Monday, 1 November 2010

Modernisation is disempowerment

This a bit fixed and radical statemtent came to me when analysing how subsistence-oriented livelihood systems have been considered by the political-economic elites to be 'backward forms of farming', being encouraged, forced and pushed into 'modernisation' economic policies, external competition, regulations unsuitable for small-scale production systems, etc. Subsistence farmers slowly but steadilly had their livelihoods undermined. Being told they are backward, they have to modernise, and having the carpet pulled away under their feet it is no wonder they feel disempowered. And then those same carpet-away-pullers say "oh, the problem is these farmers are not entrepreneurial...they don't manage to modernise."

Obviously the subsistence-oriented farming systems (in Portugal) were not paradise and people then too were disempowered in various ways. The challenge really is to find new and better ways. Not new, but equally bad ones.

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