Communal Land Tenure Systems and their Role in Rural Development

  • Keith Griffin

Abstract

Dispassionate analysis of land tenure systems and their role in rural development has been hampered by ideological conflict. Political rhetoric in North America and Western Europe reflecting a general hostility towards the Soviet Union has helped to create a widely held view that communal tenure systems invariably result in stagnation of production, inefficiency of resource allocation and coercion of the peasantry. Where they survive, communal systems are thought to do so partly because of large imports of food from the West and partly because of the existence of a tiny private sector which somehow manages to flourish despite attempts by governments to suppress it.

Keywords

Europe Petroleum Transportation Income Marketing 

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Notes

  1. 2.
    The commune system in China is undergoing rapid change. For a recent analysis see Keith Griffin (ed.) Institutional Reform and Economic Development in the Chinese Countryside (London: Macmillan, 1984).Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Much of the controversy surrounding Soviet agriculture originated during the period of collectivisation during the early 1930s. A good discussion is contained in Alec Nove, An Economic History of the USSR (London: Allen Lane, 1969), Ch.7.Google Scholar
  3. For an analysis of the role of collective farming in the development of an economically backward part of the Soviet Union see Azizur Rahman Khan and Dharam Ghai, Collective Agriculture and Rural Development in Soviet Central Asia (London: Macmillan, 1979).Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    The best study is Joseph Sang-hoon Chung, The North Korean Economy: Structure and Development (Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 1974).Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    See Arthur MacEwan, ‘Cuban Agriculture and Development: Contradictions and Progress’, in Dharam Ghai, et al. (eds) Agrarian Systems and Rural Development (London: Macmillan, 1979).Google Scholar
  6. 7.
    For a discussion of the attempt in Algeria to establish workers’ self-managed farms see Keith Griffin, Land Concentration and Rural Poverty, (London: Macmillan, 2nd edition, 1981), Ch. 1. On Israel see Haim Barkai, Growth Patterns of the Kibbutz Economy (Amsterdam: North Holland Publishing Co., 1977) andGoogle Scholar
  7. Yehuda Don, ‘Dynamics of Development in the Israeli Kibbutz’, in Peter Dorner (ed.), Co-operative and Commune: Group Farming in the Economic Development of Agriculture (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. 1977).Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    There is a large literature on the Mexican ejido. One excellent study that is often overlooked, however, is Cynthia Hewitt de Alcantara, Modernizing Mexican Agriculture: Socioeconomic Implications of Technological Change 1940–1970 (Geneva: UNRISD, 1976), Ch. V.Google Scholar
  9. 10.
    See R. K. Srivastava and I. Livingstone, ‘Growth and Distribution: The Case of Mozambique’, in Dharam Ghai and Samir Radwan (eds), Agrarian Policies and Rural Poverty in Africa (Geneva: International Labour Office, 1983).Google Scholar
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    Keith Griffin, The Political Economy of Agrarian Change, (London: Macmillan, 2nd edition, 1979), Ch. 8. The phrase was coined originally by Marshall Wolfe.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 12.
    For an excellent example of how this should be done see Alain de Janvry, The Agrarian Question and Reformism in Latin America (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981).Google Scholar
  12. An early attempt at a comparative analysis is Jack Dunman, Agriculture: Capitalist and Socialist (London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1975); see especially the chapters on the GDR (Ch. 4), Poland (Ch. 5), Hungary (Ch. 6) and Yugoslavia (Ch. 7).Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Doreen Warriner, Land Reform in Principle and Practice (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1969), p. 67.Google Scholar
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    See IBRD, World Development Report 1982. The figures in the text refer to 1980.Google Scholar
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    See, for example, Michael Lipton, Why Poor People Stay Poor: Urban Bias in World Development (London: Temple Smith, 1977) andGoogle Scholar
  17. I.M.D. Little, Economic Development: Theory, Policy and International Relations, (New York: Basic Books, 1982), pp. 160–1. Recently, however, it has been argued that relative food prices have increased and this has led to the further impoverishment of landless labourers and small peasants who are net buyers of food grains. See the paper by myself and A. K. Ghose reprinted in my Land Concentration and Rural Poverty, Ch. 8.Google Scholar
  18. 26.
    R. Albert Berry and William R. Cline, Agrarian Structure and Productivity in Developing Countries (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1979).Google Scholar
  19. 29.
    See Keith Griffin, International Inequality and National Poverty, (London: Macmillan, 1978), Ch. 9 on ‘Efficiency, Equality and Accumulation in Rural China: Notes on the Chinese System of Incentives’,CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. and Thomas G. Rawski, Economic Growth and Employment in China (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1979), Ch. 4.Google Scholar
  21. 31.
    See Keith Griffin and Jeffrey James, The Transition to Egalitarian Development (London: Macmillan, 1981), Ch. 5;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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  23. 32.
    Barrington Moore, Jr., Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World (London: Allen Lane, 1967), p. 505. Professor Ken Post of the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague has suggested to me that one advantage of collective systems is that the peasantry sometimes can use them to protect themselves against the state.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Sanjaya Lall and Frances Stewart 1986

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  • Keith Griffin

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