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Famine in Peasant Societies

Author: Ronald E. Seavoy

Publisher: Praeger

ISBN:

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 478

View: 949

In this controversial study, Seavoy offers a new approach to the problem of periodic peacetime famine based on the actual behavior of peasants. He maintains that it is possible to increase per capita food production without massive and inappropriate technological inputs. Seavoy shifts the focus from modern development economics to a cultural and historical analysis of subsistence agriculture in Western Europe (England and Ireland), Indonesia, and India. From his survey of peasant civilization practices in these countries, he generalizes on the social values that create what he terms the subsistence compromise. In all of the ages and culture, Seavoy finds a consistent social organization of agriculture that produces identical results: seasonal hunger in poor crop years and famine conditions in consecutive poor crop years. He argues that economic policies have failed to increase per capita food production because economists and government planners try to apply market-oriented policies to populations that are not commercially motivated. Once they understand the subsistence compromise, policy-makers can take appropriate political action.

The Great Maya Droughts

Water, Life, and Death

Author: Richardson Benedict Gill

Publisher: UNM Press

ISBN:

Category: History

Page: 464

View: 415

This innovative study argues that the collapse of Classic Maya civilization was driven by catastrophic drought. Between A.D. 800 and 1000, unrelenting drought killed millions of Maya people with famine and thirst and initiated a cascade of internal collapses that destroyed their civilization. Linking global, regional, and local climate change, the author explores how atmospheric processes, volcanism, ocean currents, and other natural forces combined to create the dry climate that pried apart the highly complex civilization in the tropical Maya Lowlands in the ninth and tenth centuries. Drawing on knowledge of other prehistoric and historic droughts, The Great Maya Droughts is a useful study of the relationship of humans to their natural and physical environment. The author tries to understand why the Classic Maya failed to adjust their behavior and culture to the climatic conditions and why civilizations in general sometimes collapse in the face of radical environmental change.

Famine in Peasant Societies

Author: Ronald E. Seavoy

Publisher: Praeger

ISBN:

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 478

View: 584

In this controversial study, Seavoy offers a new approach to the problem of periodic peacetime famine based on the actual behavior of peasants. He maintains that it is possible to increase per capita food production without massive and inappropriate technological inputs. Seavoy shifts the focus from modern development economics to a cultural and historical analysis of subsistence agriculture in Western Europe (England and Ireland), Indonesia, and India. From his survey of peasant civilization practices in these countries, he generalizes on the social values that create what he terms the subsistence compromise. In all of the ages and culture, Seavoy finds a consistent social organization of agriculture that produces identical results: seasonal hunger in poor crop years and famine conditions in consecutive poor crop years. He argues that economic policies have failed to increase per capita food production because economists and government planners try to apply market-oriented policies to populations that are not commercially motivated. Once they understand the subsistence compromise, policy-makers can take appropriate political action.

Subsistence and Economic Development

Author: Ronald E. Seavoy

Publisher: Greenwood Publishing Group

ISBN:

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 284

View: 385

Economic development is primarily a political process. Coercive political policies are needed to induce peasants to perform commercial labor norms in food production because this is the only way to end subsistence privation. Rather than trying to cure rural poverty, Seavoy insists that economic development can only occur when the institutions that protect subsistence labor norms in food production are replaced by institutions that motivate cultivators to perform commercial labor norms.

Famine in East Africa

Food Production and Food Policies

Author: Ronald E. Seavoy

Publisher: Praeger

ISBN:

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 283

View: 639

Efforts to commercialize agriculture in peasant societies through investments in technology and various pricing strategies have failed to create the food surpluses needed to forestall famine and support industrialization in East Africa. Seavoy explores this problem, basing his study on the case of Tanzania, a country that experiences recurrent peacetime famines associated with failures in subsistence agriculture. Providing an analysis of East African subsistence culture, he investigates the failures of national agricultural policies and defines strategies for inducing subsistence farmers to shift to commercial production. Seavoy looks at various development initiatives involving technological inputs, political pressure, taxation, and land tenure provisions and their effects on the political economy of subsistence agriculture. He presents a detailed survey of subsistence culture, its agricultural and pastoral practices, and such variables as labor, topography, rainfall, and population density. The shaping of the East African political economy under colonial rule is discussed, together with the economic, social, and political legacy that has persisted to the present day. Seavoy examines Tanzanian agricultural policy, which has aimed at facilitating the transition to commercial agriculture. He finds that the country is a long way from achieving the assured food surpluses that would enable the nation to support an urban industrial workforce. Among the underlying causes he notes the continuing population explosion, the farmers' objections to commercialized agriculture, and deficiencies in the physical infrastructure, trained personnel, and political institutions. He argues that surpluses will not be created until political leaders use the power of national government to enforce the shift to commercial production. A noteworthy and original contribution to development literature, this work is relevant to studies in modern political economy, Third World development, agricultural economy, and related disciplines.

Feast and Famine

Food and Nutrition in Ireland 1500-1920

Author: Leslie Clarkson

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN:

Category: History

Page: 336

View: 394

This book traces the history of food and famine in Ireland from the sixteenth to the early twentieth century. It looks at what people ate and drank, and how this changed over time. The authors explore the economic and social forces which lay behind these changes as well as the more personal motives of taste, preference, and acceptability. They analyze the reasons why the potato became a major component of the diet for so many people during the eighteenth century as well as the diets of the middling and upper classes. This is not, however, simply a social history of food but it is a nutritional one as well, and the authors go on to explore the connection between eating, health, and disease. They look at the relationship between the supply of food and the growth of the population and then finally, and unavoidably in any history of the Irish and food, the issue of famine, examining first its likelihood and then its dreadful reality when it actually occurred.

An Economic History of the United States

From 1607 to the Present

Author: Ronald Seavoy

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN:

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 368

View: 645

An Economic History of the United States is an accessible and informative survey designed for undergraduate courses on American economic history. The book spans from 1607 to the modern age and presents a documented history of how the American economy has propelled the nation into a position of world leadership. Noted economic historian Ronald E. Seavoy covers nearly 400 years of economic history, beginning with the commercialization of agriculture in the pre-colonial era, through the development of banks and industrialization in the nineteenth century, up to the globalization of the business economy in the present day.

The Savage Wars of Peace

England, Japan and the Malthusian Trap

Author: A. Macfarlane

Publisher: Springer

ISBN:

Category: Social Science

Page: 427

View: 871

This book aims to solve the problem of how parts of mankind escaped from an apparently inevitable trap of war, famine and disease in the last three hundred years. Through a detailed comparative analysis of English and Japanese history it explores such matters as the destruction of war, decline of famine, importance of certain drinks (especially tea), the use of human excrement and the effects of housing, clothing and bathing on human health. It also shows how the English and Japanese controlled fertility through marriage and sexual patterns, biological and contraceptive factors, abortion and infanticide.

Silent Violence

Food, Famine, and Peasantry in Northern Nigeria

Author: Michael J. Watts

Publisher: University of Georgia Press

ISBN:

Category: Social Science

Page: 720

View: 935

Why do famines occur and how have their effects changed through time? Why are those who produce food so often the casualties of famines? Looking at the food crisis that struck the West African Sahel during the 1970s, Michael J. Watts examines the relationships between famine, climate, and political economy. Through a longue durée history and a detailed village study Watts argues that famines are socially produced and that the market is as fickle and incalculable as the weather. Droughts are natural occurrences, matters of climatic change, but famines expose the inner workings of society, politics, and markets. His analysis moves from household and individual farming practices in the face of climatic variability to the incorporation of African peasants into the global circuits of capitalism in the colonial and postcolonial periods. Silent Violence powerfully combines a case study of food crises in Africa with an analysis of the way capitalism developed in northern Nigeria and how peasants struggle to maintain rural livelihoods. As the West African Sahel confronts another food crisis and continuing food insecurity for millions of peasants, Silent Violence speaks in a compelling way to contemporary agrarian dynamics, food provisioning systems, and the plight of the African poor.

The Political Economy of African Famine

Author: R. E. Downs

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN:

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 394

View: 396

Originally published in 1991. This volume explores the combination of political and economic forces that influence different levels of food supply. The book begins with a discussion of famine theories, ranging from cultural ecology to neo-Marxism. Following this survey is a series of essays by anthropologists, geographers, economists and development practitioners that explores the role of Western institutions in African famine, analyzes famine in particular countries, and documents the relationship between famine and gender. This book takes an unusually broad look at famine by including analyses of countries where hunger has rarely been studied and by examining African famine from both African and Western perspectives. Its concluding proposals for eradicating famine make innovative and provocative contributions to current global debates on food and nutrition.

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