The Agrarian Question in the Neoliberal Era: Primitive Accumulation and the Peasantry

The Agrarian Question in the Neoliberal Era: Primitive Accumulation and the Peasantry

Language: English

Pages: 96

ISBN: 0857490389

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

A compelling and critical destruction of both the English agricultural revolution and the theory of comparative advantage, upon which unequal trade has been justified for three centuries, this account argues that these ideas have been used to disguise the fact that the North—from the time of colonialism to the present day—has used the much greater agricultural productivity of the South to feed and improve the living standards of its own people while impoverishing the South. At the same time, the imposition of neoliberal “reforms” in the African continent has led to greater unemployment, spiraling debt, land and livestock losses, reduced per capita food production, and decreased nutrition. Arguing that political stability hangs in the balance, this book calls for labor-intensive small-scale production, new thinking about which agricultural commodities are produced, the redistribution of the means of food production, and increased investment in rural development. The combined effort of African and Indian scholarly work, this account demands policies that defend the land rights of small producers and allow people to live with dignity.

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Germany is zero and no figure of cost of production, leave alone relative cost, can be derived. If coffee output in Germany is zero and will always be zero, obviously we cannot say how much machinery can be produced by shifting resources out by reducing coffee production by one unit, and compare it with the figure for Tanzania. The specific form of material fallacy into which Ricardo falls is the ‘converse fallacy of accident’. The fallacy of accident arises when a general premise is applied to

and Chandrasekhar, C.P. (eds) Work and Wellbeing in the Age of Finance, Delhi, Tulika ——(2003b) ‘Global capitalism, deflation and agrarian crisis in developing countries’, Social Policy and Development Programme, paper no. 13, United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), October ——(2003c) ‘Food stocks and hunger – causes of agrarian distress’, Social Scientist, 31(7 – 8) July – August ——(2005) ‘Ricardo’s fallacy’, in Jomo, K.S., Pioneers of Development Economics, Delhi,

to the inequitable grabbing of land, such as land occupations and other forms of struggle for access to resources, are mostly isolated and localised, although some are gaining momentum (Moyo and Yeros 2005, Patel forthcoming). Rebuilding the African peasantry is a key front of resistance to the ongoing primitive and wider capitalist accumulation that is happening to the detriment of Africa’s agrarian transition. Its production is based on self-employed family labour and wage remittances on

they are poor and advising them that they can only grow richer by exporting. In the economic literature the heavy, one-sided import dependence of advanced countries on developing nations is completely ignored. The reality is that if developing countries had actually been resource poor, they would not have attracted the acquisitive greed of the emerging merchant capitalists of today’s advanced countries; the North would not have found it worthwhile to colonise the South. When traders became

negligible and the direction of the import – export balance was reversed. Net grain imports started and grew slowly but steadily from the beginning of the 1790s. Imports doubled by the decade 1810 – 19 and again by 1830 – 39 to 1.3 million quarters or 16,230 tons. From Figure 1 we see that as domestic per head output fell the net imports start rising. However, this figure must be read carefully as the variables are plotted on different axes, and the absolute import figures translate into an

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