By Mats Lundahl
First released in 1992. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa corporation.
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Extra resources for Politics or Markets?: Essays on Haitian Underdevelopment
It is, however, often difficult to find peasants who are willing to do so, unless the beneficial effects of innovation can be established in the shorr run. In the case of more complex consequences, which operate over a longer period of time, it may not be as easy to get the peasants to adopt change. The existence of risks may also preclude innovation for a very different reason. 26 Tenant farmers and sharecroppers are in the most precarious situation, since all innovations are likely to be capitalized in the value of land which means that either the rent will rise or, if the tenants refuse to pay a higher rent, they may be evicted.
Another important obstacle to innovation is risk. The Haitian peasant is poor and has comparatively few means to protect himself against undesirable consequences. This poses a problem in connection with innovation. We must remember that we are dealing with technological change in agriculture, which essentially means that we do not know whether a particular innovation will be successful or not until it has been tried in the local context. Changes that have worked elsewhere under roughly, but not completely, similar conditions may fail in the local setting.
The mechanism which has led to the gradual denudation of the hillsides is intimately connected with economic factors. Throughout the history of the country there have been very few economic alternatives to agriculture and, in spite of some spotty growth in the industrial sector, the situation remains essentially the same today. The economics behind the soil destruction process can be described in the following way. I4 When the population grows, so does the labor force. e. the cultivation techniques become more labor-intensive.
Politics or Markets?: Essays on Haitian Underdevelopment by Mats Lundahl