Subsistence Agriculture and Economic Development

Subsistence Agriculture and Economic Development

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ISBN: 978-0-202-36225-0
Pages: 494
Binding: Paperback
Publication Date: 06-04-2008
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One of the more perplexing problems of economic development is helping subsistence farmers break away from production simply for home consumption to become commercial farmers, producing more and more for sale in the marketplace. Although subsistence farms occupy 40 percent of the worlds cultivated land and support half of mankind, facts about them and programs to increase their output are scattered. Subsistence Agriculture and Economic Development provides a unique overview of these difficulties and their significance to economic development. It is the first book to subject subsistence agriculture to rigorous multi-disciplinary examination and to bring to light new theory and empirical evidence directed toward solving the problem.

This volume contains original chapters by forty leading social scientists and agricultural specialists who summarize contemporary theory, fact, and policy on the problems of developing agriculture from subsistence to a commercial basis. Each contributor speaks from one or more of the relevant standpoints of economics, sociology, agronomy, political science, anthropology, and social psychology. There emerges a clear, meaningful picture of the subsistence farmer and the problems involved in changing his attitudes, methods of production, and economic and social environment.

Broad in scope, documented with pertinent case studies, and far-reaching in its guidelines for future research and policy, this work should be read by all concerned with increasing food production and with economic development. This is an area of special concern in the uses of food products as the basis for new energy resources—an issue of increasing importance in the advancing use of ethanol as a fuel drawn from corn products.

Editorial Reviews

“Although some of the policy issues and implications have changed since 1965, Subsistence Agriculture and Economic Development must still be regarded as one of the two or three outstanding volumes for understanding peasant societies. Its strong micro focus and its interdisciplinary character provide an excellent starting point for further work on individual countries and on specific policy techniques. In addition, the editor’s perceptive concluding chapter, ‘The issues and a research agenda,’ helps to chart a plan of work that is useful and relevant for all those concerned with the social and economic development of poor countries.”

—Walter P. Falcon, Science

“There is little doubt. . . that this volume will remain the standard reference work on subsistence agriculture for some time to come.”

—Erik Thorbecke, Journal of Economic Literature

 “This selective compilation of multidisciplinary papers on subsistence agriculture, with major emphasis on farmers in Asia, is an extremely valuable contribution to the literature of one of the most crucial aspects of economic development in the modern world.”

—Raymond E. Crist, Annals of the Association of American Geographers

“The application of economic analysis to the study of agricultural development has emerged as a respectable, and by now, a fashionable discipline during the last decade. This volume presents an excellent demonstration of the state of the arts in this field during the mid 1960s.”

—David Feldman, The Economic Journal

“This book’s several authors, and especially Wharton and Park, propose useful indices of subsistence agriculture in terms of the extent to which cash is used in production, consumption, and capitalization.”

—Michael Moerman, American Anthropologist

“[A]nyone interested in peasant societies whether they are basically anthropologists, sociologists, economists or administrators will find material to interest them, support some of their prejudices and challenge other within this book’s pages.”

—P. Ingham Ayre, Economica

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