IDSA01 Chapter 18 Notes.docx

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University of Toronto Scarborough
International Development Studies
Leslie Chan

IDSA01 Introduction to International Development Chapter 18—Rural Development Introduction  livelihoods based largely on subsistence agriculture remain quite vulnerable and are frequently caught in vicious circles or “poverty traps” which are so widespread and enduring that rural poverty can seem inevitable and rural development can seem like it doesn’t achieve its objectives Putting the “Rural” in Context  the “rural” exists in two forms in the assumption that “rural” exists as a real entity that needs to be developed:  material form with a spatial identity: as an area of low population density, agricultural or resource- based in its livelihoods  ideal form: the romance and terror of the “village” of tight knit communities, maternal hearths, and masculine patriarchal power, nature, redolent of fresh air, dirt, hard work and disease and the freedom of isolation and desolation  what also underpins this is the ideal that rural areas are everything urban is not, an urban area must typically contain a certain non-agricultural production base and minimum population level—the opposite of this is classified as rural  four characteristics of “rurality”:  a relative abundance of natural capital (land, water, soil, trees, etc.) and therefore a dependence on and vulnerability to the unpredictable elements of the natural environment  a relative abundance of labour which is structured on the basis of gender and age  a relative isolation (because of remoteness, internal distances or lack of infrastructure) that results in a high cost of movement and limited ability to participate in politics  relative important of social factors in structuring access to resources  three different “rural worlds” (evolutionary model)  agriculture-based countries—agriculture is a dominant component of overall GDP and where most of the poor are in rural areas, e.g. sub-Saharan Africa  transforming countries—agriculture is no longer a major contributor to economic growth but rural poverty remains widespread, e.g. India, China, Indonesia, Thailand  urbanized countries—poverty is predominantly urban but rural poverty exists, e.g. Latin America countries, Eastern Europe, Central Asia  however defining rural based on spatial and economic features privileges the knowledge of urban-based elites whereas the rural may be recognizable to rural inhabitants through social or cultural attributes and those might also be the solutions to problems rather than economic responses (e.g. peasant societies are known for their hierarchal structures but resilience and complexity) Rural Livelihoods and Diversifications  a livelihood as a whole represents the capabilities, assets (material and social resources) and activities acquired for a means of living  it is sustainable when it can cope with and recover from stresses and shocks, maintain or enhance its capabilities and assets, while not undermining its natural resource base  in rural areas the seasonal fluctuations of climate drive the viability of different activities within an agricultural calendar and oblige individuals and households to consider multiple strategies if they are to exploit their environment and flourish Rural Transformations Societal Perspectives on Rural Transformation th  before the development era of the 20 century the world had lived through several restructurings of rural landscapes and communities of the Industrial Revolution, peasant rebellions in the time of the Roman Empire and medieval Europe and feudal Asia, and colonial upheavals  the context of present-day rural poverty is framed either in relation to Japan (labour-rich but with limited land resources) or the United States (land-rich by with scarce labour until the twentieth century)  rights to land can be usufruct (use-rights such as cultivation, tree-planting or cutting) through to the rights or full ownership; people of landless households are thus obliged to labour on the farms of others in exchange for wages or shares of the crop (“sharecropping”) Rural Development in Japan: Intensification  the experience of Japan during the Meiji restoration was framed that it had a limited land base and abundant rural population and since new land could not be brought into Japan, agricultural production and the rural economy grew through agricultural intensification increasing the overall crop output of the land by increasing inputs of labour, capital, knowledge and technological resources Rural Development in the US: Extensification  the United States had abundant and cheap land but relatively scarce and expensive labour which meant that the overall output was increased through agricultural extensification, by expanding the areas cultivated—concluded to be most relevant in an African context Cultural and Technological Perspectives on Rural Transformation  Ester Boserup—an increase in population density is an independent variable sufficient to trigger agricultural intensification and the technological innovations needed to support it  Malthus—land was the ultimate constraint against population growth, technological changes could improve food production but these innovations were random and not in response to population pressures  Marx—economic growth is powered by technological change in the interest of landowners and not the rural population, greater intensification r
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