An automated process has detected links on this page on the local or global blacklist. Sharecropping is a form of agriculture in which a landowner allows a tenant to use the land in return for a share of the crops produced on their portion of land. Sharecropping has a long history and there mechanization of agriculture advantages and disadvantages pdf a wide range of different situations and types of agreements that have used a form of the system.
Some are governed by tradition, and others by law. Legal contract systems such as the Italian mezzadria, the French métayage, the Spanish mediero, or the Islamic system of muqasat, occur widely. Sharecropping has benefits and costs for both the owners and the tenant.
Everyone encourages the cropper to remain on the land, solving the harvest rush problem. At the same time, since the cropper pays in shares of his harvest, owners and croppers share the risks of harvests being large or small and of prices being high or low. Because tenants benefit from larger harvests, they have an incentive to work harder and invest in better methods than in a slave plantation system.
However, by dividing the working force into many individual workers, large farms no longer benefit from economies of scale. On the whole, sharecropping was not as economically efficient as the gang agriculture of slave plantations. The South had been devastated by war – planters had ample land but little money for wages or taxes. At the same time, most of the former slaves had labor but no money and no land – they rejected the kind of gang labor that typified slavery.
A solution was the sharecropping system focused on cotton, which was the only crop that could generate cash for the croppers, landowners, merchants and the tax collector. Poor white farmers, who previously had done little cotton farming, needed cash as well and became sharecroppers. Jeffery Paige made a distinction between centralized sharecropping found on cotton plantations and the decentralized sharecropping with other crops.