The author outlines some perspectives of the political economy of the mass migration. One of its starting points is the changing nature of landowning from vague definitions of ownership to a distinct individual one, whereby land turned into a commodity on a growing land market. The process started in England and continued in the northwestern parts of the European continent. Another starting point is the proletarization process that is connected to the changing nature of land ownership, meaning that sons and daughters faced growing difficulties to take over the family farm. Thus, the mass migration that leads to settling and homesteading in another land - may it be North America, South Africa, Australia or Bosnia - should be looked upon as a way of avoiding proletarization but instead keeping the social position as a farmer. Often that mass migration included ejection of Native Peoples, who did not practice individual and private land owning principles. Some of the farmers - the agrarian bourgeoisie - were one of the foundations of capitalist modes of production, and they employed farm workers permanently or for seasonal work in large numbers. These workers migrated to areas with large-scale commercial farming. Where the large migrant settlers/homesteaders demanded large numbers of workers but could not get them as for instance in the southern parts of North America and South Africa, forced labor was recruited in different ways. In those cases, the class relations were racialized, indicating that mass migration often must be connected to an analysis of ethnic relations.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.