How has the history of the twentieth century affected the extent of female disadvantage in child survival in China, South Korea and India, and how has this in turn shaped spousal availability and marriage payments? These three countries have similar kinship systems which generate discrimination against girls, and they show the highest levels of excess female child mortality in the world. This article explores how the extent of excess female child mortality was influenced by historical events in these countries in the period 1920-90, and discusses some of the substantial social ramifications of resulting changes in sex ratios. The authors hypothesize that these changes encouraged the retention of brideprice in China while dowry became the norm in India, and illustrate how these demographic changes have influenced the extent and manifestations of violence against women.
Few countries in recent decades have experienced economic growth as rapid as that in Brazil. The period spanning the late 1960s and mid 1970s, during which GDP growth was especially strong, is often referred to as the 'economic miracle'. Yet, the use of per capita GDP growth as a proxy for economic development (or social welfare improvement) can be questioned on both distributional and environmental grounds. Scholars such as Ahluwalia and Chenery have noted that per capita GDP growth places greater weight on the income of richer income groups, and have proposed distribution-neutral and pro-poor alternatives. More recently, studies by the World Resources Institute and others have questioned the environmental sustainability of GDP growth and have introduced an alternative national income accounting methodology that factors in estimated losses associated with natural resource depletion. To date, no studies have undertaken both types of revisions concurrently, creating a revised national welfare measure based on per capita GDP, but corrected for both distributional bias and resource depletion. Such a measure is derived in this article and applied to the Brazilian case. The results cast doubt on the proposition that rapid economic growth in Brazil has resulted in comparable welfare gains.
Using evidence from a number of sources (including the 1981 and 1991 censuses of India, prior research, and NGO reports), this article examines whether bias against girl children persists during periods of development and fertility decline, whether prenatal sex selection has spread in India as elsewhere in Asia, and whether female vs. male child mortality risks have changed. The authors present estimated period sex ratios at birth (SRBs) calculated by reverse survival methods along with reported sex ratios among infants aged 0 and 1, as well as sex ratios of child mortality probabilities (q5), from the two censuses. The findings show an increase in ‘masculine’ SRBs and persistent (or even worsening) female mortality disadvantage, despite overall mortality decline, due to selective neglect and the spread of female infanticide practices in some areas. Research and reports indicate the increasing use of prenatal sex selection in some regions. In India, preference for sons appears to be undiminished by socio-economic development, which interacts with cultural sources of male bias. The increased masculinity of period SRBs in some areas, together with persistent excess female child mortality and female infanticide, creates a ‘double jeopardy’ for girl children. Legislation curbing prenatal sex determination and policy measures addressing societal female devaluation have had little impact, suggesting that female demographic disadvantage is unlikely to improve in the near future.
This article analyses two instances of abortion law reform in Latin America. In 2006, after a decades-long impasse, the highly controversial issue of abortion came to dominate the political agenda when Colombia liberalized its abortion law and Nicaragua adopted a total ban on abortion. The article analyses the central actors in the reform processes, their strategies and the opportunity contexts. Drawing on Htun's (2003) framework, it examines why these processes concluded with opposing legislative outcomes. The authors argue for the need to understand the state as a non-unitary site of politics and policy, and for judicial processes to be seen as a key variable in facilitating gender policy reforms in Latin America. In addition, they argue that ‘windows of opportunity’ such as the timing of elections can be critically important in legislative change processes.
This article explores the tensions between aid funding and grassroots development goals in the context of post-disaster fisheries reconstruction in Aceh, Indonesia. We argue that both short- and long-term grassroots goals are distorted by upward accountability requirements which lead to unsatisfactory aid outcomes. Our analysis employs the concept of aid webs and draws on fifty-one formal interviews with stakeholders in Aceh in 2007/2008. The findings initially concentrate on the impacts of upward accountability on project cycles, with a particular focus on the problematic incorporation of private boat-building contractors and commercial values during the implementation phase. We then discuss the more subtle, long-term impacts of upward accountability on the professionalization of community institutions — in this case, the Panglima Laot Lhok. We conclude with a few observations about the hybrid institutions — combining elements of local and development cultures — that are produced within the current political economy of aid.
Inasmuch as women's subordinate status is a product of the patriarchal structures of constraint that prevail in specific contexts, pathways of women's empowerment are likely to be "path dependent." They will be shaped by women's struggles to act on the constraints that prevail in their societies, as much by what they seek to defend as by what they seek to change. The universal value that many feminists claim for individual autonomy may not therefore have the same purchase in all contexts. This article examines processes of empowerment as they play out in the lives of women associated with social mobilization organizations in the specific context of rural Bangladesh. It draws on their narratives to explore the collective strategies through which these organizations sought to empower the women and how they in turn drew on their newly established "communities of practice" to navigate their own pathways to wider social change. It concludes that while the value attached to social affiliations by the women in the study is clearly a product of the societies in which they have grown up, it may be no more context-specific than the apparently universal value attached to individual autonomy by many feminists.
This article draws together unusual characteristics of the legacy of apartheid in South Africa: the state-orchestrated destruction of family life, high rates of unemployment and a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS. The disruption of family life has resulted in a situation in which many women have to fulfil the role of both breadwinner and care giver in a context of high unemployment and very limited economic opportunities. The question that follows is: given this crisis of care, to what extent can or will social protection and employment-related social policies provide the support women and children need?
This article engages ethnographically with the neoliberalization of nature in the spheres of tourism, conservation and agriculture. Drawing on a case study of Wayanad district, Kerala, the article explores a number of themes. First, it shows how a boom in domestic nature tourism is currently transforming Wayanad into a landscape for tourist consumption. Second, it examines how tourism in Wayanad articulates with projects of neoliberalizing forest and wildlife conservation and with their contestations by subaltern groups. Third, it argues that the contemporary commodification of nature in tourism and conservation is intimately related to earlier processes of commodifying nature in agrarian capitalism. Since independence, forest land has been violently appropriated for intensive cash-cropping. Capitalist agrarian change has transformed land into a (fictitious) commodity and produced a fragile and contested frontier of agriculture and wildlife. When agrarian capitalism reached its ecological limits and entered a crisis of accumulation, farming became increasingly speculative, exploring new modes of accumulation in out-of-state ginger cultivation. In this scenario nature and wildlife tourism emerges as a new prospect for accumulation in a post-agrarian economy. The neoliberalization of nature in Wayanad, the authors argue, is a process driven less by new modes of regulation than by the agrarian crisis and new modes of speculative farming.
Starting from a body of literature on movements around "biological citizenship," this article analyses the political significance of HIV-positive people's collective action in Tanzania. We explore reasons for the limited impact of Tanzanian AIDS activism on the wider political scene, concluding that the formation of a "movement" is still in its infancy and faces many constraints, though some breakthroughs have been made. Participation in PLHA groups in Tanzania encourages politicizing struggles over representation, democratic forms and gender that can lead to a process of political socialization in which members learn to recognize and confront abuses of power. It is in such low-level, less visible social transformations that the greatest potential of participation in collective action around HIV/AIDS in Tanzania lies.
This article shows how poor people living with HIV/AIDS in Tanzania navigate a myriad of actors, agencies and organizations to obtain the aid they need to survive. It focuses on community-based organizations which establish networks of care through which people obtain care, treatment and financial support. A case study of a roadside town in Tanzania illustrates that these community-based networks of care — essential to the survival of many — are partly the product of the AIDS industry, which encourages the establishment of community-based organizations and voluntary service delivery rather than more formalized systems of care. Community-based organizations, however, are so poorly supported that they often deploy self-destructive strategies. The need to strategically navigate the AIDS industry creates tension and even conflict among HIV-positive activists, the people they represent and the wider community, which undermines rather than strengthens community-based interventions. Whilst the AIDS industry promises inclusion of HIV-positive people in the response to HIV/AIDS, it succeeds only partially, with the result that it may potentially do more harm than good.
The US Food and Drug Administration is expected to approve AquAdvantage Salmon as the first genetically modified animal for human consumption. The genetic modifications allow the proprietary fish to grow at a rate twice as fast as a wild salmon, leading to greater ‘efficiency’ in terms of reduced costs and reduced time to market. This article provides an analysis of the ways in which AquAdvantage Salmon exemplifies capitalist market forces controlling and guiding the terms of salmon recovery and conservation. The authors trace historical developments within the salmon industry to demonstrate how capitalist commodity production has impacted fishing communities. They reject the oft-cited ‘tragedy of the commons’ hypothesis offered to explain fisheries crises. In its place, they offer the conceptual framework of the ‘tragedy of the commodity’ to explore how capitalist market forces and complicit state regulations amplify rather than resolve global environmental problems.
This article examines how social policies and programmes implemented in Argentina shape the political and social organization of childcare. The author seeks to analyse how welfare institutions are currently responding to emerging needs, and to what extent they facilitate the defamilialization of childcare for different social classes. Because Argentina lacks a truly unified ‘care policy’, four different kinds of facilities and programmes are examined: employment-based childcare services; pre-school schemes; social assistance care services; and poverty reduction strategies. It is argued that far from offering equal rights and services with a universalist cast, these ‘caring’ institutions reflect the ethos of the current welfare model in Argentina: a fragmented set of social policies based on different assumptions for different social groups, which in turn filter down to the social organization of childcare.
The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is generally considered to be making adequate progress towards meeting Target 10 of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which calls for halving the proportion of the population with inadequate access to drinking water and sanitation. Progress towards achieving Target 10 is evaluated by the Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP), run by UNICEF and WHO. This article shows that the assessment methodologies employed by the JMP significantly overstate coverage rates in the drinking water and sanitation sectors, by overlooking and ‘not counting’ problems of access, affordability, quality of service and pollution. The authors show that states in MENA often fail to provide safe drinking water and adequate sanitation services, particularly in densely populated informal settlements, and that many centralized water and sanitation infrastructures contribute to water pollution and contamination. Despite the glaring gap between the MDG statistics and the evidence available from national and local reports, exclusionary political regimes in the region have had few incentives to adopt more accurate assessments and improve the quality of service. While international organizations have proposed some reforms, they too lack incentives to employ adequate measures that gauge access, quality and affordability of drinking water and sanitation services.
Recent social policy reforms in South Korea indicate a progressive shift by a conservative government to modify the familialistic male breadwinner model that informs its welfare regime. The Korean government has demonstrated support for women through an increase in the provision, regulation and coordination of childcare and workplace support programmes for working parents. At the same time, labour market reforms have also created more pressures on women to seek and maintain paid work outside the home. Conflicting social and economic policy objectives have resulted in a confusing mix of policies, advancing and impeding gender equality at the same time. This contribution examines the recent family–work reconciliation policy reforms in Korea and discusses why these reforms may be good politics but a bad deal for women.
This article uses theories of virtualism to analyse the role of The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) project in the production of natural capital. Presented at the 10th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, the project seeks to redress the ‘economic invisibility of nature’ by quantifying the value of ecosystems and biodiversity. This endeavour to put an economic value on ecosystems makes nature legible by abstracting it from social and ecological contexts and making it subject to, and productive of, new market devices. In reducing the complexity of ecological dynamics to idealized categories TEEB is driven by economic ideas and idealism, and, in claiming to be a quantitative force for morality, is engaged in the production of practices designed to conform the ‘real’ to the virtual. By rendering a ‘valued’ nature legible for key audiences, TEEB has mobilized a critical mass of support including modellers, policy makers and bankers. We argue that TEEB's rhetoric of crisis and value aligns capitalism with a new kind of ecological modernization in which ‘the market’ and market devices serve as key mechanisms to conform the real and the virtual. Using the case of TEEB, and drawing on data collected at COP10, we illustrate the importance of international meetings as key points where idealized models of biodiversity protection emerge, circulate and are negotiated, and as sites where actors are aligned and articulated with these idealized models in ways that begin further processes of conforming the real with the virtual and the realization of ‘natural capital’.
This article examines the role of philanthropy in conservation as a way of exploring how and why conservation might be becoming more neoliberal. It describes how conservation philanthropy supports capitalism both discursively and in more practical ways. Philanthropy is examined in terms of the two forces considered to be driving the neoliberalization of conservation — the need for capitalism to find new ways of making money, and the desire of conservationists to engage with capitalism as the best way of getting things done. It demonstrates how philanthropy can speak to both of these logics simultaneously, particularly through emerging ideas of philanthrocapitalism, which may be enhancing the neoliberalization of both philanthropy and conservation.
This article examines the relationship between birth masculinity and socio-economic levels in China. Both 2000 and 2005 data suggest the presence of a non-linear relationship between the sex ratio at birth and socio-economic status, with a lower sex ratio at birth observed among both the poorest and the richest households. This inverted-U pattern is significantly different from what is observed in India and what has been assumed previously for China. Multivariate analyses indicate that this pattern persists after the introduction of several other covariates of birth masculinity such as ethnicity, fertility, migration status, age or parity. These results suggest that further economic advances and socio-economic mobility could contribute to the return to normalcy of the sex ratio at birth.
Over the past few years some governments and development organizations have increasingly articulated cross-border mobility as "trafficking in persons". The notion of a market where traffickers prey on the "supply" of migrants that flows across international borders to meet the "demand" for labour has become a central trope among anti-trafficking development organizations. This article problematizes such economism by drawing attention to the oscillating cross-border migration of Lao sex workers within a border zone between Laos and Thailand. It illuminates the incongruity between the recruitment of women into the sex industry along the Lao-Thai border and the market models that are employed by the anti-trafficking sector. It discusses the ways in which these cross-border markets are conceived in a context where aid programming is taking on an increasingly important role in the politics of borders. The author concludes that allusions to ideal forms of knowledge (in the guise of classic economic theory) and an emphasis on borders become necessary for anti-trafficking programmes in order to make their object of intervention legible as well as providing post-hoc rationalizations for their continuing operation.
Expectations play a powerful role in driving technological change. Expectations are often encapsulated in narratives of technological promise that emphasize potential benefits and downplay potential negative impacts. Genetically modified (GM, transgenic) crops have been framed by expectations that they would be an intrinsically "pro-poor" innovation that would contribute powerfully to international agricultural development. However, expectations typically have to be scaled back in the light of experience. Published reviews of the socio-economic impacts of GM crops among poor, small-scale farmers in the developing world indicate that these effects have been very mixed and contingent on the agronomic, socio-economic and institutional settings where the technology has been applied. These conclusions should modulate expectations about the pro-poor potential of GM crop technology and focus attention on the conditions under which it might deliver substantial and sustainable benefits for poor farmers. However, the idea of GM crop technology as an intrinsically pro-poor developmental success story has been sustained in academic, public and policy arenas. This narrative depends upon an analysis that disembeds the technology from the technical, social and institutional contexts in which it is applied. Agricultural development policy should be based on a more rigorous and dispassionate analysis, rather than optimistic expectations alone.
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A growing number of Payments for Environmental Services (PES) schemes are being implemented at the community level in developing countries, especially in the context of climate change mitigation efforts to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD). In parallel, there is vigorous commentary about the implications of market-based or neoliberal conservation strategies, and their potential effects on communities that depend on natural resources. This article explores the political dimensions of community-level PES in Cambodia, where contracts for ‘avoided deforestation’ and ‘biodiversity conservation’ were implemented in five communities. The research examines three aspects of the community-level PES model that are inherently political: the engagement of communities as single homogeneous entities, capable of entering PES contracts; the simplification of land-use practices and resource rights; and the assumption that contracts are voluntary or reflect ‘community choice’. These elements of PES work both discursively and practically to silence certain voices and claims, while privileging others. Therefore, the problematic nature of community-level PES is not that it is a market per se, but that it is a powerful intervention masquerading as a market. This process of ‘market masquerades’ emerges as a key element in the politics of neoliberal conservation in practice.
China's economic reforms over the past three decades have dramatically changed the mechanisms for allocating goods and labour in both market and non-market spheres. This article examines the social and economic trends that intensify the pressure on the care economy, and on women in particular in playing their dual roles as care givers and income earners in post-reform China. The analysis sheds light on three critical but neglected issues. How does the reform process reshape the institutional arrangements of care for children and elders? How does the changing care economy affect women's choices between paid work and unpaid care responsibilities? And what are the implications of women's work–family conflicts for the well-being of women and their families? The authors call for a gendered approach to both social and labour market policies, with investments in support of social reproduction services so as to ease the pressures on women.
This article explores the political and social economy of care in India through a focus on childcare practices, from the viewpoint of the care giver — a perspective frequently ignored or touched on only generally in earlier discussions on development or social policy. It is argued that the care regime is an ad hoc summation of informal, stratified practices. It is shaped by the institutional context, in particular the economic and social inequalities of work and livelihoods, as well as trends and absences in state economic and social policy. Central to the dynamics of care practices in India is the ideology of gendered familialism in public discourse and policy, which reiterates care as a familial and female responsibility and works to devalue and diminish the dimensions of care. By delineating the range of institutions through which everyday childcare practices are organized, this contribution draws out the differentiations and actualities of stratified familialism and care. At one end of the spectrum are those who have the possibility to retain familial carers at home and supplement them with paid and other institutional carers; at the other are those who are neither able to retain family members at home nor fill the care gap through formal institutions.
This article claims that welfare states modelled on a contributory basis and with a system of entitlements that assumes stable two-parent families, a traditional breadwinner model, full formal employment and a relatively young age structure are profoundly flawed in the context of present-day challenges. While this is true for affluent countries modelled on the Bismarckian type of welfare system, the costs of the status quo are even more devastating in middle-income economies with high levels of inequality. A gendered approach to welfare reform that introduces the political economy and the economy of care and unpaid work is becoming critical to confront what may very well become a perfect storm for the welfare of these nations and their peoples. Through an in-depth study of the Uruguayan case, the authors show how the decoupling of risk and protection has torn asunder the efficacy of welfare devices in the country. An ageing society that has seen a radical transformation of its family and labour market landscapes, Uruguay maintained during the 1980s and 1990s a welfare state that was essentially contributory, elderly and male-oriented, and centred on cash entitlements. This contributed to the infantilization of poverty, increased the vulnerability of women and exacerbated fiscal stress for the system as a whole. Furthermore, because of high levels of income and asset inequality, the redistribution of risk between upper- and lower-income groups presented a deeply regressive pattern. The political economy of care and welfare has begun to change in the last decade or so, bringing about mild reforms in the right direction; but these might prove to be too little and too late.
This article critically examines the contours of ‘care transnationalization’ as an ongoing social process and a field of enquiry. Care transnationalization scholarship combines structural understandings of global power relations with an emphasis on social interactions between defined actors in ways that keep sight of human agency, material welfare and wider social development. It has, however, tended to privilege particular forms, dynamics and sites of care transnationalization over others. The body of research on care labour migration, which is otherwise the most developed literature on care transnationalization to date, contains a number of biases and omissions in its coverage of border-spanning relations and their mediation across country contexts. At the same time, other significant forms of care transnationalization, such as those involving consumer-based care migration, corporate restructuring and the formation of care policy, have suffered from comparative neglect. Working towards an integrated agenda that addresses these diverse expressions of care transnationalization and how they ‘touch down’ in a range of sectoral, social and country contexts is of prime importance to policy research agendas directed at understanding the wider development impacts of processes of social and economic restructuring.
In Latin American countries with historically strong social policy regimes (such as those in the Southern Cone), neoliberal policies are usually blamed for the increased burden of female unpaid work. However, studying the Nicaraguan care regime in two clearly defined periods — the Sandinista and the neoliberal eras — suggests that this argument may not hold in the case of countries with highly familialist social policy regimes. Despite major economic, political and policy shifts, the role of female unpaid work, both within the family and in the community, remains persistent and pivotal, and was significant long before the onset of neoliberal policies. Nicaragua's care regime has been highly dependent on the ‘community’ or ‘voluntary’ work of mostly women. This has also been, and continues to be, vital for the viability of many public social programmes.
In recent years, several middle-income countries, including Chile, Mexico and Uruguay, have increased the availability of early childhood education and care (ECEC) services. These developments have received little scholarly attention so far, resulting in the (surely unintended) impression that Latin American social policy is tied to a familialist track, when in reality national and regional trends are more varied and complex. This article looks at recent efforts to expand ECEC services in Chile and Mexico. In spite of similar concerns over low female labour force participation and child welfare, the approaches of the two countries to service expansion have differed significantly. While the Mexican programme aims to kick-start and subsidize home- and community-based care provision, with a training component for childminders, the Chilean programme emphasizes the expansion of professional ECEC services provided in public institutions. By comparing the two programmes, this article shows that differences in policy design have important implications in terms of the opportunities the programmes are able to create for women and children from low-income families, and in terms of the programmes’ impacts on gender and class inequalities. It also ventures some hypotheses about why the two countries may have chosen such different routes.
Dystopian accounts of climate change posit that it will lead to more conflict, causing state failure and mass population movements. Yet these narratives are both theoretically and empirically problematic: the conflict–environment hypothesis merges a global securitization agenda with local manipulations of Northern fears about the state of planetary ecology. Sudan has experienced how damaging this fusion of wishful thinking, power politics and top-down development can be. In the 1970s, global resource scarcity concerns were used locally to impose the fata morgana of Sudan as an Arab-African breadbasket: in the name of development, violent evictions of local communities contributed to Sudan's second civil war and associated famines. Today, Darfur has been labelled ‘the world's first climate change conflict’, masking the long-term political-economic dynamics and Sudanese agency underpinning the crisis. Simultaneously, the global food crisis is instrumentalized to launch a dam programme and agricultural revival that claim to be African answers to resource scarcity. The winners, however, are Sudan's globalized Islamist elites and foreign investors, whilst the livelihoods of local communities are undermined. Important links exist between climatic developments and security, but global Malthusian narratives about state failure and conflict are dangerously susceptible to manipulations by national elites; the practical outcomes decrease rather than increase human security. In the climate change era, the breakdown of institutions and associated violence is often not an unfortunate failure of the old system due to environmental shock, but a strategy of elites in wider processes of power and wealth accumulation and contestation.
Climate engineering, or geoengineering, refers to large-scale climate interventions to lower the earth's temperature, either by blocking incoming sunlight or removing carbon dioxide from the biosphere. Regarded as ‘technofixes’ by critics, these strategies have evoked concern that they would extend the shelf life of fossil-fuel driven socio-ecological systems for far longer than they otherwise would, or should, endure. A critical reading views geoengineering as a class project that is designed to keep the climate system stable enough for existing production systems to continue operating. This article first examines these concerns, and then goes on to envision a regime driven by humanitarian agendas and concern for vulnerable populations, implemented through international development and aid institutions. The motivations of those who fund research and implement geoengineering techniques are important, as the rationale for developing geoengineering strategies will determine which techniques are pursued, and hence which ecologies are produced. The logic that shapes the geoengineering research process could potentially influence social ecologies centuries from now.
Nature(s) have been commodified since the early days of capitalism, but through processes and socio-natural relationships mediated by their times, histories and localities. While the conditions under which nature's commodities are being trademarked today may be new, their potential for commodification is not. Commodifications of nature should not come as a surprise to environmental social scientists and activists. In this article, I argue that commodification of ‘nature's products, places and processes’ produces new sorts of socio-natures. Situated histories of rubber are particularly relevant because, like carbon, ecosystem services and other recently commodified natures, rubber sits comfortably on the line between a fictitious commodity and a commodity produced explicitly for market: the latex alone has almost no use value, and to give it any exchange value, it requires processing. Yet analytically, it is still considered a ‘natural commodity’, different from ‘synthetic rubber’ and other tradable tree latexes in qualities and socio-natural characteristics. However, it is the social relations constituting rubber's production and trade in various rainforest and agro-forestry environments that have given it a positive or negative connotation, rather than its natural properties or the ecological contexts within which it has been produced. By situating rubber in three of its globally important temporal and spatial contexts, I show how it has been subjected to fairy-tale-like stories that masked and naturalized its commodity lives of the moment. Understanding how history is told or remains untold is thus an essential part of the politics of knowledge production, but also of human experience and mobilization for change. It should be part of any political ecology analysis.
Critical changes are underway in the domain of grain utilization. With the large-scale diversion of corn for the manufacture of ethanol, the bulk of it in the USA, there has been a transformation of the food–feed competition that emerged in the twentieth century and characterized the world's grain consumption after World War II. Concerns have already been expressed in several quarters regarding the role of corn-based ethanol in the recent food price spike and the global food crisis. In this context, this article attempts to outline the theoretical tenets of a food–feed–fuel competition in the domain of grain consumption. The study focuses on developments in the US economy from 1980 onwards, when the earliest initiatives on bio-fuel promotion were undertaken. The transformation of the erstwhile food–feed competition with the introduction of fuel as a further use for grains has caused a new dynamics of adjustments between the different uses of grains. This tilts the distribution of cereal consumption drastically against the low-income classes and poses tougher challenges in the fight against global hunger.
This article reflects on two experiences of applying qualitative life course research in development studies. The first methodology centred on the elicited narratives of older people in Buenos Aires exploring their lifetime relations with their children and their current well-being. The second employed semi-structured interviews with young adults in Zambia to investigate their trajectories towards economic empowerment. In both methodologies, the roles of linked lives and of wider social, economic and political changes were central. The article contributes to critical reflection on methodological choices and trade-offs, by focusing on dilemmas that arise from a desire to address policy makers and more quantitatively-orientated researchers. It explores three themes: the challenges of making sense of disparate narratives of linked lives; the possibilities for engaging with individual subjectivities; and different strategies for situating individual experiences in dynamic social, economic and political contexts.
Commodification and transnational trading of ecosystem services is the most ambitious iteration yet of the strategy of ‘selling nature to save it’. The World Bank and UN agencies contend that global carbon markets can slow climate change while generating resources for development. Consonant with ‘inclusionary’ versions of neoliberal development policy, advocates assert that international payment for ecosystem services (PES) projects, financed by carbon-offset sales and biodiversity banking, can benefit the poor. However, the World Bank also warns that a focus on poverty reduction can undermine efficiency in conservation spending. The experience of ten years of PES illustrates how, in practice, market-efficiency criteria clash directly with poverty-reduction priorities. Nevertheless, the premises of market-based PES are being extrapolated as a model for global REDD programmes financed by carbon-offset trading. This article argues that the contradiction between development and conservation observed in PES is inevitable in projects framed by the asocial logic of neoclassical economics. Application in international conservation policy of the market model, in which profit incentives depend upon differential opportunity costs, will entail a net upward redistribution of wealth from poorer to wealthier classes and from rural regions to distant centres of capital accumulation, mainly in the global North.
In recent decades, indigenous populations have become the subjects and agents of development in national and international multicultural policy that acknowledges poverty among indigenous peoples and their historic marginalization from power over development. Although the impact of these legal and programmatic efforts is growing, one persistent axis of disadvantage, male–female difference, is rarely taken into account in ethno-development policy and practice. This article argues that assumptions that inform policy related to indigenous women fail to engage with indigenous women's development concerns. The institutional separation between gender and development policy (GAD) and multiculturalism means that provisions for gender in multicultural policies are inadequate, and ethnic rights in GAD policies are invisible. Drawing on post-colonial feminism, the paper examines ethnicity and gender as interlocking systems that structure indigenous women's development experiences. These arguments are illustrated in relation to the case of the Tsáchila ethno-cultural group in the South American country of Ecuador.
This article presents a model of a developing economy with three sectors — industry, agriculture and energy. Industry and energy are assumed to be demand-constrained, but agriculture supply-constrained. The model highlights: (a) structural transformation, through labour transfer from agriculture to industry; (b) inflation, driven by the interaction of demand and the supply constraint in agriculture; and (c) the link between energy use and labour productivity. Employing a Kaldor-Verdoorn productivity rule in industry augmented with energy intensity — energy per unit of labour — as an argument, we emphasize that labour productivity growth is driven by energy intensity rather than energy productivity growth. As a consequence, emissions reduction without North–South technology transfer and financial assistance costs growth.
Famine, like poverty, has always been with us. No region and no century has been immune. Its scars — economic, psychological and political — can long outlast its immediate impact on mortality and health. Famines are a hallmark of economic backwardness, and were thus more likely to occur in the pre-industrialized past. Yet the twentieth century suffered some of the most devastating ever recorded. That century also saw shifts in both the causes and symptoms of famine. This new century's famines have been "small" by historical standards, and the threat of major ones seemingly confined to ever-smaller pockets of the globe. Are these shifts a sign of hope for the future?
Many development analysts assert the importance of democratic social organizations, but few either document or analyse the actual processes of internal democracy. this study examines part of the broader problem of internal democracy. This study examines part of the broader problem of the 'Iron Law of Oligarchy' â€“ the ebbs and flows of leadership accountability over time. Drawing on the history of a Mexican regional peasant organization since 1974, the analysis suggests that different kinds of organizational structures encourage or discourage membership action, but moments of mass direct action in turn shape the ways in which organizational structures actually distribute power. The case analysis shows how the interaction of internal and external factors shaped the balance of power between leader and members at each critical turning point. Participatory subgroups turn out to be the crucial counterweight to concentrated leadership power, mediating relations with the membership and providing alternative sources of leadership. Whether formal or informal, multiple vertical channels and alternative horizontal linkages between membership groups are crucial complements, and sometimes substitutes, to conventional organizational structures.
By using the Vietnam Household Living Standard Survey in 2004, this paper seeks to quantify the potential role and impacts of a social pension scheme for reducing elderly poverty in Vietnam. We simulate how the poverty rate, poverty gap, and poverty severity of the elderly would have been changed in the counterfactual situation that such a scheme had been introduced to Vietnam in the past. We consider a number of categorical targeting groups of elderly people along with various transfer parameters to assess the impacts of the scheme on social welfare. We find that, depending on the characteristics of the social pension, there would be beneficial poverty reductions, but also large leakages to the non-poor people. For a variety of measures, our results suggest that targeting the elderly in rural areas might be the most effective use of limited resources. Also, simulations for different budgetary constraints show that, even with limited budgeting, a social pension scheme would significantly reduce poverty incidence for the elderly. We also find that for a given program cost, combining lower benefits with lower eligibility requirements is more effective at reducing poverty than providing larger benefits to a more limited group of recipients. Published as: Giang, L. T., and W. D. Pfau. “Aging, Poverty, and the Role of Social Pensions in Vietnam,” Development and Change. Vol. 40, No. 2 (March 2009), p. 333-360.
The first part of this article addresses the issue of the labour market disequilibrium, relating it to changes in the economic structure and the policy of transformation. The second part offers a review of the current employment debate in Nicaragua, and reveals that the discussion is inconclusive, mainly because of a lack of statistics. The last part describes the results of a small labour survey which shed more light on the problems of agricultural employment. A short conclusion suggests ways in which to improve the rural labour market.-from Authors
The alternative approaches to development considered are alternative development, emerging from 'another development' in the 1970s, and the more recent position of 'post development', or alternatives to development. Alternative development has been concerned with redefining the goals of development and with introducing alternative practices of development - participatory and people- centred. Post-development is interpreted as a neotraditionalist reaction against modernity. More enablig as a perspective, it is argued, is reflexive development, in which critique of science is viewed as part of development politics.
Referring to a wide variety of case studies, anecdotes and abstracted choice situations, this article considers the range and roles of different types of cases presented in trying to understand tensions, conflicts and choices in development. Since various purposes are legitimate and complementary (including sensitization, theorization, and informing decision-making) so too are various styles and uses of cases: some real and some hypothetical, some thick (including a lot) and some thin (omitting a lot). While thick description can provide instructive and even inspiring exemplars, it is not invariably helpful in moral argument. The article synthesizes these ideas into a picture of distinct stages in work in ethics and practical reasoning.
This paper conducts an econometric analysis of data for a sample of over 4000 children in India, between the ages of 1 and 2 years, with a view to studying two aspects of the neglect of children: their likelihood of being immunised against disease and their likelihood of receiving a nutritious diet. The starting hypothesis, consistent with an universal interest in gender issues, was that girls were more likely to be neglected than boys. The analysis confirmed this hypothesis. In respect of vaccinations, the likelihood of girls being fully vaccinated, after controlling for other variables, was 5 percentage points lower than that for boys. In respect of receiving a nutritious diet, the treatment of girls depended very much on whether or not their mothers were literate: there was no gender discrimination between children of literate mothers; on the other hand, when the mother was illiterate, girls were 5 percentage points less likely to be well-fed relative to their brothers and the presence of a literate father did little to dent this gender gap. But the analysis also pointed to a broader conclusion which was that all children in India suffered from sharper, but less publicised forms of disadvantage than that engendered solely by gender. These were the consequences which stemmed from children being born to illiterate mothers and being brought up in the more impoverished parts of India.
The idea of communal tenure has formed a key plank in the rural governance of Zimbabwe since independence, but its retention following the Fast Track land reforms of 2000-2002 perpetuates a distinction between ‘commercial’ land governed by a land market and ‘communal’ land on which market transactions are illegal. This paper draws on recent research in Svosve Communal Area to examine the dynamics of land access and their implications for rural poverty in Zimbabwe. The paper argues that, as in many other parts of Africa, access to land governed by customary authority in Svosve is increasingly commoditised via informal, or ‘vernacular’, sales or rental markets. In failing to acknowledge and address this commoditisation of land, the ‘communitarian’ discourse of customary land rights that dominates the politics of land in Zimbabwe – as elsewhere in much of Africa – undermines, rather than protects, the livelihoods of the rural poor.
The increased popularity of ‘participatory’ methods in research, development projects, and rural extension in developing countries, has not consistently been accompanied by a critical evaluation of the quality and reliability of knowledge created and extracted in the process. In this article, the author employs her own research using Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) in a Zimbabwean Resettlement Area, to examine how knowledge is created through this type of research act, and how later research may be used to turn back and ‘make sense’ of PRA data. The article explores how power relations among participants are both revealed and concealed in PRA, focusing specifically on the implications for gendered perspectives. The paper also highlights the dynamic, contested and often contradictory nature of ‘local knowledge’ itself. Apparently transparent chunks of ‘local reality’ gleaned through PRA can turn out to be part of complex webs of multiple ideologies and practices. The author argues that while participatory methodologies may offer effective ways of beginning a research project, adoption of short PRA workshops in academic or project related research could lead to dangerously faulty representations of complex social worlds.
Thanks to my fellow editors for helpful and critical comments on a first draft. In addition I would like to express my appreciation to my current fellow editors Kees Biekart, Amrita Chhachhi, Bridget O’Laughlin, Ashwani Saith and Servaas Storm, to previous fellow editors Asef Bayat and Martin Doornbos, and the late Henk van Roosmalen, and to Managing Editor Paula Bownas and Editorial Assistants Caroline Roldanus and Judith Treanor for their dedication and many years of pleasurable collaboration and companionable meetings. It has been a genuine pleasure to work with them all.
There are wide variations between the developing countries in the capabilities of their enterprises to import, utilize and improve upon industrial technologies. It is important for the purposes of industrial policy to understand why these differences exist and how industrial capabilities may be improved. This article presents the findings of recent research into the nature of capability development and the role of government policies in promoting such development. The process of becoming efficient in industry is very different from the usual textbook portrayal, in which firms costlessly access and absorb new technologies. In reality, there is a long and uncertain learning process involved, differing with the nature of the technology, the efficiency of factor and product markets, and the provision of various technological information and services from the infrastructure institutions. There is a widespread risk in developing countries that all these markets suffer from failures: the scope for technology development policies rests on the need to remedy these failures. The experience of the most successful newly industrializing economies (NIEs) suggests that well-designed interventions, both selective and functional, are needed to promote technology development. Experience clearly shows the dangers of government failure, but it is necessary to retain a large role for the government if industry is to succeed. The pattern and implementation of interventions have to be very different. This article points out the outlines of economically desirable interventions.
After reviewing the historically specific characteristics of the modern nation state, this essay discusses both supranational and infranational forces which now work to undermine some of the powers and functions of even the oldest and most firmly established states. Two popular visions of alternative arrangements, associated with free-market ultra-liberalism and the philosophy of ‘small is beautiful’, are rejected, since neither the market nor the decentralization or breakup of existing states can provide adequate solutions to their problems. As trends in economic development increase the likelihood that wealth will be generated by a smaller proportion of total populations, the redistributive function of the public sector is likely to become more important than ever.
This article considers the ways in which Spanish state institutions responded to the Madrid bombings of 11 March 2004 in the context of the global ‘War on Terror’. It examines three inter-related arenas of Spanish policy after 9/11 in which security and civil society are invoked in ways that impact upon the country's development agenda toward its southern Mediterranean partners. The first relates to Spain's external relations with its North African neighbours, and in particular the place of migration in shaping these relations over the last decade. The second concerns Spain's political relations with the representative organizations of its own Muslim populations. A third area of analysis pertains to the juridical-institutional reactions of the state to the 11 March attacks: how have public authorities and civil society been affected and refashioned in the face of jihadist terrorism on the peninsula? The author argues that in each of these domains, the post-9/11 context generally, and the 11 March attacks in particular, have elicited a securitization of civil society, which has in turn been associated with the country's international relations and domestic politics. Such securitization, however, has only been partially successful, thus vindicating the continuation of ‘politics as usual’ among Spain's state officials and its civil society.