PEASANT ECONOMICS Dr. Jane Granskog California State University, Bakersfield
Major Components of Peasant Economic Systems • Modes of production (based on characteristics of the ecosystem) • Mechanisms of exchange betweenpeasants (non-capitalist reciprocity & redistribution) and between peasants and the Larger Society (capitalist market exchange)
IMPACT OF THE ECOSYSTEM UPON SOCIAL ORGANIZATION According to Netting, there are three key dimensions that mark the ways in which the ecosystem influences/affects the characteristics of the social organization. He refers to these dimensions as social instrumentalities.
The Three Social Instrumentalities: • The density and spacial distribution of the population; • The structure and composition of work groups; and • The rights to the means of production (who has them as well as what the "rights" encompass).
FORMS OF PRODUCTION - PEASANT ECOTYPES There are two general categories that peasant ecotypes fall into: (1) paleotechnic (2) neotechnic
PRESENCE OF ECOTYPES Which ECOTYPE is dominant varies depending on the socio-cultural context. However, the availability of land, labor, the length of the growing season, as well as the types of crops grown and accessibility to the outside, and the way in which all of these factors interact can affect the strategies followed and the kind of ecotype that exists.
PALEOTECHNIC ECOTYPES • Predominant form of ecotype up to mid 19th century; • Relies upon human labor and animals as a major source of power.
PALEOTECHNIC ECOTYPES • Includes a wide variety of types from slash and burn/swidden agriculture and other labor extensive strategies w/ low level technology to • Hydraulic (irrigation) agriculture which is highly labor intensive but can be very productive (basis of early complex civilizations).
NEOTECHNIC ECOTYPES • Rely upon technological advances (new crops, animal breeds) & mechanization (use of combustible fuels) as a major source of power. • Include year around farming w/ crop rotation, use of fertilizer, specialized agricultural strategies ( e.g., dairy farming; crops of the tropics -- coffee, cotton, sugar cane etc.; truck farming; etc.)
NEOTECHNIC ECOTYPES • These ecotypes are often laborextensive (because of mechanization). • They correspond to the production of cash crops for the market. • A recent variation within the past few decades includes the effects of agroindustrialization and transnational migration
TYPES OF EXCHANGE • Systems of exchange describe the socio-economic networks that link individuals and groups to one another within a community and with a wider extra-community network. • For peasants, based on Wolf, there are 3 dimensions involved in the system of exchange relations:
Dimensions of Exchange Relations: • Degree to which the household relies on an external market (marks relative degree of self-sufficiency of the household); • The degree to which the external market must process goods before consumption; & • The system of distribution of goods, modes of exchange that are prevalent.
Three modes of exchange - Status Economies and Market Exchange • Reciprocity and redistribution are based on role obligations and are called status economies. • Market exchange involves the exchange of goods and services at prices (defined by the medium of exchange - money) regulated by supply and demand (i.e., the capitalist market).
Reciprocity • exchange of goods and services ("gift giving") between social units that are similar in organization but not always equal in rank; • serves as a strategy to hedge one's bets, e.g., exchange of goods between households, (guelaguetza), between fictive kin, and/or between groups/castes/jati w/in the Indian jajmani system.
Redistribution • Has two elements, an inflow of goods and services to a central administrative center, and • a later outflow involving re-allotment of some point to individual households encompassed by redistributive system, e.g., fiesta.
Market Exchange • Peasants have characteristically manifested partial participation in imperfect markets. • Amounts of goods and services traded have been often in small amounts on an intermittent basis. • Changes within the past decades have led to increasingly complex participation in global markets
TYPES OF MARKETS Wolf notes two types of markets that historically peasants have participated in (often are involved in both types simultaneously): sectional markets • network markets
Sectional Markets • Links sets of communities within a given region (local) whose economic mainstay is subsistence agriculture • each also has a characteristic craft that it is known for and sells in the market (are traditional community monopolies); • communities act as a unit in interaction with outside market;
Sectional Markets • exchange relations between individuals are single purpose (single-stranded) between peasants of similar status (horizontal); • markets are not totally free or open (prices fluctuate within a range defined by community monopolies), are thus stable; are held on a weekly or semi-weekly basis.
Network Markets • are part of the national and international - global - economic system; • guided strictly by supply & demand (are free and open) w/out traditional monopolies and • are very unstable; often involve exchange between peasants and non-peasant middlemen (vertical & horizontal exchanges); • are held on a daily basis.
Factors Inhibiting Market Participation • operate close to the margin - restrictive ecosystem • lack of capital, resources, access to credit • increased participation recently may be primarily in terms of the ‘informal economy’
Kearney argues that modern essentialist conceptions of 'traditional' 'peasants' in relation to the superordinate 'modern' state (L.S.) described in terms of modernization theory and later dependency theory are inadequate to describe the dynamic strategies such 'peasants'/rural populations employ to cope with changing socio-economic conditions.
Basis of Articulation Theory (Kearney ) • dismantles the distinction between 'traditional' and 'modern' by showing how both are bound into circuits of exchange that fuel their differentiation • rests upon the conception of articulated v.s. disarticulated economies.
Articulated Economies • Characterized by developed societies at the core of the world system • Correspondence exits between production of capital goods (Sector I) and the production of consumption goods (Sector II) • Is an articulation between capitalists and laborers
Sectorially and Socially Disarticulated Economies • Located at the periphery of the world capitalist system - two types - export enclave and import substitutions • Traditional sector - source of low wage labor for the externally oriented modern sector which depends on export of luxury goods to developed nations in return for capital investment
Disarticulated Economies • The impoverished rural noncapitalist agriculturalists/semiproletarian rural workers oriented toward subsistence provide the cheap food and labor that serve as the basis of accumulation for the modern sector • Is a "functional dualism with subsistence agriculture"
Significance of Articulation Theory • Describes the complex interaction of capitalist and non-capitalist modes of production while • "dissolving the categorical distinction between them" that underlies previous dualistic perceptions of rural people "as essentially either peasants or proletariats"
Significance of Articulation Theory • Implies that "capitalism as a global phenomenon does not just subsume developed and de-developed poles • its inner workings generate and perpetuate noncapitalistic forms
TYPES OF DOMAIN • Refers to the ultimate ownership or control over the use of a given area. • Four types noted by Wolf: • patrimonial - merchantile • prebendal - administrative
TYPES OF DOMAIN • patrimonial - rights that are inherited e.g., as in feudal rights of lord of manor; may involve community control over resource disposal; • prebendal - not inherited but granted by government to officials who draw tribute - tax farmers;
TYPES OF DOMAIN • merchantile - land is private property, owner has exclusive rights of use and disposal, rents it out (e.g. hacienda system; and • administrative - state economies (e.g. China) group land into "collectives" for mass production, state dictates what will be produced;
TYPES OF DOMAIN • Forms are not mutually exclusive - mix and relative importance of different forms determines organizational profile of particular social order. • It is the way the pattern of social relations is used by powerholders which is decisive in shaping the profile of the whole system.
TYPES OF DOMAIN • overall effect of capitalist agriculture - erodes autonomy of small producers leading to "their increasing incorporation into increasingly distant and complex forms of control and surplus extraction" via transnational and regional migration • defines a 5th domain -- agroindustrialization --emerged within the past several decades