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Marx on the colonization of Irish soil. MUSSI Working Paper No 3
Slater, Eamonn
This paper explores how Marx conceptualised the presence of soil exhaustion within the first half of nineteenth century Ireland. It is a period of Irish history, according to Marx, that was itself divided by two stages of colonial domination. What determined soil depletion in the first period (1800-1846) were the excessive demands of the white crop rotation regime which had to operate under the social process of rackrenting. Moreover, this rental system was itself determined by the dominant position held by the colonial landowning elite. Maintaining the soil condition involved the tenantry, both peasants and cottiers, attempting to replace the traded (and therefore lost) nutrients to the Irish soil without adequate capital investments in improvements of the soil. This colonial rental regime came to its end with the occurrence of the potato blight in 1846 and the subsequent Famine. The new emerging stage of the colonial process (1846-1867 onwards) was what Marx titled ‘Clearing the estate of Ireland’, where the landlords ‘cleared’ their estates of the small peasantry and the cottiers and in eliminating the peasant restorers of the soil’s fertility, soil exhaustion occurred in the Post-famine period. Marx therefore highlights how the soil of the colonised can itself be colonised by that same process.
Keyword(s): Marx; Ireland; soil exhaustion; soil depletion; colonialism; rackrenting; MUSSI
Publication Date:
Type: Report
Peer-Reviewed: No
Institution: Maynooth University
Citation(s): Slater, Eamonn (2018) Marx on the colonization of Irish soil. MUSSI Working Paper No 3. Working Paper. Maynooth University Social Sciences Institute (MUSSI).
Publisher(s): Maynooth University Social Sciences Institute (MUSSI)
File Format(s): other
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First Indexed: 2018-04-11 06:27:06 Last Updated: 2018-04-11 06:27:06