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Farming and market systems

Farming and market systems

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Farming and market systems

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  1. Farming and market systems

  2. Reviewing the transition to agriculture. • Occurrence • Mid-east • Central America • China • Explanatory issues • Diffusion or independent invention.. • Causal relation to population growth

  3. Types of food growers Tribal horticulturists Peasants Serfs Slaves Modern industrial farmers Collectivized communes

  4. Tribal horticulturists Technology: shifting cultivation Dependence on rainfall Subsistence orientation No urban market linkages No taxation

  5. “Domestic” ownership of crops Questions of ownership and sharing Land was held by the kin group. Individual families had “usufruct” rights over land Each family had automatic access to land. Each family produced and owned its own crops. Labor was shared, but crops belonged to a family.

  6. “Peasants” • Are under the control of a government. • Live in societies with an urban population. • Are the food growers for the urban population. • Their produce is siphoned to the urban pop. By • Coercive taxation or tribute • Voluntary market transactions • May pay rent. • “Subsistence” vs. market orientation

  7. Peasant lifeways and social status Many are integrated linguistically and culturally They may have local languages and religious customs They tend to be looked down upon by urbanites. Relatively low level of wealth. Low access to health care and schooling. Massive exodus now from the rural areas.

  8. Serfs Elements in a “feudal” system. King or emperor gives land to nobility. Nobility assigns land to serfs. Serfs have to pay rent, in cash or kind. Serfs have to work the land of the nobles. Serfs are bound to the land. May not leave.

  9. Agrarian Slaves The issue of “energy harnessing”, energy capture Varieties of slavery in human history. The sub-Saharan African slave trade. Began with Islam, shipped to North Africa. Domestic slavery. European plantations and the “Triangular Trade”. Mechanisms of capture. House slaves vs. field slaves. Provision plots. Slave markets.

  10. Impacts of slavery Slave languages: Creole languages. Slave religion: Vodou, Santeria. Theories of racial superiority and inferiority.

  11. Collectivized agriculture:the Soviet kholkhoz • Begun by Stalin from 1927 onward. • Unrelated to writings of Karl Marx. • Designed by urban bureaucrats who had never farmed. • Destruction of family farming. • Coercive in nature: people bound to the kholkhoz. • Intended goals: • Boost agricultural production. • Increase food supply for the urban population. • Increase foreign exports. • Results: decreased production and famine. • Resisters were killed or sent to Siberia.

  12. Later experiences with collectivization Widespread imitation of Russian agrarian policy. The North Korean experience. The Cuban experience The Chinese experience.

  13. Chinese agriculture in the past • Dates back 8,000 years • Beginning 2,500 years ago: irrigation systems • Begining some 2,100 years ago, 2 inventions • Cast iron tools • Beast of burden to plough. • Ox-driven waterwheel for irrigation and urban drinking • Introduction of 2-yearly rice • Downside: feudalism, land concentration, rent paying

  14. The People’s Republic of China:Early phases • 1950: Elimination of landlordism, distribution of land to 300 million farmers. • 1952: beginning of collectivization. First “teams” then “collectives”. • 1958: imposition of communes. • Private farming was criminalized. • Collective eating imposed. • Result: famine. • 1978: begin dismantling communes. • Family Production Responsibility System. • `

  15. Contemporary farming in China • Most food is now sold on the free market. • Farmers hold land under long term rental • Farmers make their own land use and marketing decisions. • Dilemmas: • Urban-rural wealth disparities • Industrialization displaces farmers from land • Forced or voluntary movement into urban areas. • Marginal legal status and exclusion from services.

  16. Voluntary agrarian collectivization:The case of the Israeli kibbutz. • Begun in Palestine in the early 20th century. • A combination of Zionism and Socialism • Members joined voluntarily. • All property was collective. • Couples lived together but children lived separately. • Eating was in a common dining hall. • Israelis have abandoned the agrarian kibbutz. • Has been replaced by the moshav: • Private land and houses. • Cooperative inputs and marketing.

  17. Summary The family unit has historically been at the core of food production. Land at first was not privately owned; but crops and livestock were. Sharing took the form of voluntary cooperative labor exchange. Collectivized farming, whether voluntary or coercive, fails. Industrial world farming is now done by corporations, not families. In China family farming is now the backbone of the agrarian economy.