‘Able-Bodied and Out of Work’ —The Decline of the Landless Labourer

Alex Day


The ‘landless’ labourer was a vital figure in Marx and Engel’s writings on the colonial domination of Irish land and the transformation of the Irish economy across the nineteenth century. However, they also reveal much about the development of welfare and relief during this period, predominantly through their exclusion from it. This article will provide a brief overview of some of Marx and Engels’ key commentaries on the issue and its relation to the Irish economy, as well as significant debates surrounding welfare provision.

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