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Peasants, Subsistence Ecology, and Development in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea

Peasants, Subsistence Ecology, and Development in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea

Lawrence S. Grossman
Copyright Date: 1984
Pages: 324
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  • Book Info
    Peasants, Subsistence Ecology, and Development in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea
    Book Description:

    Lawrence S. Grossman explores the far-reaching implications of the conflicts between subsistence and commodity production in developing countries.

    Originally published in 1984.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5527-8
    Subjects: Sociology, Environmental Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-ix)
    (pp. x-xi)
    (pp. xii-xiii)
    (pp. xiv-xv)
    (pp. xvi-xix)
    (pp. xx-1)
  9. [Map]
    (pp. 2-2)
    (pp. 3-29)

    By any measure, agricultural commodity production has been and continues to be one of the most pervasive and fundamental forces affecting economic and social life in the Third World. In several regions of the world, participation in cash cropping predates European colonialism, whereas in others it is part of the colonial heritage. In some cases, villagers voluntarily entered into such commercial transactions; at other times, they were forced to do so by colonial government fiat, the introduction of taxation, and the undermining of rural self-sufficiency. Many of todayʹs Third World governments, regardless of ideological orientation, desire to increase rural cash...

  11. CHAPTER ONE Kapanara Village
    (pp. 30-47)

    As is true for peasants in rural communities throughout the Third World, the fortunes of the people of Kapanara village (see Map 1.1) are linked intimately with the commercial economy. They have been involved in cash-earning enterprises, orbisnisinTok Pisin, for approximately 25 years. They have earned money from mining gold; growing passionfruit, vegetables, and coffee; operating trade stores and passenger trucks; and most recently, raising cattle. Their commitment to these activities has varied considerably through time, reflecting oscillating periods of enthusiasm and disillusionment. In terms of the amount of land and labor utilized and revenues produced, cattle...

  12. CHAPTER TWO Smallholder Cattle Projects
    (pp. 48-74)

    Whereas Europeans have been raising cattle in Papua New Guinea since the late 1800s, villagers did not become significantly involved in the industry until the 1960s. Numerous considerations, both local and national, influenced the government to stimulate village smallholder development. In turn, villagers became eager to start cattle enterprises, though their motivations differed from those of the government. Changing government policies concerning cattle raising have radically altered the external, political-economic environment, increased the potential for conflicts between subsistence and commodity production, and greatly facilitated rural economic differentiation.

    Although cattle are found in villages throughout Papua New Guinea today, they are...

  13. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  14. CHAPTER THREE Cattle and Rural Economic Differentiation
    (pp. 75-109)

    Rural economic differentiation is still in the early stages in Kapanara, not having reached the extent that it has in other Third World peasantries where it has resulted in the impoverishment and landlessness of certain segments of the community. However, focusing on an early stage of differentiation does provide a major advantage in being able to observe first-hand the processes at work. Government policy clearly plays a role, but stressing its importance does not require portraying villagers as inert, passive puppets dancing on strings pulled by relentless, inexorable, and exploitative external forces, as is characteristic of some studies of rural...

  15. CHAPTER FOUR The Local Environment and Commodity Production
    (pp. 110-132)

    In some regions of the Third World, an exploitative, external political-economic environment is the main cause of increased ecological problems in rural areas. For example, many people in Kenya, Zimbabwe, and South Africa lost traditional access to much of their tribal lands due to expropriation by colonial governments and other social classes. Pressure on remaining land resources is greatly magnified in such circumstances because villagers are forced to shorten fallow periods as they cultivate smaller, more marginal areas susceptible to erosion.

    However, an exploitative, external political-economic environment is not the sole cause of ecological problems. With the establishment of commercial...

  16. CHAPTER FIVE Subsistence and Commodity Production
    (pp. 133-181)

    Traditionally, the subsistence system of Kapanara was not only a food procurement system but also a culturally and socially meaningful complex of activities through which interpersonal relationships were established and reinforced with both the living and deceased. As in the past, agriculture and pig husbandry are the main components today, supplemented by hunting and gathering and arboriculture. The maintenance of a viable subsistence system is absolutely essential for the welfare of the people, because Kapanarans, like other peasants, depend largely on local food production for their sustenance.

    The conventional wisdom asserts that if surplus land and labor exist in rural...

  17. CHAPTER SIX Time and Money in the Mid-1970s
    (pp. 182-219)

    Smallholder cattle projects were not the only aspect of the village commercial economy that affected local food production. The intense Kapanaran commitment to other commercial endeavors in the mid-1970s—particularly coffee production—also had profound implications for the viability of subsistence production. The following analysis of these other commercial activities highlights two additional factors affecting the impact of commodity production. One is seasonality in the allocation of time to subsistence and cash-earning endeavors, and the other is the nature of rural expenditure patterns. Seasonal conflicts between the two realms clearly existed in the mid-1970s, and Kapanaransʹ devotion to spending large...

  18. CHAPTER SEVEN The Bust: The Decline of the Commercial Economy in the Early 1980s
    (pp. 220-232)

    If the rapid pace of change occurring during the boom of the mid-1970s had continued, major transformations in the village production process would likely have resulted, leading the Kapanarans on paths followed by many other peasant communities in the Third World. However, the boom proved to be ephemeral. By the early 1980s, Kapanaran involvement in the commercial economy had declined radically because of a dramatic drop in the price of coffee, a reduction in agricultural extension assistance for smallholder cattle projects, and problems within the village. Because Kapanarans retained considerable autonomy, they were able to reverse at least partially their...

    (pp. 233-255)

    [O]ne of the major means of achieving rural development is to increase production for the market and improve productivity. It is too often assumed that these processes can be grafted on to ′subsistence′ production at no cost to domestic consumption or income. (Heyeret al. 1981: 5)

    From the perspective of government officials and planners, Kapanara was an ideal setting for stimulating increased commodity production. Not only was there a surplus of total land and labor available to allocate to commercial endeavors, but the villagers themselves were keen to expand their cash-earning activities. Furthermore, factors that elsewhere have hindered peasant...

  20. APPENDIX A Ecological Methodology
    (pp. 256-261)
  21. APPENDIX B Selection of Sample of Households
    (pp. 262-265)
  22. APPENDICES C.1, C.2, C.3
    (pp. 266-276)
    (pp. 277-296)
  24. INDEX
    (pp. 297-302)
  25. Back Matter
    (pp. 303-303)