Conclusion: Being Poor
This chapter charts the tragic consequences of pastoralist poverty. Despite the hardship, impoverished pastoralists continue to try and maintain their traditional practices. Since the Second World War, holding onto these practices has meant extreme suffering for many. Routine short-term droughts have become real crises, precipitating famines in 1947–1949, 1972–1974, and 1984–1985. The new herd-less and land-less class of pastoralists that emerged after the war was left with few viable economic strategies. Working for wages was not possible for most because the growth in the labor supply had been much higher than the increase in demand. Using violence, either through banditry or armed rebellion, allowed some to take what could not be acquired through pacific means. However, it also forced many to flee, and these refugees were left with no means to independently support themselves.