Transforming Agrarian Economies: Opportunities Seized, Opportunities Missed

Transforming Agrarian Economies: Opportunities Seized, Opportunities Missed

Transforming Agrarian Economies: Opportunities Seized, Opportunities Missed

Transforming Agrarian Economies: Opportunities Seized, Opportunities Missed

Synopsis

The world's 58 poorest countries share the characteristic of a labor force overwhelmingly dependent on agriculture. Challenging the assumption that mass poverty and chronic hunger are unsolvable problems, this book systematically explores the multiple aspects of economic development in these countries, which are home to 60 percent of the world's population. The authors offer a broad-based development strategy to raise incomes through agricultural productivity growth and expanded rural employment. They present rich new information on the rural informal sector and on agriculture-industry interactions, and they analyze the impact of macroeconomic and social policies on the rural economy. Policy instruments aimed at bringing about broad-based development are carefully assessed - from fiscal policy to development of new seeds and farm implements. The book includes detailed case studies of countries that have seized - or missed - development opportunities.

Excerpt

Can the poorest countries achieve sustained growth while alleviating hunger and other manifestations of mass poverty? the wellbeing of some 60 percent of the world's population depends on the response to this question. These men, women, and children live in the subset of developing countries where the majority of the labor force still depends mainly on agriculture. This book systematically explores the complex challenges of development to identify priorities for action for these CARLs, countries with abundant rural labor.

The authors have used a combined analytical and historical approach, which is summarized in the Introduction, with the aim of placing agricultural development in its widest context. Intense collaboration has been crucial to this effort. Each of the authors with his special skills made contributions to every chapter.

Collaboration is also the keynote for this book in a longer perspective. It continues a series of collaborative ventures begun by Johnston thirty- five years ago. Building on a 1951 paper analyzing technological change in Japanese agriculture, Bruce Johnston and John Mellor conceptually defined agriculture's "four contributions" to the process of economic development in a 1961 paper that is cited widely to this day. in the 1960s Herman Southworth and Johnston coedited a symposium volume, Agricultural Development and Economic Growth, sponsored by the Social Science Research Council, and Johnston examined issues related to struc-

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