Reflecting transformation in post-socialist rural areas

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Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Mar 1, 2007 - Business & Economics - 292 pages
The rural reforms in many post-soviet countries produced a number of unintended consequences. The reforms were guided by ideals of romanticized society of family farmers; they were to be the basis of the rural middle-class, together with owners of non-agricultural SME's, acting as guardians of democracy and common good. The guidelines were set by advisers from World Bank and IMF, who preferred family farms or individual farms over the collective enterprises. In most countries the result was nothing like those envisaged by reformers. Instead of efficient and productive family farms, the result was almost complete de-capitalization of agriculture and collapse of production. The reform was destructive not only as far as production is concerned, but more importantly to rural communities. Social ties, which were based on the collective farm as the main economic and social resource for local community, were eroded. Only from the turn of this decade some early stages have been visible of new developments in economic and social life in post-socialist rural areas. The result is that now, more than fifteen years since the beginning of agricultural reforms, the key agricultural producers in Russia, Baltic countries and elsewhere are very large capitalist farms or large agricultural holding companies.This anthology is based on the presentations given at the 5th Aleksanteri Conference 10 - 11 November 2005 in Helsinki, Finland, and it is devoted to the analysis of some of these issues. The volume is divided into two parts, in the first part the focus is on the patterns and problems of transformation of post-socialist agriculture and agricultural policies while the second part is focuses mainly on efforts to revitalize rural communities and issues of local development.

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