Class Dynamics of Agrarian Change

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Kumarian Press, 2010 - Business & Economics - 142 pages
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Development processes are never neutral. They impact various groups and classes of people differently. A high food price may benefit some rich peasants who produce and sell food surplus, but it may disadvantage landless rural laborers. A project on irrigation may benefit those who own the land, but not the landless tenants. Nowadays, official documents by governments and development agencies tend to lump different groups of people into vague categories like rural poor. This might be useful in some cases, but in large part this thinking can harm the poorest of the poor.

Using Marx’s theory of capitalism, Class Dynamics of Agrarian Change argues that class dynamics should be the starting point of any analysis of agrarian change. It provides an accessible introduction to agrarian political economy while showing clearly how the argument for bringing class back in provides an alternative to inherited conceptions of the agrarian question. It illustrates what is at stake in different ways of thinking about class dynamics and the effects of agrarian change in today’s globalized world.
 

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Contents

The Political Economy of Agrarian Change
1
Production and Productivity
13
Origins and Early Development of Capitalism
25
Colonialism and Capitalism
39
Farming and Agriculture Local and Global
61
Neoliberal Globalization and World Agriculture
79
Capitalist Agriculture and NonCapitalist Farmers?
89
Class Formation in the Countryside
101
Complexities of Class
115
Glossary
124
References
131
Index
139
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About the author (2010)

Henry Bernstein is Professor of Development Studies in the University of London at the School of Oriental and African Studies, and Adjunct Professor in the College of Humanities and Development Studies, China Agricultural University, Beijing.

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