Why Agriculture Productivity Falls
The Political Economy of Agrarian Transition in Developing Countries
234 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in, 21 Illustrations
Why Agriculture Productivity Falls: The Political Economy of Agrarian Transition in Developing Countries offers a new explanation for the decline in agricultural productivity in developing countries. Transcending the conventional approaches to understanding productivity using agricultural inputs and factors of production, this work brings in the role of formal and informal institutions that govern transactions, property rights, and accumulation. This more robust methodology leads to a comprehensive, well-balanced lens to perceive agrarian transition in developing countries. It argues that the existing process of accumulation has resulted in nonsustainable agriculture because of market failures—the result of asymmetries of power, diseconomies of scale, and unstable property rights. The book covers the historical shifts in land relations, productivity, and class relations that have led to present-day challenges in sustainability. The result is arrested productivity growth. Agrarian transition should be understood in the context of the wider economic development in society, including how political settlement and primitive accumulation inhibited the kind of property rights that encourage growth. Why Agriculture Productivity Falls is a much-needed corrective to the traditional understanding, because before we can increase productivity, we must understand the root causes of those challenges.
"Inter alia, sustainable development requires more affordable nutritious food security while ensuring ecological sustainability. Titumir considers institutions shaping agrarian social relations and transformations, focusing on the Green Revolution in Bangladesh. Demography, noncapitalist relations, and the ever-shifting political settlement especially shape agrarian change, rendering agriculture and productivity growth unsustainable." — —Jomo Kwame Sundaram, former United Nations Assistan Secretary-General for Economic Development and United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization Assistant Director-General
"At the heart of this wide-ranging book is a fresh look at the inverse size–productivity relation from which development economists argue for land reform and small farmerist policy. Titumir argues that the inverse relation is the result of smallholders' coercion and distress. Smallholders not only face diseconomies of small scale due to high unit costs and demographically driven fragmentation, but also see their surplus syphoned through interlocked contracts by trader moneylenders and rentiers. Land is a store of value and status. In focusing on the complex relations between land rent and sales, mediated by a new wave of remittances, and nonmarket primitive accumulation through factions, patronage, judicial and military force, and domination by intermediate classes, this empirically grounded political economy reframes land reform policy in a much wider and hostile context." — Barbara Harriss-White, Emeritus Professor and Fellow, Wolfson College, University of Oxford