“Laws can perpetuate an instrument of production, e.g. land, in certain families. Those laws only receive an economic meaning if large-scale landed property is in harmony with social production, as for example in England. In France small-scale agriculture was carried on in spite of large-scale  landed property, hence large-scale landed property was broken up by the revolution. But the perpetuation of the parceling out [of land] by laws, for example? In spite of those laws, property again concentrates itself. The influence of laws towards retention of the relations of distribution, and thereby their effect on production, is to be determined in particular cases.” [Karl Marx, ‘Introduction’ to the ‘Grundrisse’ (1857)] [in Karl Marx, a cura di Terrell Carver, Texts on method, 1975]