A Case of Neo-Feudalism: La Convencion, Peru Author(s): E. J. E. Hobsbawm Source: Journal of Latin American Studies, Vol. 1, No.

1 (May, 1969), pp. 31-50 Published by: Cambridge University Press Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/156484 . Accessed: 02/03/2011 05:04
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1. Lat. Amer. Stud. r, I, 3I-50 Printed in Great Britain


A Case of Neo-Feudalism: La Convencion, Peru


The provinceof La Convenci6n,departmentof Cuzco, in Peru became familiarto citizensof the outsideworld in the early I96os, when it was the sceneof the most importantpeasantmovementof that periodin Peru, and in attractthe probably the whole of SouthAmerica.This might legitimately At attentionof the socialhistorian. the sametime La Convencion a special is version of a more general phenomenon,which ought also to interestthe economichistorian.It is 'frontier territory'in the Americansense of the land on the eastern word, i.e. it belongs to the large zone of undeveloped of the Andes (the westernedge of the Amazonbasin)which has come edge under settlementand cultivationin recentdecades,mainly for the cultivation of cash crops for the world market,but also for other economicpurposes. Along the Andean slopes there are a numberof such regions, into which, in their differentways, landlordsand entrepreneurs penetratewith estatesand trade,peasantsin searchof land and freedom.Mostly they are of Indian peasantsfrom the highlands,and the socio-economic background the sierra and altiplanodeterminesto some extent the forms of the new and economywhich take shapeon the semi-tropical tropicaleasternslopes. as Thesevaryconsiderably, we can tell by the variousavailable monographs.1 Broadlyspeaking,these zones provideus with examplesof colonization into totally unoccupied coveringa wide range of possibilities:penetration (i.e. legally ownerless)territory,into territorypartlyunder privateownerand wholly ship or providinglegal scopefor small settlement, into territory haciendas;haciendasof the traditionalfeudal or the modern occupiedby capitalisttype, or intermediate;settlementby Indian comunidadesor by individualcolonists;settlementfor the purposeof extendingor recreating
1 See, for instance, Tenencia de la Tierra y desarollo socio-economicodel sector agricola: Peru (CIDA: Uni6n Panamericana,Washington, 1966); Informe sobre la integracion economica y social del Peru Central (Uni6n Panamericana,Washington, I96I); H. Martinez, Las migraciones altiplanicas y la colonizacion del Tambopata (Ministerio de Trabajo y Asuntos Indigenas, Lima, I961) and some forthcoming work on the Bolivian yungas by Dwight B. Heath.

. Lima. Revista Universitaria. I966. I949) (cited as Cuadros (1949)). I918) (cited as Ponce de Leon (I918)). by seasonal labour migrations or indentured labour. C. The most recent figures for the size of the province diverge widely from earlier ones. 1967). E.vII (Cuzco. Hobsbawm. Kuczynski Godard. the operation of such a market economy by means of serfdom. D. Revista Universitaria. ' Industrias alimenticias en el Cuzco'. 3 The major sources on the economic development of La Convenci6n. F. A proposito del saneamento de los Valles Yungas del Cuzco (Min. 208. 3-4. ' Fragmentos de las Monografias de la provincia de La Convencion'. Probably it is the conflict of extremes which accounts for the unusual sharpness of social collisions there. Tierra y Muerte (Lima. de Salud Publica.Geog. and/or short pioneer tenancies. Enrique Rosell. y el problema de la distribuci6n'. 'El " Arriendo" y la Reforma Agraria en la provincia de La Convencin '. p. The 1940 Census simply added one third to allow for the poblacio'n selvatica beyond the reach of the enumerators. One of them may be mentioned immediately. J. Cuadros y Villena. Colloque CNRS sur les problemes agraires de l'Amerique Latine 1965 (Paris.. a fact which even the historian needs to be reminded of and which the economist must never forget. I964). duplicated). I917) (cited as Rosell (I917)). Isaac Tupayachi. small peasant agriculture.e.4 The censuses fluctuated wildly. I shall deal mainly with this very interesting region. i. 4 Thus earlier studies give it as I. xxviii (Cuzco. America Latina. Kuczynski Godard. On the social movements in the province. at irregular intervals. 33.32 E. vIII.800 sq. for all we know they might 2 M. 4 (Rio de Janeiro. when at all. which will be used extensively below are: Tenencia de Tierra: Peru (cited as CIDA: Peru (I966)). are quite uncertain. The La Convenci6n area combines two extremes: the penetration of individual. especially Chapter VII. Revista Universitaria. 'Problemes Agraires a La Convencion (Perou)'. whose policy it was to develop production through labour-service tenancies.3 The study of such a region is illuminating for several reasons. J. and even by modern capital-intensive and labour-saving mechanized development. Cuzco. J. The most elementary data such as censuses. Wesley W. as someone observed 2-into an area wholly dominated by large haciendas. 1946). market-oriented peasant settlers-future kulaks. serfdom. Revista Universitaria.000 ha. share-cropping. The peasant movement of La Convencion (Cornell University. F. H. I965). Hobsbawm the subsistence economy of the traditional peasantry or a market economy. 'Un ensayo de econometria en La Convencin '.Soc. p. 1959) (cited as Tupayachi (I959)). A proposito del saneamento de los Valles Yungas del Cuzco (cited as Kuczynski Godard (I946)). de Lima. It is the total unreliability of all statistics which concern it. and used to be taken. D. km (Bol. Anibal Quijano 0. 'Formas del arriendamientode terrenos de cultivo en el Depto de Cuzco. Kuon Cabello.LI-LII (Cuzco. vi (Cuzco. or even estimates of the size of the area. Hugo Neira. see: E. . ii ' Caracteristicas generales de los sistemas de tenencia en la selva con referencia especial al valle de La Convenci6n'. I965) (cited as Kuon (1965)). 'El movimento campesino de Peru y sus lideres '. Craig. and intercensal estimates differ even more widely. LXXIV (I957). observing variations in other areas only incidentally. CIDA: Peru (1966).05. recent ones as 44. Revista Universitaria(Cuzco. Ponce de Leon.

It 2. and they may not even be reliable for this purpose. Census of I940. Figures for the total production of the province are given with confidence. Censuses (taken irregularly) suggest a rise from about 12. The entire road system in 1959 amounted to only 298 kilometres. (It begins just beyond the celebrated Inca ruins of Machu Picchu. 260).-2 . though all estimates are little better than guesswork. and indeed during the rubber-boom of the early twentieth century it was one of the gateways into the Peruvian part of the rubber areas. pp. It is fortunate. II The province of La Convenci6n. which provides the only link of the province with the wider world. we shall find considerable divergences.000 in I940. has through Messrs. from perhaps metres at the top to perhaps 700 metres at the limit of cultivation. is a vast region to the north of Cuzco.000 and 40. CIDA: Peru (I966). The expedition I9II.A Case of Neo-Feudalism: La Convencion. It is isolated from the rest of Peru by high mountains. thanks to its proximity to Cuzco. and along the river system which eventually joins the Amazon. However. And so on.6 The one unquestioned fact is that the population was decimated by an epidemic of what it described as 'malaria' which entered the valleys in 1932-3. Bingham. Hence all figures can be used only as approximateorders of magnitude. p. but if we compare them with the statistics of the quantities of various goods transported by the CuzcoSanta Ana railway (see p. which has existed as an independent administrative unit since 1857. Between 5 H.A.000 in 1862 to between 27. i877). 50). 172.ooo0 hectares-was then actually known to be under cultivation (Tupayachi (1959). Bingham and Bowman provided us with some useful data on La Convenci6n at this time. and there were said to be some 60. F.ooo landless inhabitants in the early I960s.000 thus shades off into the tropical selva. that the upper part of these valleys was visited by several early European travellers. 6 M. which discovered of Machu Picchu. I922). Huadquiiia and Echarate. Diccionario GeograficoEstadisticodel Peru (Lima. The population has fluctuated considerably. It is not surprising that only a tiny fraction of the land-some i. 324. Tupayachi (I959). even in the early i96os the railhead was still 3-4 hours truck-drivefrom the provincial capital Quillabamba (also founded in the I890s). incidentally. Paz Soldan. through which a mule-path (constructed by the Peruvian government under pressure from the haciendas) has passed since I890 5 and the railway from Cuzco to Huadquifia since the I930s. dating back to at least the I83os. so that we have descriptions of two of the great haciendas. the only real township of the region.S. Peru 33 as well have added 0oper cent or 40 per cent. Inca Land (London. L.) It is a region of subtropical hills and forests dipping rapidly towards the tropics.

1856). The travellers of the early twentieth century do not bother to mention any other agrarian products. Landwirtschaft und Kolonisation im spanischen Amerika (Leipzig. 10 K. p. de Lima. How far this sugar-and-coca economy developed in colonial times is immaterial. The Andes of Southern Peru (London. and indeed transport costs precluded any others. outside any economy until well into the nineteenth. It was under constant threat from the forest Indians. I. depending on the distance of travel. according to another source of the same period. p. concentrated entirely on the production of aguardiente for sale in the highlands.9When they began slowly to expand again. 1. The second standard crop was coca. perhaps in connexion with the rising of Tupac Amaru. 7 Kuczynski Godard (1946). is of crucial importance in its recent history. Hobsbawm 1933 and I945 it killed or forced into emigration in one hacienda for which we have figures. Bowman.l On the other hand the market was stable or expanding. 1920). Geog. CIDA: Peru (I966). which was produced for the manufacture of Cuzco chocolate. The area was sufficiently near Cuzco for its potentialities to be known and exploited in the way which would occur naturally to Spaniards in hot climates: sugarplantations. 83. 272. Llona. The Andes. it was on the old basis of sugar and coca. 77n. The Andes. Bol. Indeed these two drugs constituted practically the only consumer goods purchased by them. a well-known luxury article. poor communications and an acute shortage of labour. For practical purposes we can regard La Convenci6n as having remained outside the world economy until the twentieth century. for obvious economic reasons.7 This catastrophe. perhaps linked with the disruptions of the independence period. 37411 Bowman. The fundamental situation of the province has thus always been the combination of abundant land. of which we have record as far back as the early seventeenth century. I88.5 per cent. E. 32. xxxIII (1917). 209. together with a little cocoa.l0 or 25 per cent of the selling price of aguardiente. 87 per cent and 83. ' Traslaci6n de la capital de la provincia de La Convencion'. Clements Markham. o1 per cent of that of coca.34 E. also for the highland Indians. . 9 Scipion E. Lima and Cuzco (London. and it seems that. which reduced large areas of the province to a human desert. 1901).8 but which. It is quite evident.Soc. In.4 per cent of various classes of tenants. from the following p. and transportcosts for coca ranged from one-sixth to one-third of the cost of production per arroba. 8 Cf. except in so far as parts of it were involved in the regional market of the Cuzco highlands. 77n. p. p. Bowman. It took five days to travel the I90 kilometres from what is now Quillabamba to Cuzco even after the construction of the mule-trail. there was a retreat of settlements in the montana in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Kaerger. 65. p. and perhaps a certain amount of cattle.

200 Pintobamba Sahuayaco 60 40 55 3 500 25 12 32 12 Mandor Maranura Huayopata 12 20 80 20 80 800 o00 200 For the middle of the nineteenth century. Geografia del Peru (Lima. 1862).500 120 Table 2. 399. The annual Guia del Peru (I860) talks vaguely of cocoa. Exports from La Convenci6n c. it remained on a small scale and there was little monoculture.000 arrobas 80.000 45.000 arrobas Value (soles) 480. Output of some leading haciendasc. 1915 Hacienda Alcohol Sugar Coca Coffee Cocoa (quintals) Huadquiiia Uchumayo Paltaybamba 40 8 25 25 Cattle (head) 4. coca.. I914).12 Though production for the world market had evidently begun before the First World War.000 quintals 20. while the Table i. cocoa and fruit.000 arrobas 4. Cisneros. but makes it clear that aguardiente and coca were overwhelmingly preponderant. . I906) mentions only coca and aguardiente. Peru 35 tables based on Rosell (I9I7). but the i872 edition no longer refers to these. . coffee. and mentions experimentswith rubber. p. In I906 Carlos B.000 Area (sq. km) 3. coca. cotton and tobacco. 'La cuestion agraria en el Cuzco'.Univ. Mateo Paz Soldan. D. aguardiente 300 I00 . 250 sugar. except on one or two haciendas which began to specialize in tea from I913.000 coffee skins & hides 20.. It is clear from Kaerger (I90g). .000 arrobasof coca 1. In (Cuzco. 374-5.. coffee.000 120. .000 arrobas 20. . reports a production per annum of 25. It seems to have been left largely to peasant tenants. Resena Economica del Peru (Lima. speaks of sugar. Rev.000 (arrobas) 6o 50 50 20 400 i6 51 45 250 170 Ioo Santa Ana Potrero Huyro Echarate 5 25 30 I5 2 3 2 10 40 40 30 80 55 40 8oo 1.000 500. that coffee was not yet seriously cultivated. 1915 Product coca aguardiente cocoa Quantity 60. cocoa coffee .A Case of Neo-Feudalism: La Convencion.000 300 I. cane. that this archaic type of economy still prevailed at the time of the First World War. in I914 Luis Valcarcel.200 .

is another question.13 The main growth occurred in coffee. opened not before 1933). 399- .) Sugar. Hobsbawm estate-owners relied on the older staples.5 9 7 The unusually rapid development of La Convencion in the past twentyfive years is due to a combination of circumstances. which in Peru is produced only in La Convencion).l4 Even coca. but this cannot be established with any certainty. paid somewhat better wages than the rest). It is possible that the cultivation of sugar-cane was already on the decline between the wars. (However. e. Geografia Econdmica del Peru (Lima. and almost certainly suffered a setback under the double impact of crisis and demographic catastrophe in the I930s. 202. declined very rapidly in the later I95os. E. E. incidentally. Romero.5 0o. coca can be planted in addition to other crops. though a tendency towards monoculture (and production by the estates themselves) was evident. so that its growth may simply reflect the expansion of the cultivated area in general.though its acreage does not appear to have increased and may have begun to decline.The first is the relatively recent construction of a railway (contracted in 1921. 226. How much these statisticsare worth.g. Tupayachi (1959). In the I940s and I950s on the other hand output rose very rapidly indeed. tea was always produced by a few monoculture haciendas of relatively modern outlook (which. but also on some mixed estates.36 E. I. except for forest products. the absence of which precluded any very large commercial develop13 14 The major sources for these figures are Tupayachi (1959). between cacao trees -and is almost universally cultivated to some extent. cocoa and tea. Table 3. Kuon (T965) and the FAO Production Yearbook (for tea. which need not concern us. Cultivated Acreage in La Convencio'n I954 All crops Coca Coffee o/ o00 36 14 Cocoa Sugar Tea Fruit Source: Tupayachi (1959). Evidently (though statistics are scarce) it made no startling progress in the I920S. however. I96i). Of these coffee was produced mainly on mixed fincas. pp. cocoa was grown mainly on several hundred monoculture peasant holdings. continued to grow satisfactorily. 0o. The following tables give some idea of changes of acreage. the old staple. P.

000 hectares. though administrativelyin another province.S.000 hectares. 46 of them had been in existence a century earlier. Potrero). L. as it were. They had for decades. which delayed development but eventually gave rise to a disproportionatelylarge and rapid growth. The main owners around 1960 were Romainvilles (Huadquifia. hardly grew between 1917 and 1940.000 or 30. 87 were recorded in the middle i950s. 16 Guia del Peru (I860). economy of coffee-cocoa-teaand other tropical exports to the world market. Guerraa Muerte al Latifundio: Proyecto de ley de Reforma Agraria del M. Maranura). indeed for generations. 17 For figures see CIDA: Peru (1966).Peru 37 Table 4. Third and most important.17(Even so only 15 per cent of the total area of 15 At both dates it seems to have had about 2. J. Estudio del Ing. the Bartens (Chancamayo).). pp.early I96os Coffee Coca Tea Zone Cocoa Foodstuffs 0/ 0/ 0/ o0 0/ /o 0o o .I.000 hectares acquired by a certain Mariano Vargas in 1865 and subsequently divided into various family portions under the Romainville family.o /o Huadquiiia-Lares Valle Huapopata 40 20 50 20 50 30 Io Io to Quillabamba-Alto Urubamba 30 30 Source: CIDA: Peru (I966). p.000. this recovery coincided with the long primary commodities boom of the Second World War and the Korean war period.A Case of Neo-Feudalism: La Convencion. Hernani Zignago (Paltaybamba).) 15 The second is the demographic catastrophe of the 1930s.16 They ranged in size from the giant Huadquinia of probably about 150. Carlos Malpica S. Alvarez . CIDA: Peru (1966).d. CultivatedAcreage in La Convencion. founded in 1890 by a philanthropic hacendado. 208. belongs economically to its neighbour). Arranzabal (Echarate). but also potentially much riskier.ooo hectares and certainly no less than 80. Hobsbawm. (It would seem that the capital town of Quillabamba. s. adapted themselves to the traditional coca-alcohol economy. Tupayachi (1959). III By about 1960 there were upwards of o00 such haciendas in La Convenci6n (and the valley of Lares. They were now given the opportunity of exploiting the lucrative.R. the relic of a gigantic estate of some 500. through almost equally impressive estates of 45.000 hectares.000 inhabitants. 221-3. Colloque CNRS. and E. ment. to relatively modest properties of 2. Maldonado (Uchumayo). which. (Lima. Gonzalez (Sahuayaco. which launched similar-and equally striking-development in other parts of Peru and indeed of Latin America. It is worth observing that this sudden expansion caught many of the La Convenci6n landowners by surprise. 35.

share-croppingwas hardly developed. As so often. which were in the haciendas. Agricola Cuzco(Huiro). Under the circumstances. but to get it at a fixed rate below that obtaining in the open market. still often specifically forbade it to peasants. needed both for production and transport. not to mention the reluctance of the La Convenci6n landowners to pay a free market rate of wages. thereseemsto be an elementof fantasyaboutstatistics relatingto La Convencion. Hobsbawm the province was legally private property. the essence of their characteristicserf-tenanciesis not to get labour gratis. For reasons which are not wholly clear.ooo-1. y 18 This wouldseemto be a considerable area even overstatement. Indeed. Aranjuez).J. There were not many of them-around 1914 (according to Rosell (I917)) only I.) Only a small proportion of these estates was cultivated at all-perhaps 8-io per cent according to CIDA : Peru (I966).)l9 and P. the estates had to rely on such peasant settlers as filtered into the valleys or could be attracted into them. 87. or because the highland haciendas resisted the competition from the valleys for their own labour force.500.and slave-labour.e. such as appears to form the main estate labour force in the comparable areas of central Peru.18 An even smaller proportion was cultivated by the landlords themselves. i. Evidently they had little success. Danemberg de and Isidoro Lambarri Roldan Cia. (Quellouno). Luglio(Pintobamba. as we shall see. There were in fact only two choices: share-cropping or some combination of peasant colonization and serf-labour on the estates' own land.38 E. They had to pay for their conversion to Christianity by being forced to work whenever they came to the only available churches. for such plantations have heavy periodic labour requirements such as cannot be met by a basically crop-sharing system. This was evidently due primarily to the perennial problem of the La Convenci6n estates-the shortage of labour. . p. the rest being still state property. (It is probable that sugar production was always a seignorial privilege. E. since tenancy contracts in the twentieth century. two companies: (Chaullay). There are signs that the landlords also tried wage- labour in the form of the enganche-temporary imports of labour via labour contractors. perhaps because La Convenci6n was less accessible from areas of labour surplus than central Peru. in the absence of both enough free wagelabour or forced. when it had lost importance. It seems that the landowners at first tried to solve the labour problem by impressing the forest Indians of the Machiguenga (Machiganga) tribes.or else the figuresfor the I95osgrosslyunderstate areaunder substantially cultivation. One may perhaps guess that the original bias of the landlords towards a plantation economy of sugar-cane determined this choice. if the cultivated has increased the since 1954. 19 Cuadros (I949). perhaps also because of the inefficiency and high wastage rate of highland labour in the semi-tropical environment.

. and most completely by Cuadros (1949) and CIDA : Peru (1966). the system which the lords of La Convencion adopted was a form of villein tenure surprisingly similar to medieval European villeinage. The arrendire'scanon consisted of money rent. and might be higher-up to 12 days. their tenancy as the arriendo. 3 above unless otherwise stated.) The amount of this turno was 8-o0 days a month on average in 1942. calling the serfs 'free (faena) Indians'. after cultivation was established. but his observationson economic matters do not command confidence. which demonstrates the divergence between the servile and the free market wage. A certain number of days' work a year (not necessarily consecutive) at a fixed wage which seems to have been 0-40 soles per day from at least I9I4 to the middle I950s. The sources for these figures are as given in n. There seems to have been no conventional or official limits to such increases in payment. though there were said to be 5-6 regular estate labourers for every Ioo faena Indians. plus a more important set of labour services. as was necessary if the tenant was to cultivate plants like coffee or cocoa which do not begin to yield the first crop for four or five years (see also Kuczynski Godard (I946).21 20 21 Bowman. 20). who described the system before the intervention of the peasant syndicates.Peru 39 Neither coca nor cocoa or coffee automatically impose a system of demesne agriculture. The length of the tenancy varied. but perhaps averaging 20-30. where the labour tenants are known as arrendires. Labour services seem to have been low or unsystematic. Tenancies which are paid for in labour services are common enough in Peru under the general name of pongaje. p. The following description is based mainly on Cuadros. and indeed pioneer settlers. may well have enjoyed somewhat more favourable conditions than those holding already cultivated land. describes the system as it operated around I9II. ranging from 8-io soles to 80-Ioo soles a year.A Case of Neo-Feudalism: La Convencion. in practice only 5-6 serfs were working on the estate at any one time. but this term is not used in La Convenci6n. 83. plus various other obligations. but seems to have been mainly 9-o0 years.50 soles. (Since the agrarian revolt of 1961-2 it has been Io00-1. the canon could be increased as the tenant's holding became more productive. at least during the period of the rozo (the clearing of virgin soil and its preparation for cultivation). The Andes.20 The classic arriendo has been described by various observers. However. The universal or almost universal services (condiciones) were: I. At all events. Normally payments (the canon) were excused for the first year. Alternatively landlords would get rid of tenants in order to cultivate the land themselves. since. p. a colourless word which may suggest that serfdom in the province is not so much the child of a feudal tradition as the response by powerful landlords to an economic situation.

(Palla.) 3. 7. at a fixed rate inferior to transportcosts on the open market. to . J. 'Necessities' excepted. extended to coffee. particularlyin the period after the I930s. These were clearly very heavy obligations. drink and possibly a conventional gratificacion of I sol. a money payment (normally 2 soles) for each head of livestock in the tenant's possession above a certain minimum. The obligation to consume goods produced on the hacienda and/or to sell the tenant's crop exclusively to or through the hacienda. and to young boys.e. alternatively the 0o. Fletas cosechas (transport duty). etc. Herbaje. payable (from at least 900o to the middle I95os) at o02o soles a day.40 E. Payment for timber and other raw materials taken from the hacienda by the tenant at a price fixed by the landlord. E. including on the lord's house. Road and maintenance work.) for each pack animal in the tenant's possession up to 3 times a year. in a situation theoretically extremely favourable to the labourer). The duty to provide house servants to work unpaid for a fixed period (semanero). and later.20 soles a day plus food and chicha-the local fermented drink-as on the Hda San Lorenzo in the I940s. 5. One hacienda in 1918 obliged tenants to send from I to 5 palladoras four times a year. crops. I. The huata faena (annual work). It could also mean a separate obligation to work on the demesne with all his hands when needed for 3-6 days at a fixed wage of o070 soles. an obligation to furnish at least one woman coca-leaf picker for each coca harvest.50.) 8. the immediate roots of the peasant revolt of I958-63 lie in the systematic attempt of the provincial lords to reimpose the system of serf-labour after the malaria epidemics (i. 9. Indeed. The prohibition of certain crops on the tenant's land. 6. 4. obligation to plant certain crops. is today paid at 0-20-o-50 soles. The following obligations were not so universal and are given in order of frequency as recorded by Cuadros (1949). except for food. The palla. Hobsbawm 2. and the lords' labour shortage tended to make them even heavier.. when the province was unusually depopulated and the boom in the primary commodities market unusually big. whom he was obliged to pay 0. (This is today generally assimilated to huata faena. i. This obligation might include the labour of all the arrendire's dependants and peons. an obligation to work Io-I5 days without pay. The duty to undertake comisiones of various kinds for the lord when required at a wage of 0o50 soles. an obligation to transport a load of 6 arrobas (66 kg.e. for not more than 2 weeks a year.

A Case of Neo-Feudalism: La Convencion.. There are no valid estimates of landless labour. but for a wage agreed before each duty-period. but not for a customary or fixed wage.I28 peasant. Though some arrendires received up to 20-25 ha. and consequently arrangements intermediate between labour services and wage-labour seem to have developed. since the figures are either absent or unreliable. 2II. but not in earlier sources. allegados and habilitados. maquipuras. Hda Echarate: about 70 arrendires. Conversely. on a sample of 18 estates of IIo. Such is the maquipura or extra. CIDA: Peru (I966) gives 3. Historians of the European middle ages may be left to think of parallels. We have no idea how many of each there are. ' unidades agropecuarias'. This development is recent. and he also attracted a growing number of free landless labourers (habilitados. This obligation is listed as very important in CIDA: Peru (1966). the prosperous arrendire might today hire labourers to do his labour services. 57 allegados. if only because they increased the number of 'his' workers which the tenant was obliged to put at the disposal of the landlord on the required occasions. etc.39 allegados. the official labour services of the arrendires and their dependants became increasingly inadequate for the growing estate economy. The labour structure of La Convenci6n therefore consists of three levels: arrendires. though the system of allegados is accepted in practice. p. The arrendire let part of his plot to one or more allegados who might (as on Hda Echarate) undertake a third or more of his labour services in return.allegados and others holding similar tenancies) is probably considerably smaller than the number of landless hired labourers. gente de rancho (i. the tenant had the choice only of leaving part of his land uncultivated because of his duty to work on the demesne 22 or to employ labour to fulfil his own obligations as well as the labour requirements of his plot. peones. on average they exploited only 4-6 ha.e. this was common. but it would seem that the number of labour-tenants(arrendires.24 22 23 24 According to CIDA: Peru (1966). Apart from revolt. Today it might be 2 soles per day. In 1917 Rosell listed only arrendires.23 Similarly.). the following information for some haciendas was collected by Kuczynski Godard in the middle I940s: Hda San Lorenzo: of 66 families analyzed 33 arrendires.each with from 3-Io allegados. The peculiar feature of La Convencion is the development of such sub-contracting. paying them a cash wage. direct estate servants) and small independent peasant squatters or settlers as the three types of labour in La Convenci6n. the obligation to work a certain number of days (up to 20) with all the tenant's dependants. Hda Chancamayo: 41 arrendires.ooo hectares (I962). and subtenancies are still technically prohibited in most contracts.Peru 41 take over the land brought into effective cultivation by the pioneer peasant settlers. For what it is worth. but CIDA: Peru (I966) reckons it at . where maquipuraappearssimply as a synonym for hired wage-labour.

Kuczynski Godard (I946) calculated that the Hda San Lorenzo disposed of 3. The cash equivalent of the rent paid by a tenant of 3-4 hectares in the I940s has been estimated as follows by Cuadros (I949): Rent in cash 20 soles Cash value of turno labour at open market rate Cash value of palla at open market rate Cash equivalent of total rent and labour I58-40 I6-40 194-80 Presumably no cultivator in his senses would pay so high a rent for a holding in an area in which unoccupied land merely waits to be settled and brought under cultivation.822 soles. he estimated that the new owner 60.40 daywage was supposed to be about 20 per cent.42 E. . the head-tax on the tenants' animals.760 labour-servicedays at a gross cash cost of 1. Hobsbawm IV It will be clear that this situation was unusually favourable to the estateowners. He estimated the rate of return on capital in this hacienda at 12-16 per cent. disposed of 7.404 soles. and indeed became increasingly favourable with the extension of market production and the growing labour shortage-so long as the landlords were able to maintain their traditional power. we may imagine the gain to the employer from this secular wage-freeze.20 of the women workers. not counting the profit on its products. which charged 5 soles for herbaje. 25 . Ponce de Leon (I918) gives the following illustration: $5-6 is a fair market rate for a holding. a few years later a fourth or a fifth. The landlord offers to let it at a prohibitive cash rent (say $8-9) to deter tenantsfor he wants labour not cash. This is confirmed by the sudden leap of day-rates to $1-IS5O. these often covered virtually the entire net cash outlays of landlords on wages. which remained unchanged for fifty years. below the market rate in I918 (Ponce de Leon (1918)). but in the early 1940s it was no more than a third or a fourth. Kuczynski Godard (1946)). say. Hacienda Chancamayo. Its herbaje alone brought it 2. plus cash rents of. but received about 600 soles in herbaje payments.2 partly in the form of payments such as herbaje. partly in the form of a modest cash rent.685 soles. i. As for the $o. If this hacienda were to be sold at i5o. E. Thus the $0. in the case of maquipura to $2 after the agrarian revolt of I96I-2. 800 soles from its forty families.056 labour days at a gross cost of about 2. As for the herbaje payments. This is also a figure I heard mentioned in discussions around Cuzco.e.ooo soles. of the open market wage (Cuadros (I949).000 in the early I960s. but then agrees to let it for part-cash part-labourat $6-7. We may add that the landlords had long been in the habit of extracting cash payments as well as labour services from tenants.

e. a high rate of profit without risk. 23 CIDA: Peru (I966) observes the absence of 'grandes inversiones' in the haciendas of La Convencion.26 For anyone with enough money to buy an estate. owned for the last 60 years by a single family. Unable to raise a loan with the Banco de Fomento Agropecuario. 50 ha. 27 CIDA: Peru (I966). This situation may explain the remarkable sluggishness of the landlords to undertake improvements. .or threefold return on his investment.. or indeed without major current outlays.600 ha. at present composed of 7 members. are irrigated. manpower was the scarce factor of production and land abundant. was almost certain. and would like to sell out to the AgrarianReform authorities. in this instance nothing) and what he would have had to pay for labour on the open market. pp.A Case of Neo-Feudalism: La Convencidn. and rents out 400 ha. gives a case-study of one such estate: I2. It is inefficient. The only limits to the hacendado's prosperity were those of the traditional feudal lord: managerial and financial incompetence and a tendency to throw money out of the window for purposes of luxury or statuscompetition. The main crop is cocoa. but small quantities of other market and subsistence crops are grown. but merely forwent his usual gain. This estate cultivates or utilizes I50 ha. has introduced no improvements in recent years but talks vaguely of extending the area under cultivation 'in the immediate future '. 4 living in Cuzco. Even if (as is likely) the landlords might refuse to compete with one another for scarce labour. he risked no actual loss.hence the overwhelming predominanceof the traditional type. There are 42 head of cattle.Peru 43 would from the first day have a 7 per cent return on his investment in the difference between his actual outlays for labour (i. These were real limits. After all. Of the three types of latifundium in this area it notes the absence of the 4 comercial moderno ' and that even the ' tipo transicional' is of small importance. The estate relies entirely on the labour services of arrendiresor other similar peasant-tenantswhom it treats as resident peones. in theory the tenants might simply have gone beyond their reach and settled on unoccupied land. or they might (as in central Peru) have squatted on the uncultivated areas of the great estates. let alone the good fortune to inherit one.27 Under the conditions of La Convencion they would inevitably lead estate-owners to exploit their feudal rights more intensively whenever they were under economic pressure. Few gamblers have had the luck to toss two-headed coins so consistently. In actual fact.00ooo from a moneylender at 2 per cent per month. It complains of lack of capital. to arrendires. any experienced hacendado expected a two. 222-3. mainly for sale to agents of overseas merchant houses. V Why did the tenants accept such unfavourable terms until the agrarian movement of 1958-63? Their bargaining position was very strong. 3 resident. defying the lords to expel them. the estate has raised a three-month loan of $20. Even if the bottom temporarilyfell out of some market.

Hobsbawm The chief reason why they could not or would not do any of these things was that labour-tenancy brought considerable potential advantages to the peasant. but it appears to differ from other such regions abutting on the sierra in that its peasant colonization is individualist rather than communal. and probably more so. from the landlord's point of view. p. If it is true that. we find no examples of highland comunidades sending a body of colonists en bloc to the frontier territory. a number of recalcitrantor rebel elements. J. E. the peasant-settlersare no longer traditional highland peasants. They were and are overwhelmingly individual pioneers. unused to working on haciendas and looking down on colonos who were forced to do so. 219. At the very least they were men who appreciated that in La Convenci6n serfdom or wage-labour could immediately or eventually achieve land.44 E. Unlike central Peru.2 La Convenci6n differs from some more northerly regions of the high selva in that its hinterland is not the economically developed coast. (This affected the agrarian situation in two ways: comuneros from the highlands. discovered cultivating an unoccupied corner of it-are much harder to browbeat by the forces at the disposal of an estate than individual squatters. Indians who rapidly learned to understand or even to speak Spanish. abandoned their native comunidades and were prepared to exploit the profit opportunities of the new situation. by its combination of nearness and inaccessibility. and aimed at market agriculture rather than the simple transfer of subsistence farming to a new area.' CIDA: Peru (I966). tend to refuse labour-service tenancies. with a keen appreciation of the possibilities of market agriculture. aunque su futuro como tales pueda ser incierto. and a large bloc of Indians 'invading' a hacienda -i. . modernizers. In the early stages there seems to have been some filtering in of traditional settlers who brought the highland communal Indian organization into one marginal area (Vilcabamba). though it is evident that among the arrendiresthere are better potential kulaks and agrarian capitalists than among the hacendados. who adopted white man's costume.) The La Convencion settlers are not necessarily only men in search of better economic opportunities. and the evidence suggests that (with the exception of tea) the original pioneering of the world market crops-coffee and cocoa-was done at least as much by peasants as on demesnes. but the backward sierra of Cuzco.e. unwilling to accept the constraints of peasant life on the highland hacienda or in the highland comunidad 28 'A diferencia de las otras regiones. but this soon ceased to be typical. la selva ofrece a los trabajadoressin tierras la perspectiva de ocupar un terreno de monte y convertirseen productoresindependientes. The area has also attracted. the traditional latifundium of La Convenci6n is a mere adaptation of the highland hacienda to the conditions of the selva. thus forcing landlords to make other arrangements for labour.

Evasion was thus no solution.Peru 45 and moving into the interior rather than to the remote and inaccessible coast. which reported the activities of the Grupo Resurgimientoin Cuzco. They might resent the excessive use of the lords' power over life. The first peasant union seems to have been that of Maranurain I934. It did come. death and women. 30 Especially Kuczynski Gcdard (1946).31By the late I950s the exploitation of the lords. which could come only from outside. In any case. which observers have noted. and the power of their gamonales. it is much easier for these elements to get to La Convencion.A Case of Neo-Feudalism: La Convencion. all the more so since the immigrant from the highlands might find even subsistence agriculture difficult. at least in the peasant supplement 'El proceso al gamonalismo' in Mariategui'sjournal Amauta.when plainly the arrendires also did pretty well for themselves. for freedom and poverty as a subsistence farmer. possibly later also in the form of protestant agitation. If a peasant stayed within the radius of the hacienda. temporarily veiled by the booms of the 1940s and early I95Os. It might actually be better. which could provide it more easily. in the form of communist propaganda and organizers from Cuzco. How early this phenomenon appeared. Only in La Convenci6n he also knew that he might stand a good chance of getting land and-by his standardswealth. His preference for his customary highland diet. since he might not readily adopt the kind of food which could be grown without trouble in the climate of the subtropics and tropics. submission and the inability to assert their rights. 31 Wesley Craig (The peasant movement of La Convencion) notes that the first SecretaryGeneral of the Federacion Provincial de Campesinos in 1958 was a protestant. because the only means of communication with the outside world passed through the haciendas or close to them. and I have certainly encountered protestantpeasant militants from La Convenci6n. from the 1930S on. via Arequipa to Mollendo.30would perhaps also help to fix him in the neighbourhood of the large hacienda. . This was not necessarily very attractive. subsequently jailed as a 'communist'. and so long as the peasant stayed where his chances of profit were greatest. he could not use his theoretical scarcity-value to more than a small extent. The leases of the new post-war hold29 While the dept. There is no sign of any agitation in the province in the I920S. of Cuzco has a direct railway link with the coast. but in this respect La Convenci6n was no different from the highlands and certainly no worse. which long remained a fortress of the communist party. even potential Indian kulaks from the altiplano of Peru were only too accustomed to exploitation. The only real alternative was collective organization. would appear increasingly intolerable. To go into the interior meant to exchange the prospects of a prosperous holding of a few hectares of export crops. he knew that he was going to be exploited and that he had to do the lord's bidding.29 The search for economic improvement inevitably put the peasant at the mercy of the hacienda. I do not know.

The era of neo-feudalism in La Convencion was about to end. So long as the haciendas retained their powers of non-economic coercion. pp. the political possibility of organizing peasant unions improved.35Clearly we cannot assume that the large estates of La Convencion even set out to make their profits by the most efficient development of their resources.46 E. The Informe of the Panamerican Union (see n. table I8-VII. according to CIDA: Peru (1966). E.32 VI Can we analyze the economic advantages and disadvantages of the form of agricultural development exemplified by La Convenci6n? Not with any degree of realism. 212-13. provides no comparabledata for cocoa and tea.33the major fact about the latifundia of this region is that they are not designed for the maximization of agricultural production. so long as a hacendado could force his peasants to sell their coffee to him at 7 soles per kilo. Hobsbawm ings would begin to run out. and perhaps it is too early to attempt one. which makes a study of 42 ' unidades agropecuarias' of the selva region and gives details of 8 presumably typical cases. 34 CIDA: Peru (I966). I above) provides comparative material for other selva regions. seem to be the most efficient units of production in the selva region. including one latifundium and one arrendire's holding from La Convenci6n. rarely even 'transitional '. and prevent See n. they were not obliged to make themselves more efficient. and the medium-sized commercial farms of about 50 hectares which. The widening gap between the forced and the free wage-rates would become increasingly irksome. quite apart from our lack of adequate statistics. Consequently there is little point in comparing the possible efficiencies of large-scale estate production and peasant production in this region.34 The arrendire's holding analyzed in the same document sells go per cent of its output on the market. They are essentially parasitic on their serfs. . virtually not at all 'modern' in character. are not of any numerical importance. With the end of the boom-supported dictatorship. 3 above for accounts of it. There is as yet no full and reliable treatment. they are overwhelmingly 'traditional '. or even of the marketable surplus of such production. J. For. As we have already observed. 33 The major source is CIDA: Peru (I966). It is not the purpose of this paper to deal with the peasants' rebellion itself. For instance. And this in spite of the fact that the large estates virtually monopolize the high-quality land for themselves. 32 35 See CIDA: Peru (i966). The conditions for the mass peasant agitations of the early I96os came into being. and very much more efficient than the latifundium (or than the national average) in the cultivation of coffee. the latifundium retains as much as 25 per cent for its own consumption. According to CIDA : Peru (I966) the family holding is not less productive than the latifundium in the output of coca per hectare.

and to produce either a much greater increase in output. with its specific form of neo-feudalism. such as transport and housing. in La Convenci6n. or both. It would seem that the rate of increase of coffee production in La Convenci6n (I950-62) was a little slower than the national average for Peru. but all these figures are unreliable. which can only be estimated for a much shorter period (1956-60 to I962) was much slower. for the equivalent climatic areas there were about six times as large as in La Convenci6n. In six comparable areas of central Peru there is about one rural inhabitant per hectare of cultivated land. large parts of the latifundia being in effect left to such peasant cultivation. pp. Peru (I966). that of tea rather faster than the national average. at least 2. on the most conservative estimates. but the areas under coffee. The data about central Peru are calculated from the material collected in the Informe of the PanamericanUnion. 39 I have used figures from CIDA: Peru (I966).36he made 4 soles a kilo profit without so much as lifting a finger. Tupayachi (I959). cocoa and tea about ten times as large.5 inhabitants.39 We may perhaps conclude from this that under different conditions of landownership. p. Kuon (I965) and the FAO Production Yearbook. all one can say in general is that in such regions the major form of production is the small peasant holding. 297.38The productivity of coffee cultivation was apparently higher than in central Peru (817 kilograms per hectare as against 460 kilograms). with other regions of the high selva which have preferred different methods. We may therefore conclude-and this is not surprising-that neo-feudalism seems to be a rather inefficient way of expanding agricultural output in frontier areas.37 These considerations do not easily permit us to compare the development of La Convenci6n. producing its own subsistence and a marketable surplus of the export crops. such an input of labour could have been expected to bring considerably more land under cultivation. and its results are uncertain. that of cocoa much lower (205 kilograms as against 660 kilograms). Not because the 36 CIDA: 37 CIDA: 38 Peru (I966). or a much more striking improvement in the social infrastructure. those about La Convenci6n from the sources already listed. The only thing that seems reasonably clear is that the La Convenci6n method was wasteful of manpower. .Peru 47 : them by armed guards from crossing the river to sell it at 11 soles to the merchants. But we must also note that none of the frontier areas of the ceja de la montana or high selva has a very impressive record of economic development. though possibly in the 1940s it was rather faster. 214-15. In effect. quite apart from its social disadvantages. The increase in cocoa production. Such a comparison is difficult.A Case of Neo-Feudalism La Convencion. Central Peru seems to have expanded the area under cultivation more successfully.

there is no need for such explanations. And even if they were to some extent provided out of the profits of the large haciendas. education. it will probably interest the historian of the European middle ages more than the typical economic historian of our century. (This ought to make us suspicious of those who see 'entrepreneurial dispositions' as something that has to be injected into a traditional economy from outside. if Spanish lords in the tropics had not automatically thought in terms of a plantation economy. these would still have to be supplemented by public enterprise and planning. by the character of social relations between lords and dependent peasants.) The real bottleneck in such areas is in the economic and social infrastructure. practices and values). Though it may be tempting to explain the peculiar neo-feudalism of La Convenci6n by the historic facts of the Spanish conquest (the transfer of European medieval institutions. Hobsbawm pioneer settlers showed any reluctance to engage in economic enterprise. If La Convenci6n had not been partitioned into large private estates. though perhaps a familiar one. Nevertheless. if the immigrants into the valleys had brought their communal institutions with them. E. It is perfectly possible to assume that (within a given framework of society) the development of this specific form of neo-feudal agriculture is a necessary consequence of the decision to undertake demesne cultivation under conditions of labour shortage and inadequate communications. What is striking about these areas is the readiness of colonists from a most traditional type of peasantry to turn themselves into something like commercial cultivators. We may conclude that the experience of La Convenci6n does not tell us much about the problem of agrarian development under capitalism that we did not already know. by survivals of pre-Columbian forced labour. For it .48 E. In the first place. etc. On the other hand. it demonstrates the danger of isolating economic analysis from its social and historical context. In so far as La Convenci6n allows us to observe the emergence of an agrarian system surprisingly similar to some of those of European feudalism. Quite the contrary is true. it is equally unwise to rely too much on historical or sociological explanations. in so far as it is the offspring of a peculiar marriage between the twentieth and (in WestEuropean terms) the thirteenth centuries. the agrarian structure of La Convenci6n would have been quite different. Without social investment and planning these are not provided. untypical though it is. most obviously transport. it holds a final lesson for the student of capitalist development. J. or in similar terms. but also sanitary organization. In the second place. this remote province of Peru suggests some lessons which students of economic development ought not to be allowed to forget. even though it would probably have ultimately also developed into a producer of the characteristictwentieth-century tropical export crops. however.

Peru 49 demonstrates once again that the very growth of the capitalist world market at certain stages produces. 50. until it collapsed. The slave-societies of eighteenth. under the revolt of the peasants.) . is the neo-feudalism which prevailed in La Convenci6n. archaic forms of class-domination on the frontier of development. or reproduces.A Case of Neo-Feudalism: La Convencion.and nineteenth-centuryAmerica were the products of capitalist development. and so. we may hope for ever. p. (See Appendix. on a more modest and localized scale. for statistics of production in La Convenci6n.

960 837 5.86I 209 4I3 I91 1945 I945-7 I948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953 I954 2. Landwirtschaft..960 523 ? 372 3. Geog.707 431 554 806 750 3.I84 4.524 540 4.648 I.700 650 4. earlier data from Paz Soldan.780 824 ? 842 ?? 970 983 900o 832 908 ?? I.213 ? 4. From 1959 two figures are available: total output and weight transportedby Cuzco-Santa Ana railway.Univ. FAO estimate for whole of Peru.736 5.034 IO.305 1. I958-62: Kuon (1965). ..288 854 1.000 220 I-I 3'3 I898 1911 1916 1923 220 0 1940 1.288 9.734 265 307 325 4IO 87 1955 1956 8oo$ 800 800+ '957 1958 I959 I960 I96I I962 5. Luis Valcarcel..264 2.I50 104 * 5.426 3.308 386 726 5I3 535 584 456 503 585 57 76 I41 I7I 200 8. inI (Cuzco. Hobsbawm APPENDIX: PRODUCTION IN LA CONVENCI6N Numberof haciendas 42 Year i862 Coca Aguardiente Coffee Cocoa (in ooo kilos **) 275 1.895 3.o88 I. Weight transportedby Cuzco-SantaAna railway.730 5.8oo 2.851 10. Kaerger.420 4.498t 588 637 687 772 680 1.250 4. E.400 ** Equivalents: I arroba =ii t t ? ? Weight transportedby Cuzco-SantaAna railway (exclusive of timber).642 29.540 2.146 1. Acreage multiplied by mean productivitygives a much larger figure.960 13.487 790 Tea 606 584 623 632 Sources: 1940-54: Tupayachi (I959).50 E. I litre=I kilo. Rev.364 (?) 660 Tea Total * 132 I.800 995 1.690 4.830 11. J.326 293 125 4. del Peru.665 4.553 9. 1914). kg.Rosell (I917).405 5. I quintal=ioo kg. The latter figures are very different: I959 1960 1961 I962 Coffee Cocoa 3.

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