6 SOCIAL SCIENTIST
the general issue of Trade and Pricing in World Agriculture, addressed both the issue of appropriate policies in developing countries and the international trade issues which are the focus of GATT negotiations. Restructuring Economies in Distress (edited by Thomas et. a!., 1991) is a World Bank publication based on its own evaluation of its structural lending programmes, and contains a section on agriculture. And the second volume of the World Bank's 1991 Country Economic Memorandum for India, sub-titled AgricultureŚChallenges and Opportunities, is the latest Bank document specifically dealing with Indian agriculture. Taken together, these documents provide a fairly detailed outline of the sort of policy thinking that the Bank, and other multilateral agencies, are likely to urge upon India's agriculture policy-makers, and, on the evidence of the last year, probably with considerable success. For this reason, it is useful to begin with a brief review of these documents.
The general tenor of the 1986 World Development Report (WDR) is that, although world agricultural output grew fairly rapidly during 1970-85, and growth in food production was higher in the developing countries than in the developed ones, this was a result mainly of the availability of new, particularly the 'green revolution', technology. On the other hand, according to the report, the general economic policies followed by developing countries limited the growth of agricultural production and hampered efforts to reduce rural poverty. In particular, the WDjR identified two critical areas. First, the restrictions on international trade and the quota and tax-subsidy regimes which result in a 'bias against agriculture', caused by a divergence of domestic prices from international parities. And, secondly, that government interventions at all stages of production, consumption and marketing of agricultural products and inputs, have frequently resulted in greater inefficiencies and lower output and incomes.
The Bank's critique is transcendental in that, according to it, the discrimination against agriculture 'is very much an integral part of development strategies that promote domestic industries behind high trade barriers'. In other words, the Bank disapproves, as being inimical to agricultural growth, any industrialisation process which involves an attempt to accelerate industrial growth by turning the internal terms of trade between agriculture and industry so that agriculture is worse off than it would be if domestic prices were aligned with world prices. And, it argues further that 'government programs for price stabilisation, consumer subsidies, and producer input subsidies . . . are far less effective than they are thought to be in promoting either a more efficient allocation of resources or a more even distribution of income.' Moreover, runs the argument, the discrimination against agriculture is exacerbated by ways in which countries attempt to cope with changing economic circumstances, failing