- Series: Studies in Comparative Economics (Book 3)
- Paperback: 212 pages
- Publisher: University of Chicago Press (Tx) (June 1, 1983)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0226740757
- ISBN-13: 978-0226740751
- Package Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.1 x 0.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,255,619 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Transforming Traditional Agriculture (Studies in Comparative Economics) Paperback – June 1, 1983
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What Schultz essentially argues in this book is that agriculture can be broken down into two distinct types. The first is that of "traditional" agriculture whereby peasant producers are seen as inefficient because they are bound by generations of tradition that dictates there is very little in the way of perceptible benefit to re-investing in their farming operations and becoming more efficient producers. As Schultz hypothesizes: "a more profitable set of factors will have to be developed and supplied. To develop and supply such factors and to learn how to use them efficiently is a matter of investment." The continuity of such an approach with an institutional framework is readily apparent. Schultz is tacitly arguing for a strong role in planning for a state's bureaucratic structure. The second type is that of "modern" agriculture whereby a grower responds to economic insentives to improve their production. Hence the "rational peasant".
One of the strongest criticisms against Schultz's theory is its ability to offer satisfactory results when applied to specific regions. Schultz did not adequately take into account cultural factors, believing instead that traditional agricultural can be explained in purely economic terms. In the context of a highly centralized state I would also argue that the "rational peasant" debate necessitated a negation of community level input into policy formation. This was because the "rational peasant" was not perceived to be an actor at the individual level, but rather part of a greater whole. In this way macro-economic stimulus policies were believed to be all that was needed to transform "traditional" agriculture into "modern". A policy prescription that the state, and "high modernists" (see Jim Scott) controlling it, would be ideally suited to undertake.