INTD 200 Lecture Notes - Commodification, Milkfish, Seagrass
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Rural Development and The Sustainable Livelihood
Approach 12/5/12 1:19 AM
Take home: 2 essays, one from McAllister, one from Allemand, each essay 3
pages double spaced.
Characteristics of a ‘Peasant’/Peasant Household
1. Dominant economic activity is smallholder farming (crops, livestock) !
can also be applied to fishers, and pastoralists
2. Access to land basis for their livelihood (tenure very important) !
property rights is really important
3. “One foot in the market, the other in subsistence”. Partial integration into
“imperfect markets”. The markets are not operating with fair competition.
4. Pluri-activity ! diversity of activities within and between households, cash
and in-kind income, farm, off-farm and non-farm income
• in-kind income: what they produce for themselves
• Farm income: anything that you grow on your land
• Off-Farm income: income gained not from your land, but possibly
selling your labour; still has to do with farming but not on your land
• Non-Farm income: things that have nothing to do with farming
(store, remittances, etc…)
5. Unit of production and consumption (the household is both a family and
• what do you sell and what do you keep?
6. Family/household labour is defining economic characteristic (although
may hire or sell labour seasonally)
7. Access to financial capital and ‘capital’ equipment is often limited or
• tractors, agricultural inputs
• credit/loans, middlemen, merchants, money lends,
8. Marginal/subordinate ! surplus production is extracted
• prices they get at market is usually lower than the usual going
9. Thick social networks (“Moral Economy”, James Scott)
• Webs of mutual assistance as social safety net
• Kinship and community networks
• Labour exchange networks
• Reciprocity and food sharing
• Patron-client relations
What is a Peasant?
“Peasants are households which derive their livelihoods mainly from
agriculture, utilize mainly family labour in farm production and are
characterised by partial engagement in input and output markets which are
often imperfect or incomplete”.
Economic Principles that govern Peasant Behaviour/Decisions
• labour intensive/capital intensive
• limited resources
• trade off between different activities
• comparative advantage
2. Risk aversion/subsistence security vs. high productivity
• risk management
• more focus on subsistence than on high productivity
• take calculated risks to improve their life in the future
3. Drudgery aversion/seasonal labour constraints
• avoid certain task they don’t want to do
• some seasons are more labour intensive than others
• Development projects need to take into account the agricultural
4. Also – desire to improve well-being/next generation.
• Investment in the next generation
• Risk management
What is a Community?
Rural village/community is not homogenous, or uniform.
• Households divided by social differences: class, wealth, ethnicity,
access to resources, land, political power, etc…
• Demographic differences (dependency ration)
• Different interests
• Different assets
What is a Household?
Conventional Understanding: HH as a unit of decision making, co-residence,
shared food, shared resources.
1. Socially Divided: gender, age, etc… , influence, power, decision making,
• gender roles
• how food is distributed
• who actually receives the money earned
2. Not necessarily “spatially” bound
• Kinship/reciprocity bonds beyond “house”
• Resource access beyond village (circular migration, international
• Could share food and resources with those outside the boundaries
of the physical house
• People of the household could work in the city, so resources are not
actually from the community
• Circular migration: seasonal migration
“coalition of players committed by choice or custom to act as a unit with
respect to the rest of the world”
“A livelihood comprises the assets, the activities, and the access to these
(mediated by social relations) that together determine the living gained by
the individual or household”
• How people make a living
• Can be viewed on different scales: household, individual, gender,
Assets: 5 Capitals
1. Natural Capital: land, forest, water, trees,
2. Physical Capital: roads, buildings, technologies, tractors, built materials
• consumer goods: used for the consumers enjoyment
• producer goods: to be reinvested in livelihood
3. Human Capital: knowledge, health, skills, education
4. Financial Capital: money, income, ability to access credit
5. Social Capital: social network, trusting networks, labour exchange,
Access to Various “Capitals” Mediated Through:
1. Social Relations