The Accumulationist Perspective

A second perspective, forming a critical response to modernization, may be called the "accumulationist" or "capital-accumulation" viewpoint. This line of argument draws on neo-Marxism, as well as dependency theory influential among Latin Americanists. Briefly put, accu-mulationists recognize the roles of power, capital accumulation, and private ownership that are emphasized in the modernization school of development (e.g., Baran, 1957). Dependency theorists further incorporate the ideas of Frank (1967; see also de Janvry, 1983), who has described the structural inequalities inherent in relationships between the West and the Third World. While these perspectives differ in minor ways, as a practical matter they may be considered together.

Drawing on the accumulationist critique, Beneria and Sen (1981, 1982) provide a wide-ranging assessment of the modernization model. They note that Boserup's work itself is rooted in modernist assumptions, for example, in Boserup's unproblematic acceptance of individual choice and market economics as the means of development (Beneria & Sen, 1981, pp. 282-283), and ignores the problems arising among societies that were formerly colonized by outsiders. Further, Boserup ignores entirely the role of capital accumulation, often gendered, wherein men use tools and skills acquired from development experts to expand and concentrate their own capital (e.g., in the form of land). Such processes have profound consequences for women who may be marginalized from land or excluded from farming. Beneria and Sen also argue that this oversight neglects the issue of incipient rank or class. For those individuals who can accumulate capital, differences based on class rapidly develop. The literature is rife with such examples (e.g., Colloredo-Mansfeld, 1999; Hogendorn, 1978; Stephen, 1992)

and this process can work in several ways. Colloredo-Mansfeld (1999) has recently described the ways that the Ecuadorian Otovaleno movement into the world market has intensified class differences in Otovalo communities. The better off are increasingly likely to accumulate and reinvest their income, while those unable to do so remain poor (Colloredo-Mansfeld, 1999). Hogendorn (1978) noted that the shift from subsistence farming to the commercial production of peanuts in Nigeria intensified rank and gender differences as increasingly large fields were planted with peanuts. Those with more land could increase production and acquire the land of their poorer neighbors. Women's best subsistence land was planted with peanuts, leaving women to farm on less and less productive land. Stephen's (1992) research among commercial weavers in Oaxaca, Mexico described the ways that weaving families mobilized unpaid family labor to increase their production and move into a merchant class; increasingly such "merchant" families are accumulating capital to reinvest in the family business.

Beneria and Sen further describe this process, noting that in polygynous societies men with several wives may use access to such tools combined with their wives' labor to accumulate wealth that they invest in more landholdings. In these cases, wives retained less and less control over the land they worked, devolving into their husband's field hands (Beneria & Sen, 1981, p. 287). Such structural changes separate women directly from their own means of production and increase their economic dependence upon male kin, from whom they must now seek cash to purchase food they previously grew themselves. With a growing lack of borrowing power, they find themselves in a cycle of intensifying inequality.

The accumulationist perspective criticizes modernization theory for its unquestioning acceptance of the expanding global market, maintaining that capitalist development in particular marginalizes women in several important ways: it intensifies class divisions between different women through the processes described above, it intensifies patriarchy, because women are further confined to the household, and it concentrates women in the informal economy—that is, working for cash "off the books"—most often as vendors or domestics (Hart, 1973).

Nash has written widely on the impact of development, and upon development policy and its effects, specifically upon women. Most development policy tends to ignore women or undervalue the subsistence contributions that they make within a household or family. This omission can increase women's economic dependency upon men because when women's subsistence activities are reduced or eliminated they are increasingly forced to rely on the incomes of male kin. This itself further pressures men to seek wage labor or to intensify such labor, even though they might prefer subsistence-based labor that is socially and culturally valued (Nash, 1977, p. 152). The desire to maintain a traditional agrarian subsistence pattern is particularly widespread in Latin America, and is found in the Maya regions of Mexico (for Chiapas see Eber, 2001; for Yucatán see Re Cruz, 1996), in Ecuador (Weismantel, 1988), and in Peru (Deere & León de Leal, 1981).

The situation is less clear in the African case, where women rather than men are farmers. Because agricultural development emphasizes large-scale market-driven projects, all small farmers tend to be marginalized. However, women subsistence farmers fare poorly since technology projects are still generally presented to men, who themselves may have had a wider range of experience with technology (e.g., Ferguson, 1994). Again, these factors push women farmers to the margins and increase their dependence on male kin (Nash, 1977, pp. 172-173).

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