Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Global Capitalism and Agriculture Activism : An Analysis of Arena of Contest in South Asia

Mahmood Ansari, Mahmood Ansari (2010): Global Capitalism and Agriculture Activism : An Analysis of Arena of Contest in South Asia. Published in: Man and Society: A Journal of Northeast Studies , Vol. 5, No. 5 (2010): pp. 100-122.


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South Asian countryside is potentially an attractive space on the globe though in actuality it is as yet comparatively much less globalised an arena. It has not only a potential vast capacity to supply the valued platter of tropical foods to the world but also a rapidly increasing actual capacity to be a huge reservoir market for commodity and capital of the world. Global capitalism is thus restless to penetrate this arena of South Asia; it has been conducive in bringing here a number of international institutionalised organisations to establish its sway. Combined with the already flourishing domestic organisation movements which have been resisting all that harms agriculture and the ‘rural’, the entry of such organisations which are fabulously magnified and huge in size is but a clear danger to the old regimes of the respective nation-states. Faced with the prospect of increasingly shrunken role in the economic sectors of manufacturing and services, the domestic state actors has a stake in maintenance of its presence in the ‘rural’ because agriculture here has not been displaced by either the industrialisation set in the early twentieth century or the agribusiness system dominating in the late twentieth century. They find here and here only a hassle-free terrain on a platter. The danger to the regimes of domestic states which has been created through sustained efforts by activities connected with the domestic organisation movements is magnified with such entry of external entities working at the behest of global capitalism. A tripartite conflict of interests has been unfolding for some time. As principal adversaries, not only the agricultural populace together with their newly-discovered supporters amidst the middle-class intelligentsia and media but also the alien arbitrators of the international inter-governmental mega-institutions and private multinational corporations is at the loggerhead with the native functionaries of respective nation-state.

Can the individual nation-state hold its autonomous presence in the south Asian countryside? The answer is difficult. In this regime of globalisation of capital, production and consumption of food under the aegis of globalised agribusiness firms and corporation, the dispute is certainly and transparently on the issues of principles and practices of sharing the fruits of economic advancement in south Asia. If at all the nation-states have to maintain their ‘agrarian welfare state’ image in the countryside, it is only the act of delivery of justice for the ‘rural’ that would be crucial in maintaining the legitimacy and acceptance of the states in south Asia. In such a situation as it obtains today, it is clear that the agenda of agrarian justice has already emerged as paramount in importance today than ever before. The domestic as well as international nongovernmental organisation movements are geared to this volitional agenda only.

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