The Persistence of Subsistence Agriculture

The Persistence of Subsistence Agriculture : Life Beneath the Level of the Marketplace

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The story told by The Persistence of Subsistence Agriculture begins 8,000 years ago as humans began using the land and weather to provide themselves with food, housing, and clothing. Productive farmers took care of most daily needs within the small conservative world in which they lived. This world organized around small-scale subsistence farming is ending as the ancient world of farmers has given away to that dominated by the modern marketplace. This book is about how the modern market world transformed these remote agricultural farmers. Waters uses diverse examples to illustrate how the modern market economy captured persistent subsistence farmers and forever altered life in 18th century Scotland, 19th century United States, 20th century Tanzania, and indeed, the entire modern world.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 272 pages
  • 147.3 x 231.1 x 22.9mm | 521.64g
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 0739107682
  • 9780739107683

Table of contents

Part 1 The Persistence of Subsistence: Life Beneath the Level of the Marketplace Chapter 2 Why Subsistence Peasants Are Important Chapter 3 Theoretical Overview: Life Beneath the Level of the Marketplace Chapter 4 Pre-industrial Scotland, or How Adam Smith Got Workers into His Pin Factory Part 5 The Persistence of the Subsistence Peasant from the Eighteenth to the Twenty-first Century Chapter 6 America's Triumphant Subsistence Peasantry 1620-1820, or How Daniel Boone Ran from Ben Franklin's Shopkeepers Chapter 7 Squatting, Pre-emption, and Nowhere Left to Run: An Ascendant Market Catches Pa Ingalls Chapter 8 Modern Tanzania and the Long Triumph of Subsistence Farmers Chapter 9 The Persistent Modern Tanzanian Subsistent Peasant Part 10 Conclusions: Challenging Development Orthodoxies Chapter 11 Theoretical Implications: Understanding Economic Growth as a Risky and Recurrent Process Chapter 12 Modern Development and Subsistence Peasantry
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Review quote

Tony Waters explains how costly economic development can be and how incompatible are the goals of subsistence farmers, yet he states the case for growth fairly too. This is a highly original work, based on Waters' personal experience of Tanzania, illuminated throughout by social science, and buttressed by rich, unexpected case studies of eighteenth-century Scotland and Daniel Boone's America. It will set tongues wagging in the development agencies. -- Eric Jones, Author of The European Miracle and Cultures Merging Waters takes us on a journey to the highlands of Scotland, the plains of America, and the savannah of modern Tanzania to display the deep-rooted appeal of subsistence farming.... In a brilliant combination of historical sociology and modern anthropology, Waters forces us to re-examine the views of market theorists, and shows that converting subsistence agriculturalists to industrial life is not a matter of encouraging a smooth 'take-off,' but of wrestling with powerful attachments to a way of life. Breathing new life into classic views of the peasantry and industrial transition, Waters's book should be required reading for development professionals and analysts of economic change. -- Jack A. Goldstone, George Mason University Tony Waters...sets out to give a general this ambitious and passionately written book....Drawing upon a wide body of anecdotal and historical evidence, he makes a strong case....The book is recommendable....A book that is...greatly accessible and written in an enjoyable style...and whose final conclusions on development work are just remarkable. * Journal Of Agrarian Change * This masterful and exhaustive analysis of the role of subsistence farming in a comparative historical and societal perspective is a powerful reminder to all developmentalists - on the left or the right - that social transformation is a long-winding and often painful process. Waters cleverly illustrates the similarities between contemporary Tanzania and historical Scotland and the United States teasing out why the prospect for a transformation to a fully fledged market economy is so much more difficult in the former place. At a point when there is growing interest in informal institutions and the role culture plays in development, this is a timely contribution of interest to the academic community as well as analysts and practitioners in the international development field. -- Distinguished Professor Goran Hyden, University of Florida
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About Tony Waters

Tony Waters is Department Chair and Professor of Sociology at California State University, Chico.
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