Social Scientist. v 7, no. 79 (Feb 1979) p. 42.


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BARBARA HARRISS

The Role of Agro-Commercial Capital in ^ Rural Development^ in South India

IN the words of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), "rural development is a strategy to improve the economic and social life of the rural poor^.-^to reduce poverty, increase production and raise productivity... to modernize and monetize rural society". The Bank includes in its emphasis on rural lending, "lending to larger scale farmers when it is necessary to raise their production in order to increase food supplies and/or contribute to exports.'91 It is therefore evident that the focus of the IBRD's current renewal of interest in "rural development" is not simply the increase of agricultural production per se but rather an increase in marketed surplus. The latter of course is one essential instrument for monetization of the rural economy and for the consequent increase in its effective demand. In turn through the mechanism of the marketed surplus, food is supplied to the non food owning sector (the rural as well as the urban landless), raw materials are supplied to agro-industry and control over resources transferred via financial mechanisms (for example, through the obligation to market in order to earn cash for taxes; through the manipulation of relative prices and through the direct investment of agricultural savings in non-agriculture). These resources may be used for public sector infrastructural investment, public



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