READING GROUP The_Challenge_of_3rd_world_development[1]

READING GROUP The_Challenge_of_3rd_world_development[1] -...

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The Challenge of 3 rd world development : CHAPTER 6 Agrarian reform and the politics of rural Change Slightly over half the population of the 3 rd world remains rural, this proportion being much higher than in the developed world. Rural-urban gaps prevail in most of these countries ( i.e. illiteracy, health care and life expectancy). Within the developing world the proportion of the population living in rural areas varies from country to country. Out of the 1.2 billion people living in absolute poverty (inadequate housing, illiteracy, malnutrition, and high infant mortality), 65% live in the country side. Urban bias (power and decision makers reside in cities, thus important decisions are urban biased). Reducing inequities between rural and urban areas remains among the most important challenges of developing nations. Rural Class Structures Within the countryside, there is disparities (agricultural property remains between small groups of people) and this contributes to the creation of rigid class systems, especially in countries like India and Latin America. While East Asia has the most equitable distribution of farmland. - Land owners have been at the top of the class system. Their power in places such as China and Vietnam has declined since the 1950’s. However, landlords in Latin America and much of Asia continue to exercise considerable power. - Middle-sized landlords and rich peasants still work and the land themselves but they can afford to hire additional peasant labor to belong to the national elite and have considerable local political influence. - Rural poor defined as family farmers who maintain traditional lifestyles that are distinct from those of city dwellers. They lack resources that would give them access to markets and credit. This leads to further dependency on merchants, bureaucrats and moneylenders. 2 subgroups : 1) owners of small plots or land for family cultivation 2) landless : generally the poorest of the rural poor. Peasant Politics Peasants have limited political leverage due to poverty, lack of education, dependence on outsiders, and physical isolation. This coupled with a imbedded traditional reluctance and wariness to participate in the outside and modern world limits the peasants capacity for political change or revolution. This suspicion of outside values is not unfounded; past modernization and employment of new technologies have had negative effects especially on the poorest peasants. Peasants do have means of standing up to government and landlord authorities. Peasants have been key actors in most 20 th century revolutions. This discrepancy between those
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This note was uploaded on 08/26/2010 for the course POLI 227 taught by Professor Narendrasubramanian during the Winter '08 term at McGill.

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READING GROUP The_Challenge_of_3rd_world_development[1] -...

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