Nash defines industrial development as one of three major revolutions in the development of societies and cultures. The first was the development of culture and tool using which was diffuse in its emergence, the second and third-- the neolithic settlements and the industrial revolution, respectively-- were successively more restrictive. In terms of production capacity, which one would assume to be inextricably related to the development of a society or culture, innovation and the transition from subsistence production occurs along one of two directions. The first has been described by Boserup (1965) as an endogenous process resulting by the demands placed by population growth. This sequence is most applicable in the context of Western Europe. The second sequence relates more to the conditions of underdeveloped areas today-- an exogenous sequence under capitalism of "persistent impoverishment of the former subsistence producers by small minorities of ruling elite groups, nationally and internationally" (Beckford, 1974) With the penetration of such exogenous processes, certain internal processes follow. The introduction of a monetary economy, for example, tends to decrease the amount of time spent on subsistence with an increase in ceremonial expenditure, and there is typically internal differentiation and a weakening of the corporate group. Such a process is not always carried to its logical conclusion, however, owing to the strength of the peasant social structure there may be a movement toward nativism' or the 'remade peasant'.
Peasant involvement in the new order typically begins with labor. Some peasants will migrate to sources of wage-work, while others become tagriculturalised': the non-agricultural activities being taken over through,the industrial processes. The types of peasant production become increasingly determined by market prices and economizing, rather than by use-value. Shanin (1976) identifies two general outcomes: with peasantry which are integrated into industrial society, "regional diversity and marginal exchange give way to local heterogeneity and national division of labor while exchange of goods and money traffic increase...... The other possibility is an "agricultural involution... (where) market exchange remains limited or even a reverse process may take place....retreating into semi-autarchy determined by poverty...." The first type arises where industrialisation and investment in agriculture drew out wage-labor from the peasant community, while the agricultural sector became mechanised. General exchange-values take the place of use-values, which leads to the disintegration of traditional social networks and factors of production are released to earn their exchange-value on the market.
The task of social disintegration having succeeded, the more delicate task of integration must proceed. As opposed to the utilitarian rationale for a laissez-faire pure economic system, Durkheim stressed "that one of the concomitants of a growing division of labor is an increase in mechanisms to coordinate and solidify the interaction among individuals with increasingly diversified interests"(Smelser in Dalton, 1967). Even the most highly developed economic system, therefore, is not without its embedding and enmeshing institutions-- they only become more removed and increasingly bureaucratic in administration, rather than lodged in personal relations. Polanyi suggests that England had been saved from even greater distress owing to the efforts of the Tudors and Stuarts in slowing down the process of economic improvement. There improvement brought "havoc with the habitation of the common people... (and) dehumanized (them) into slum dwellers...... (Polanyi, 1944) The same pattern is not unlike that common to developing nations today.
Despite the efforts of disintegration and reintegration, often contrary results are derived from development policies than are intended. This is precisely related, again, to the social nature of the peasant economy. It is this nature which maintains the peasant village's distance from modernity. Leveling mechanisms continue to operate and be reinforced during the process. There is also a selective character of rural emigration in which those peasants who are motivated to leave the village are either the wealthiest or poorest strata, hence the most change prone-- leaving the village even more homogenous and static.
A more positive illustration is provided by Nash of Cantel in Meso-America. Here an industry was located near the village for geographic reasons, allowing the peasantry to commute from the village to work. Many of the social interrelations within the community remain undisturbed even as the community as a whole prospers from the increased income. To quote Nash:
Cantel teaches the general lesson that the upheavals in people's lives which often go along with industrialisation are not built into the process itself.... They are probably, instead, the result of people's seeing themselves and others in some way that that does not necessarily correspond to reality: Perhaps as passive agents mechanically responding to immutable forces, perhaps as pawns in political chess games, perhaps as expendable material in economic plans (Nash, 1966)
The integrative capacity at Cantel is not difficult to grasp.
The industrial commuter exemplifies the same qualities when he commutes downtown for his differentiating economic activities and returns to the suburb for his integrative home-oriented activities. The Cantel Indian only differs in that his home-orientation differs.
The second type of situation described by Shanin, ie. those societies of 'agricultural involution', generally share a common characteristic: a colonial past and/or neo-colonial present. The ruling class remains linked with landlordism and there is a growing urban/rural division within the population. Investment in agriculture is lacking as the agricultural surplus is drained out of rural areas by the landed elite for consumption purposes. The nature of exchange remains principally exploitative in;,nature. Where once there may ahve been plantations which extracted the agricultural surplus for the colonial powers, leaving nothing in the wake in terms of technological change for selfsustaining growth, there may now be an exploitative relation between the hinterland and the "mestizos who live in the nuclear city". The city maintains the link between the peasant economy and the central markets of Europe, North America and Japan. The peasant economy "becomes linked to the national one by a particular dialectic relation in which the very advance of peasant agriculture provides the base of industrialisation and urbanisation and contributes to the destruction of the peasantry" (Shanin)
The economic structure of these societies are determined by continued domination by the elite class-- often incorporated into government. The result is a marketable surplus from the peasant producer and an unequal exchange of resources. By keeping agricultural wages low, the government may in turn reduce the prices of agricultural produce, and thereby keep urban wages low and, finally, keep profits high. At the same time, tariffs and other trade restrictions have served to foster industrial development within the political jurisdiction, causing an artificial price increase in manufactured goods. In turn, the real wage (in terms of purchasing power) is further reduced for the agricultural se ctor relative to the urban-industrial sector. If this peasant subordination did not continue, it is almost certain that production , for the market would decline (at least in the short run), meaning that agricultural prices would increase causing a decline in the real wage of the urban-industrial worker. It is no wonder, then, that peasant movements receive little support from their urban counterpart.
Aside from the social elements within the peasant community already touched upon, in such situations there are definite societal and economic structures inconducive to economic improvement within the superordinate system. The basic feature of such systems is that factor rmrkets are highly imperfect. The implicit rental rate for land and capital tend to be smaller for the large landlord than for the household. Moreover, monopsony-- the control of labor wages by controlling production or other factors of production-- is induced by land concentration and the use of excessive inputs of capital keeping unemployment high. Without artificial factor prices, induced by favorable government policies, labor would be employed more relative to capital in capital-poor countries, owing to the abundance of the former and scarcity of the latter. This occurs in small land holdings. Labor is employed as it was in the traditional peasant model, to the point where marginal product of labor approaches zero. A high rate of investment, which in turn would increase the productivity of labor (by reducing its input), is not necessarily, therefore, an improvement in the condition of the rural popuulation. Indeed, as was demonstrated in the rebellion at Morelos, Mexico it may be the cause of much distress.
Government policies support the mechanisation of large properties at a cost to the small in order to increase the amount of produce for the market, not the total agricultural produce. In changing these policies, there would simultaneously follow an increase in'market prices and an improvement in the welfare of the rural populations. The evidence remains that despite the marginal quality of peasant holdings, due to the intensive agricultural methods employedithese small holdings outproduce the larger commercial farms per area of land (Griffin, 1974) The cost of this increased yield is the greater labor input, but as has been stressed, that input is almost freely obtainable-- having no opportunity cost-- and if not employed in such a manner, would form the slum-inhabitants of the burgeoning city. The large farmers, in contrast, "produced less per hectar, provided less employment, and were relatively more extravagant in their use of scarce capital resources. This is a characteristic of large farmers whether or not they innovate"(Griffin).
The justification of the large farms is usually grounded still in the motivation to innovate. The small, near-subsistence producer is said to retain the traditional production methods even when more effective methods are made available. The reasons for this is often leveled at the social factors previously discussed. Yet we know from our micro-analysis that the peasant remains influenced by market prices and opportunities. The economic decision is only conditioned by noneconomic criteria. In recognizing that the peasant unit of production is also a social unit-- generally, the family-- we know that risks will be minimized where they threaten the continued welfare of that family. Any new technology to be adopted on a broad scale in the peasant hinterland must promise not only larger harvests in good years, but fewer bad years. And it must do so from the initial implementation. The 'Green Revolution' did not do this, but required greater capital inputs, irrigation, etc. which were largely controlled by the large commercial farms. As a result, the 'Green Revolution' not only affected output but also the distribution of income. For any innovation to become accessible to the peasant producer, his basic subsistence needs must be assured, and it must be accompanied by structural changes-- at least in a reduction of the pre-existing biases against him-- to enable its implementation.
The choices for government policy, regardless of political afiliation, must balance two, oftentimes conflicting objectives. The first is the development of urban and industrial,- centers which enable import substitution and diminish the flight of capital. The second is to minimize the fragmentation and frustration of therural population. Agriculture contributes to general economic growth not only in providing the raw agricultural output, but also in providing factor supplies (generally labor) and providing linkages with other :sectors of the economy (in demands for goods and services). In light of the combined respects, "agriculture's contribution is greatest where food output is geared heavily in initial stages ... ;where incomes are evenly distributed and output is rising; and where there are no great disparities in social relationships" (Beckford)
Policy options will differ according to political emphasis. The 'betting on the strong' option is the promotion of large scale capitalist farming. This increases the flow of produce to the urban sectors, maintains low agricultural wages, conservatism and conspicuous consumption on the part of the elites. The peasantry lose their land without being absorbed into wage labor which "can only lead to severe and ever worsening social and economic problems"(Shanin) The 'Green Revolution' in Shanin's estimation provides the testing ground for such an option. "The poor strata of peasantry lose ground... caught between on the one hand farms which are rapidly mechanising, increasing in size and intensively run on capitalist lines, and on the other the limited labour market in towns" (Ibid)
In contrast, the 'betting on the mass' throught the implementation of the capital intensive and efficient family farm implies "fuller employment and better use of scarce resources in farming together with a broadening of the market" (Ibid). It has the further advantage of gaining peasant goodwill, but the restriction of thinly spread state capital and slow implementation of new techniques. Modifications on this theme would include 'communal development' and rural cooperatives as exemplified in the American Mid-West and proposed by Chayanov. "Such 'verticle integration' of family farms enables them to benefit from large scale organisation when it pays while not committing them to it when it does not and leaves the scope for running cooperation from below" (Ibid). The results so far, however, are not always encouraging.
Collectivisation, on the other hand, assumes superiority in large enterprises (which is true only within a discrete range) and is directed from above. Organisation has a tendency to be bureaucratically administered and yields anomosity from the peasantry. The inefficiency and interrelations thus provoked have in turn been less than satisfactory. "Izvestia recently noted that it is common to see one freight train loaded with lumber heading east while another train with a similar load heads west" (Newsweek, April 12, 1982). The Russian peasant today has been transformed, or is it just another dominating elite-- the nobles gave way to the bureaucracy:
Private plots where collective farmers can cultivate their own crops account for only 1.5 percent of the Soviet Union's farmland, but they produce about one-third of its total agricultural output other than grain. Even in this area production is stagnant and,;in the case of milk, declining. At a time of feed shortages, the state farms almost certainly get first call on grain supplies. The private plots have also been hurt by the general aging of the farm population as younger people flee the rural life. Brezhnev has loosened some of the restrictions on what the private plots may raise; he has also begun to stress the importance of the plots to the over-all agricultural system. But most of these changes have only been tinkering. (Ibid)
Beckford suggests a ranking of systems based upon both economic and non-economic criteria by order of development potential as follows: the Socialist-People:s communal (e.g. China); the 'Special Case' (i.e. the commercial fiirm-farm in capitalist economies; the U.S. Mid-West); the Socialist-Bureaucratic (e.g. Russia); the 'pure' peasant; the Feudal; and the Plantation system. It should be reemphasized that if any sort.of land reform is to be implemented, land access is not sufficient. Land reform must be accompanied by general agrarian reform:
The very capacity of the peasant to absorb and successfully cultivate new land (and not let it slip rapidly into other hands) is conditioned b a variety of additional measures: provision of credit and/or equipment, new market outlets, reorganization of local authority, services, changes in the structure of production.... (Shanin)
Moreover, if we do succeed in re-integrating.the peasant economies, we should be certain that the result is a definite improvement. Formal economics might at this juncture absorb some of the lessons of the substantive methods. With the introduction of subjective hierarchies of value (which is required in substantive analysis) concepts such as time (or labor-time) are used as indications of value. But some assumption as to the value of what labor produces must still be abstracted from the process (i.e. the surplus value of labor). As commodities develop an autonomous existence as exchange-values, rather than use-values, further assumptions must be made. As a group of alienated individuals, the market prices are discrete assigned values. But in a broader time and social horizon, such prices may not indicate the ultimate values. With the introduction of money, the Siane "will soon know the price of everything and the value of nothing" (Frankenberg in Firth).
Not only should the methods of production come under the scrutiny of the economist, but perhaps the products should themselves. The interrelation of two factors make this paramount: the emphasis on individual consumption (as opposed to a social unit), and; the unequal distribution of income.
Emphasis on the individual, rather than the collective, consumption means that many more durable consumer goods will be produced than is necessary. Individually owned washing machines, television sets and lawn mowers that sit idle most of the time use resources that could have been used to supply those same consumer durables to all of the people on a collective basis (for example, laundromats and community centers) ....
(In) a poor country, a highly unequal income distribution means that clinics for organ transplants will be built in the capital city instead of water purification systems in the villages, automobiles will be manufactured instead of buses, country clubs will be constructed instead of schools, Coca-Cola plants will be built instead of dairies, and so on. Both types of output cannot be produced simultaneously in a country having a low level of national income. (Wilber and Weaver, in Wilber, 1973)
In many underdeveloped areas, owing to the structural composition, development is generally tn the context of consumer oriented luxury goods designed to raise the urban standard of living rather than the welfare of the greater population. The process is aggravated by the introduction of the multinational corporation and its marketing practices. The technologies of the MNC's are typically capital intensive, increasing the uneveness of the income distribution, the advertisement techniques of the oligopolies further illicit the agricultural surplus via the landed elite into consumption goods as opposed to investment goods.
With the introduction of industry into the emerging economies, a further responsibility befalls the development planner. Following the substantiation of Cantel, we introduce the notion of 'tools for for conviviality'. The name was established on social grounds by Illich (1973), but is rampant in development literature under the technological heading of 'intermediate, or appropriate technologies'. The technological heading implies the use of labor intensive tools until an endogenous capital base is established. In Illich's usage, however, the concern is ultimate, not transitional:
Every aspect of industrial societies has become part of a larval system for escalating production and increasing the demand necessary to justify the total social cost. For this reason, criticism of bad management, official dishonesty, insufficient research, or technological lag distracts public attention from the one issue that counts: careful analysis of the basic structure of tools as means. It is equally distracting to suggest that the present frustration is primarily due to the private ownership of the means of production, and that the public ownership of these same factories under the tutelage of a planning board could protect the interest of the majority and lead society to an equally shared abundance.... The concept of ownership cannot be applied to a tool that cannot be controlled. The issue at hand, therefore, is what tools can be controlled in the.public interest.... There are tools which can be used normally for fully satisfying, imaginative, and independent work; others tend to be used primarily in activities best labeled as labor; and. finally, certain machines can only be operated. (Illich, 1973)
Illich suggests therefore, that the choice of tools determine in large extent the economic, and hence, the social relations between those who use them. Convivial tools would be those which are decentralized (meaning inexpensive), simple enough to be understood by those who use them (or at least not intimidating), and structured to satisfy definite social needs (as opposed to needs defined by sales motivated advertising). Illich finds himself within the Aristotle-old distinction between exchange-values and use-values.
Regardless of development objectives to be pursued and means employed, one thing is certain-- the plight of the peasant is far from over. The economies and social forces within the peasant realm and its connections with the new order, will continue to remain volatile for at least a generation. It must further be asserted that the foundations of the industrial order is still shaky-- especially in the emerging nations--and that the peasantry may outlive yet another superordinate system.