in the area sur-
rounding a small trade and transportation center may be almost
exclusively dependent upon it for all of the goods and services not
directly available to them in the open country districts in which
they live. Later on, their loyalties, attachments, and patronage may
be divided among a considerable number of centers of varying
size, degrees of social differentiation, and distances from the farms
in question."6

In conclusion it seems advisable to comment briefly upon the
paucity of sociological terms that are available for use in denoting
the various locality groups that are in existence. These groups
include those that range in size and complexity from a small clus-
ter of families in a given neighborhood, at the one extreme, to the
great metropolitan community, at the other. As yet we have only
two concepts, neighborhood and the community, to apply to the
eight or ten X's in the tremendous range that is involved. Just a
little larger and more complex than the neighborhood, there is a
locality group whose members are integrated with the services of a
small hamlet at the crossroads. Its population is too diverse, its
members are not sufficiently in contact with one another, and those
residing in the locality are too much involved in several smaller
and mutually exclusive circles, for the group to qualify as a pri-
mary group. Therefore it is not entitled to be called a neighbor-
hood. On the other hand it definitely does not qualify as a com-
16. Cf. T. Lynn Smith, Farm Trade Centers in Louisiana, 1901-1931,
Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletin 234, Baton Rouge: Louisi-
ana Agricultural Experiment Station, 1933, pp. 54-55; Dwight Sanderson,
Rural Social and Economic Areas in Central New York, Cornell Agricultural
Experiment Station Bulletin No. 614, Ithaca, New York: Cornell Agricultural
Experiment Station, 1934, p. 95; and Smith, The Sociology of Rural Life,

munity. The institutions and services provided in the hamlet or in
other sections of the locality are too limited in range and too re-
stricted in number, and the inhabitants of the locality are too
strongly attached to other larger and more distant population cen-
ters for the satisfaction of the bulk of their social and economic
needs, for it to be designated even as a partial or incomplete com-
munity. It is merely an X, in a series in which the farm family
itself is X1, the neighborhood is X2, and the great metropolitan
community is X,. What may be called the rural community, the
social grouping that deserves to be designated as the rurban com-
munity, and the locality group which properly could be denoted
as an urban community are three other X's in this scale. Perhaps,
they might more accurately be thought of as three additional levels
of integration. They probably would correspond to X6, X7, and Xs
in the scale. This indication is made deliberately, for as pointed
out above, as social differentiation proceeds, the tendency is for the
loyalty and attachments of the individual farm family to be divided
among a number of population centers, at varying distances from
its home and it probably is by no means uncommon for a given
farm family to be integrated into a rural community at one level,
and into a rurban, urban, or even metropolitan community at a
other. In any case, since we have as yet only the term community
to apply to such a wide diversity of locality groups, it is essential
that the modifying adjectives employed be used with the utmost
thought and care. In order to distinguish between a rural com-
munity, a rurban community, and an urban community, I would
suggest the following. The rural community category should in-
clude all of those locality groups, large enough and complete
enough to qualify as communities, in which the trade and service
center constituting the nucleus of the community definitely is
directly dependent in all essential respects upon the trade and
patronage of the farmers who live in the open-country part of the
community. Thus agricultural activities are the dominating ones in
the rural community. The urban category should include all those
locality groups which qualify as communities in which the relative
importance of the urban features of the nucleus are approximately
equal to those of the agricultural activities of the open-country
part of the locality. In the rurban community the agricultural in-
terests of the group are approximately in balance with commerce,
transportation, manufacturing, and other non-agricultural activities.

Finally, the urban category, from the point of view used in this
chapter should include all of those integral locality groupings (and
not merely the portions within the corporate limits of the urban
centers) in which the farmers who live in the open-country dis-
tricts surrounding the cities definitely have their social and econom-
ic life intertwined with that of the people who live within the
urban center. In the urban community, however, agricultural in-
terests definitely do not dominate community affairs, nor are they
even approximately in balance with the non-agricultural interests
of the locality grouping. The needs and wishes of the people in
the farming area of an urban community definitely play a second-
ary role, or little or no role at all, in the determination of com-
munity policies and activities. When they form a part of an urban
community, the farmers in the zone surrounding the nucleus are
largely dependent upon their personal relationships with those who
manage certain mercantile establishments, with those who run
particular service agencies, with those who direct the activities of
specific institutions, and so on, for the services they need. They
personally are able to do little or nothing to influence directly the
various community services and agencies as such.
Within a given country at any time there is wide variation from
one part to another in the degree to which the society is in the
neighborhood, the rural community, or some other stage of social
organization. At the same time that in a given country the locality
groupings of all sizes, from the individual farm family to the urban
community, are being integrated thoroughly into a great metropoli-
tan community such as New York or Chicago, Rio de Janeiro or
Sdo Paulo, or Mexico City or Buenos Aires, there are other sec-
tions of the same country in which the rural community is still the
dominant locality group, and still others in which urban communi-
ties represent the maximum level of social integration. In fact in
the more remote and isolated sections of the country the neighbor-
hood may actually continue to be the fundamental locality group-
ing. But all of this will necessitate a great deal of study before the
science of sociology actually will be well prepared to play the role
that it should in the entire process of community development.


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Social Sciences

1. The Whigs of Florida, 1845-1854,
by H. J. Doherty, Jr.
2. Austrian Catholics and the Social
Question, 1918-1933, by A. Dia-
8. The Siege of St. Augustine in 1702,
by C. W. Arnade
4. New Light on Early and Medieval
Japanese Historiography, by J. A.
5. The Swiss Press and Foreign Af-
fairs in World War II, by F. H.
6. The American Militia: Decade of
Decision, 1789-1800, by J. K. Mahon
7. The Foundation of Jacques Mari-
tain's Political Philosophy, by H. Y.
8. Latin American Population Studies,
by T. L. Smith
9. Jacksonian Democracy on the Flor-
ida Frontier, by A. W. Thompson
10. Holman Versus Hughes: Extension
of Australian Commonwealth Pow-
ers, by C. Joyner
11. Welfare Economics and Subsidy
Programs, by M. Z. Kafoglis
12. Tribune of the Slavophiles: Kon-
stantin Aksakov, by E. Chmielewski
13. City Managers in Politics: An
Analysis of Manager Tenure and
Termination, by G. M. Kammerer,
C. D. Farris, J. M. DeGrove, and
A. B. Clubok
14. Recent Southern Economic De-
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Changing Structure of Employment,
by E. S. Dunn, Jr.
15. Sea Power and Chilean Independ-
ence, by D. E. Worcester
16. The Sherman Antitrust Act and
Foreign Trade, by A. Simmons

17. The Origins of Hamilton's Fiscal
Policies, by D. F. Swanson
18. Criminal Asylum in Anglo-Saxon
Law, by C. H. Riggs, Jr.
19. Colonia Baron Hirsch, A Jewish
Agricultural Colony in Argentina,
by M. D. Winsberg
20. Time Deposit in Present-day Com-
mercial Banking, by L. L. Crum
21. The Eastern Greenland Case in
Historical Perspective, by O. Svar-
22. Jacksonian Democracy and the
Historians, by A. A. Cave
23. The Rise of the American Chem-
istry Profession, 1850-1900, by E.
H. Beardsley
24. Aymara Communities and the
Bolivian Agrarian Reform, by W. E.
25. Conservatives in the Progressive
Era: The Taft Republicans of 1912,
by N. M. Wilensky
26. The Anglo-Norwegian Fisheries
Case of 1951 and the Changing
Law of the Territorial Sea, by T.
27. The Liquidity Structure of Firms
and Monetary Economics, by W. J.
Frazer, Jr.
28. Russo-Persian Commercial Rela-
tions, 1828-1914, by M. L. Entner
29. The Imperial Policy of Sir Robert
Borden, by H. A. Wilson
80. The Association of Income and
Educational Achievement, by R. L.
Lassiter, Jr.
31. The Relation of the People to the
Land in Southern Iraq, by F. Baali
32. The Price Theory of Value in
Public Finance, by D. R. Escarraz
33. The Process of Rural Develop-
ment in Latin America, by T. Lynn


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