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"We know what brings about a transformation of opportunities and it is not this."
A critique of, well, exactly what I'm doing.
The poverty of African peasants is not accidental: it is intrinsic to the peasant mode of economic organization. The very features that make the peasant mode of production appear attractive to jaded members of an industrialized society also make it unproductive. Large scale organization of specialized production, and integration into markets, are fundamental to the generation of income at a level that we now regard as necessary for a decent quality of life. We have been blinded to this evident fact by our own romantic attachment to the preservation of a society which is the antithesis of the modern.
I don't disagree with any of it. But the structural changes he's talking about require a really farsighted agricultural and industrial policy, which is not on the horizon. They also, in order to produce better lives in the near term, rather than in the glorious future, require a careful migration path. For most farmers, land is their only real asset. How will they be recompensed, resettled, reintegrated? These questions aren't even being asked yet. So I think there is a place for efforts to improve farmers' incomes right now, before any grand plans take shape.

The GMO thing is a red herring, I think he throws it in for shock value. The real issue is the move to efficient, large-scale farming.


last timestamped: 14:59:56 02-Nov-2009
in categories:Commerce/InternationalDevelopment, Other/Agriculture, OneAcreFund

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