A concept first elucidated by anthropologist Eric T. Wolf. Wolf contends that one of the defining characteristics of peasant societies is their use of resources. The rent fund is the portion of resources devoted to continuing tenancy on the land. These resources are paid to a landlord, who in turn allows the continued occupation, often providing some service in return, such as military or political protection. Frequently, this need for protection is produced by the landlord.

The fund of rent may take on numerous forms. These include a promised share of agricultural produce, currency, or work on the land reserved specifically for the landlord, the yield of which is his.

The other funds consuming peasant resources, according to Wolf:

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