By Folke Dovring
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Extra resources for Land and Labor in Europe in the Twentieth Century: A Comparative Survey of Recent Agrarian History
For our present purpose it is important that the only comprehensive data on land fragmentation in France are as early as from the years around 1900. These data show the degree of fragmentation in terms of the number of "ilots de propriete" (contiguous ownership lots) rather than by the number of cadastre parcels. The cadastre of Italy is built on similar principles as in France. b At present most areas have a cadastre from the 1920's or later. In recent years, the Italian cadastre has begun to be used for country planning purposes and not only fiscal uses.
In the Communist countries, the collectivistic ideology extends to favoring closed over dispersed rural settlement. b The Bulgarian statute on collective farms assumes that each village forms a co-operative farm and that all peasants live in villages. c The choice of term is significant even though it may not cover realities quite as consistently (cf. below in Chapter 7, with Appendix 7). d Nevertheless, isolated farmsteads are still in existence to a considerable extent. In the Soviet Union, the same line has also been pursued, though more consistently in theory than in practice.
Even if the tolerable distance maxima were increased in a corresponding degree, this would at best maintain the possibility of a modest number of farms having their headquarters in the same center. In England and Scandinavia, there has been discussion about re-constructing the agricultural village as a unit for social life on the countryside. Little if any action has followed this line of debate; at the most, a few existing villages have been preserved from being dissolved. e (37) In western Europe, there are few counterarguments against the prevailing tendency towards dispersed farm settlement.