Productive power in agriculture: a survey of work on the local history of British India.

David Ludden

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Historical work seems to support two propositions: most agricultural investment occurred as transactions within local circuits of power that existed before British rule; and trends in agricultural development from 1750 to 1950 inevitably effected local power relations built upon the control of productive resources. The availability of open land is not itself sufficient to create social mobility. If the land is jungle, as was most of eastern India, it takes lots of labour to clear, plant, and protect from animals. If it is dry scrubland, the same job can be done with very small groups, who nonetheless need to protect themselves, as well as to weather frequent droughts. Irrigated land requires large initial and steady subsequent doses of organized labour for construction and maintenance, as well as an institutional mechanism to distribute water and to settle disputes. The specific technical requirements of any cultivation regime, therefore, combine with the natural tendency for farming populations to expand proximally to make it likely that one type of organizational structure will be reproduced throughout a particular type of terrain unless prevented from doing so. Pre-existing types of agricultural organization are more likely to be recreated than are radically new ones to arise, given no change in technology.-from Author

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)51-99
    Number of pages49
    JournalUnknown Journal
    StatePublished - 1985

    Fingerprint

    Agriculture
    India
    Likely
    Personnel
    agriculture
    Local Power
    Drought
    history
    labor
    Weather
    Proposition
    Expand
    Transactions
    Animals
    Dose
    Maintenance
    Availability
    power relations
    agricultural development
    Sufficient

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)
    • Environmental Science(all)

    Cite this

    Productive power in agriculture : a survey of work on the local history of British India. / Ludden, David.

    In: Unknown Journal, 1985, p. 51-99.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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