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PAPER PRESENTED TO THE ESRS CONFERENCE, 23RD OF AUGUST 2007, WAGENINGEN (plenary session on sustainabilities)

Jan Douwe van der Ploeg

1. introduction

In this paper I aim to discuss three basic concepts: resistance, autonomy and sustainability. I will especially focus on the interrelations between the three, i.e. how each transforms into the others., I think we can take it for granted that sustainability can be crafted in different ways. Within the same constellation different, and mutually contrasting, forms of sustainability can be constructed, each with its own specific meaning, its own balance and particular distribution of benefits and costs. As far as the concept of resistance is concerned, I will argue that it is far more widespread in today’s world than we normally assume, perceive or are willing to acknowledge. This is because many forms of resistance are not recognized as such. I will also argue that a renewed and more comprehensive concept of resistance can play a more prominent role in sociology, especially when it comes to sustainability in rural areas and food production. Finally there is the notion of autonomy which provides a key link between resistance and sustainability. Resistance often seeks autonomy, which in turn can also play strategic role in the creation of new levels of sustainability. This is especially true in a world that is increasingly structured in an Empire-like fashion. My point of departure here is ‘places of production’, i.e. those places where labour and production processes are located (see Figure 1).
Figure 1

A specific organization of labour and production processes can provoke resistance, just as resistance can reshape the place of production. Specific levels of sustainability (or ‘unsustainability’) are grounded in, and thus result from, a particular organization of the processes of production and labour, just as the specific level of sustainability can feed back (positively or negatively) on the place of production. And finally, specific places of production can entail and result in specific levels of autonomy that allow for an organization of labour and production processes that deviate from global models, rules and relations. In short: places of production can be moulded in highly contrasting ways. For example, the Amazon forest might be exploited according to the destructive logic of the poseiros who are directly undermining the sustainability of the natural resource base of the area . However, the same place of production might alternatively be ordered according to the logic and practices of the sem terra, as Kei Otsuki convincingly demonstrates in her thesis (2007) . The same principles can also be applied to typically urban places of production.

2.1. Resistance: three different, but interrelated, forms

Until recently, resistance has generally been conceptualized as occurring outside the well-established routines that characterize and structure labour and production processes. This applies especially to those forms of resistance that occur as overt struggle: strikes, demonstrations, road blocks, occupations, slow downs, etc. Yet, it can also occur on the margins, as is the case with covert resistance, the hidden and camouflaged resistance masterfully described by James Scott in his ‘Weapons of the weak’ (1985).
Long’s perceptive reformulation of the issue of resistance (2007), leads us to a recognition that there are far wider, and probably far more important, fields of action through which resistance materializes. These fields of action are located within spaces of production. In the 1960s and ‘70s we witnessed a wide range of urban expressions, which were theoretically elaborated in the Italian operaismo tradition (Holloway, 2002). Through such forms of resistance the techno-institutional structures of labour and production processes are actively altered. Routines, rhythms, patterns of cooperation, sequences, but also machines, their tuning and the mix of materials used, are all altered in order to improve labour and production processes and align them with the interests, prospects and experiences of the workers involved . Thus we have three forms of resistance (see figure 2). It goes without saying that the three are interlinked through a plethora of time and space bounded interrelations.

Figure 2: interrelated forms of resistance

The central point that I want to make is that this third form of resistance – direct intervention in, and alteration of, the processes of labour and production – is omnipresent in today’s agriculture. It is present in the unfolding of organic farming, just as it is the main driver of the many forms of endogenous rural development that we are witnessing in Europe. Resistance is encountered in a wide range of heterogeneous and increasingly interlinked practices through which the peasantry constitutes itself as distinctively different. I will give a few illustrations of this later. The practices entailed in these illustrations can only be understood as an expression, if not as a materialization, of resistance. Resistance resides in the fields, in the ways in which ‘good manure’ is made, ‘noble cows’ are bred, ‘beautiful farms’ are constructed, and ‘fresh milk’ is delivered. As ancient and irrelevant as such practices may seem when considered in isolation, in the current context they are increasingly vehicles through which resistance is expressed and organized. Resistance also resides in the creation of new peasant units of production and consumption in fields that would otherwise lie barren or be used for large scale production of export crops. It also resides in the take over of ‘natural lands’ by farmers. Resistance resides in the multitude of alterations (or actively constructed responses) that have been continued and/or created anew in order to confront the modes of ordering that currently dominate our societies .
One important feature of these new forms of resistance, especially relevant to sustainability, is that they entail searches for, and constructions of, local solutions to global problems. Blueprints are avoided . This results in a rich repertoire: the heterogeneity of the many responses thus also becomes one of the propelling forces that induce new learning processes. This pattern reflects the new relations that currently reign in many parts of the world: direct confrontations are increasingly impossible, if not counterproductive, yet at the same time global solutions are deeply distrusted. Hence, these new responses follow a different road: “Resistance is no longer a form of reaction but a form of production and action [….]. Resistance is no longer one of factory workers; it is a completely new resistance based on innovativeness […] and on autonomous co-operation between producing [and consuming] subjects. It is the capacity to develop new, constitutive potentialities that go beyond reigning forms of domination” (Negri, 2006: 54). I find this a good description of the multitude of responses involved. Resistance of the third kind is difficult to capture. It is everywhere, takes multiple forms and is often inspiring, in that it re-links people, activities and prospects. It provides a constant flux of, often unexpected, expressions that time and again flow over the limitations imposed by the dominant modes of ordering. Each and every form is an expression of critique and rebellion, a deviation that articulates superiority. Individually these expressions are innocent and harmless: considered together they become powerful and change the panorama.

2.2. Blinded science

Historically, the social sciences, and rural and development sociology in particular, have blinded themselves considerably to this third type of resistance. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, resistance of the third kind mostly debouched into alterations of the ‘material’; it resulted in adapted machinery, changed lay-outs of irrigation systems, differently bred cows, improved manure, etc. Thus this kind of resistance ‘escaped’ from sociology in as far as the latter focused mainly or exclusively on the ‘social’. In more general terms it might be argued that the sharp divisions of labour between social and technical disciplines strongly contributed to making these expressions of resistance invisible.
Secondly, resistance of the third kind does not readily conceptually fit into structural functionalism or modernization theories. In the Marxist tradition, especially due to the legacy of Leninism, the material alterations aimed for or created through resistance were understood as belonging to the muddy (and theoretically impossible) field of reformism: ‘real’ modifications could only be wrought, it was thought, after power had been seized.
Thirdly we have to reckon with the fact that, in many domains of real life, control over the labour process was de facto expropriated by management (Braverman, 1974) not only in industry but increasingly in agriculture (Benvenuti, et al, 1988). Social struggles were removed from the shop floor to places outside the farm and the factory where labour conditions (instead of labour content and methods) were negotiated (Mok, 1999, analyzed this as an exchange with control over the labour process exchanged for improved labour conditions). Currently, however, a basic shift seems to be materializing. The degradation of work and the precariousness of labour conditions – both increasingly spurred through and by the Empire-like restructuring of many spaces of production – trigger new forms of resistance, especially of the third kind.

2.3. Beyond reification

Productive activities are subject to a wide range of forces that mould and remould them in particular ways (see figure 3). One set of such forces can be summarized as those of global origin. A second set consists of local forces that actively intervene in the same spaces of production to introduce the required alterations. These two sets meet, interact and mutually transform each other within different production spaces (see Figure 3).

Figure 3

The methodological implications of such an approach are manifold. It implies, in the first place, that production processes cannot be understood and represented as being exclusively, or even principally moulded by and through the centralizing powers of state, capital, global markets and generalized regulatory systems. They are moulded and remoulded as much by the many forms of resistance and the actively constructed alterations that follow from them. Consequently, a priori schemes that separate and hierarchically order “dominant institutional frameworks and discourses” on the one hand and “subordinate actors” on the other, should be rejected, as Long (2007) recently argued in a convincing and theoretically underpinned way. According to him “we need to probe more closely into the dialectics of ‘dominant’ and ‘subordinate’ social forms”( Long 2007). This flows into a second methodological observation. These two sets of forces cannot be understood as two independent and opposed blocks that are only linked in an ‘external’ way. It is not solely a question of central powers imposing themselves on impotent peripheries. Rather, the two sets of forces are linked to each other through internal relations (Holloway, 2002). Global and local forces are interwoven in and through production spaces, each of which is to be understood as a battleground where they are linked through internal relations and mutually shape and reshape each other. One cannot be understood without the other.
Thirdly, it follows that power relations are not necessarily to be seen as asymmetrical per definition. Timothy Mitchell’s study of Egypt and the ‘Rule of Experts’ (2002) stresses the need for “thinking of power as something local in construction”.
The essence of his argument is that “[although power is] drawing upon and shaped by larger logics, [it is] built out of the practical relations between farmers and laborers, landowners and middlemen, bureaucrats and merchants, men and women.
The fields [or more generally: the spaces of production] that villagers own or rent, labor in or supervise, sell or seize control of, are the crucial sites for constructing and contesting rural power relations”. Mitchell underlines the need to reintroduce the spaces of production, or ‘the fields’ as he calls them into the analysis. “Seen from the perspective of the fields [….] the state becomes a […] complex set of relations. These no longer appear primarily in the form of a central power intervening to initiate change, but as local practices of regulation, policing and coercion that [….] are themselves a site of struggle and reversal” (2002:167-8; italics added).

Figure 4

Figure 4 illustrates one such a field or space of production. For many it will be enigmatic. However, once the required concepts are available its meaning is crystal clear. The image shows a multiple act of resistance; and also highlights a specific trajectory towards sustainability, one that is at odds with, but far from inferior to state imposed trajectories. It is about ‘larger logics’ as e.g. “the taken-for-granted scientific culture of prediction and control, and the farmers’ culture [that perceives] predictability to be intrinsically unreliable [and therefore values] adaptability and flexibility as key parts of […] cultural identity and practical knowledge” (Wynne, 1996: 66-67). The same image also shows that such ‘larger logics’ do indeed meet and transform each other in the fields, or spaces of production. To put it somewhat differently: the ‘global’ only exists in as far as it interacts with the local and it is precisely in and through this interaction that its actual or potential vulnerability is revealed.

3.1. From resistance to autonomy

In the countryside (but not only there), resistance is strongly related to the creation, defence and further unfolding of autonomy. The creation of autonomy is an expression, as well as a result, of resistance. At the same time these created degrees of autonomy allow for further resistance, especially of the third kind.

Ironically, the social sciences have struggled to arrive at a clear representation of autonomy as much as they have struggled with the notion of resistance. This is already clear in the definitions of the peasantry. Nearly all definitions handed down from the past stress oppression, dependency, exploitation and humiliation as key features of the peasantry. Peasants are basically represented as “passive victims”. Shanin even uses “the underdog position, [i.e.] the domination of the peasantry by outsiders” as one of the basic facets that define and delimit peasant societies. The ‘subordinate’ position of peasants is central to Shanin’s conceptualization: “Peasants, as a rule, have been kept at arms' length from the social sources of power. Their political subjection interlinks with cultural subordination and economic exploitation through tax, corvee, rent, interest, and terms of trade unfavourable to the peasant" (1971:15) .In itself such a description is not wrong. Such elements might still be easily encountered in present day Dutch agriculture. The point is that such a view is incomplete and only stresses one side of the equation. Peasants are not only subject to dependency, deprivation and marginalization, they are also resisting and fighting them through creating their own autonomy. This occurs through the multidimensional and multilevel creation and development of a self-governed set of resources. It also occurs through the often collective creation of forms of autonomy at higher levels of aggregation. It is precisely this constructed autonomy that allows for the introduction of alterations, innovations, new interrelations and artefacts, in short: the introduction of a wide range of new responses into the spaces of production.

3.2. Three short examples

Figure 5 shows a peasant family from Catacaos in Peru. They, like so many others, are settled in tierra de lucha campesina, in the area that once was the place of massive and repeated invasions and where one of the first Communal Units of Production (San Pablo Sur) was later created. To some the image may convey a sense of being lost in messiness and poverty (just as the previous Dutch peasant seemed to be lost in emptiness, solitude and a lack of meaning). There is some fodder, a corral with a few sheep, the wall of a temporary shelter primarily made of straw and, of course, there is a man and his wife. For them, however, the story is different: it is about a resource base they have constructed throughout the years, a resource base that carries the expectation of forging some progress through their own labour . In more general terms: this man and woman, together with thousands of other peasants, materially repatterned this particular space of production: it has the area highest ratio of people to land in this part of Peru and it is also the area where the highest yields are realized. The image also conveys a story about relative autonomy and the associated sustainability: in this repatterned landscape water, the scarcest resource, is converted far more effectively in terms of production, employment and income than in neighbouring Food Empires (Ploeg, 2006). In short, the image tells of actively constructed responses to an ugly regime that condemns many people to live “wasted lives” (Bauman, 2004). There is also pride and dignity in the image, which are also important elements, as “countervailing power resides in the dignity of everyday life” (Holloway, 2002: 217).

Figure 5

Figure 6 illustrates another form of (re-)patterning the world, another clash of the ‘global’ and the ‘local’. In northern and central Italy, there has been a very interesting and widespread revival of latte vivo (living milk). New, miniaturized and automated technical devices for controlling and bottling fresh milk and arrangements for its distribution through new, extended networks are important elements in this change. The milk is distributed from the farm to a range of schools, hospitals, shops, restaurants, etc. It is transported every morning (after milking, cooling and bottling) in refrigerated vans to points of distribution where it is put into cooled display cases from which the public can buy it. The fine tuning of the actor-network that embraces both the farm and the consumers is crucial. Cows are milked in conditions of extreme hygiene, the milking equipment is chosen with care, cleaning procedures and controls are painstakingly precise. Cows must be free from stress, reducing their vulnerability to disease, whilst feed and fodder meets the highest criteria for cleanliness and health. Those doing the milking must be able to observe and correctly interpret any change in cattle behaviour. In short: the farms as a whole, as well as the network in which they are embedded, are turned into a well functioning and well cared for constellation, that provides fresh milk which meets the highest standards of quality and safety. The network also embraces consumers and their behaviour. If consumers buy fresh milk from one of the cooled display cases and leave it for hours in a car parked in the sun before putting in the refrigerator at home – or if they use the fresh milk after say, two days – then the efforts made at farm level are in vain. The network needs consumers that are not only capable of judging and appreciating the specific virtues of fresh milk, but who are willing to treat it appropriately.

Figure 6

In short, the image informs us about the making of a specific kind of sustainability. At the same time it highlights the search for, and construction of autonomy. The involved farmers are actively escaping the patterns of dependency imposed by dairy industry. Thus, it testifies to resistance and of the creation of novel responses that tend to be superior to the constellations created by and in the conventional milk market.

Finally figure 7: as enigmatic as it might seem at first sight, it is nonetheless a very clear expression of the struggles in which Friesian peasants are engaged. They are actively repatterning their spaces of production (more specifically: the soil-plant-fodder-animal-manure cycles entailed in their grassland based dairy farms) so as to resist the state imposed regulatory schemes that increasingly order (or ‘disorder’ as these farmers would say) their labour and production processes. By doing so, they repattern important parts of the ‘material world’. As the graph shows they substantially reduce the N-content of manure produced on their farms, thus constructing new forms of sustainability that are far superior to those that the state seeks to impose. The simultaneous struggle for the enlargement of their autonomy (of their ‘farming freedom’ as the classical expression goes) is, in this respect, a crucial prerequisite. What is interesting is the circularity: the better the performance in terms of sustainability, the stronger the claim on autonomy will become (and the better the chances that it will be granted, at least partly).

Figure 7: empirical levels of N-excretion in relation to milk production per cow (Reijs, 2007)

Explanation: N excretion (g cow-1 day-1) in relation to the level of milk production (kg FPCM cow-1 day-1) for winter diets containing <150 g CP kg-1 DM (○), 150-160 g CP kg-1 DM (●) and >160 g CP kg-1 DM (●) on 12 VEL and VANLA farms in the period 2001-2004. The dotted lines indicate constant N excretion per kg FPCM produced

4. On sustainability, autonomy and resistance

The three examples above all relate to sustainability, resistance and autonomy and the linkages and flows between them. At first sight they appear to be highly enigmatic. Without an adequate theoretical understanding of the links between the three concepts, provided in the first section of this paper they, and the contribution that they make to sustainability, would probably go unnoticed and remain invisible.
This is not to imply, that people in an ‘underdog position’ are always and everywhere environmentalists. Following Martinez-Alier one can safely state that “this is patent nonsense” (2002:viii). However, as with Martinez-Alier argues “in ecological distribution conflicts, the poor are often on the side of resource conservation and a clean environment”(ibid) . This is due to the position they occupy within the current Empire-like constellations; and due to the prospects they outline within the constellations that they create in which constructing of degrees of autonomy is a central feature.
There are further important additional reasons why the poor create more sustainable constellations. Without going into great details the following mechanisms appear important:
1) When spaces of production are ordered in terms of co-production (that is the encounter, interaction and mutual transformation of man and living nature), production will be more in line with local eco-systems. This avoids the many frictions inherent in more industrialized and more standardized forms of organization and production.
2) Confronted with markets that (for well known reasons) increasingly embody a ‘squeeze’ of rising costs and lagging or falling output prices, many producers respond by strengthening co-production: increasingly grounding their production processes on the use and reproduction of nature (or ecological capital). Thus, resistance flows into new patterns of sustainability.
3) Consumers increasingly value authenticity, freshness, taste and diversity and are increasingly prepared to remunerate producers engaged in appropriate and novel forms of sustainability (such as those briefly sketched). This process requires shared knowledge about the origin of the products and services, which helps to create and sustain ‘nested markets’ that provide premium prices.
4) Peasant economies, together with many informal economies of an urban character are patterned in a way in which natural resources (land, water, animals, wood, fuel, marble, etc) are scarce, and also have a non-commodity character. Hence, there is a strong tendency to conserve and protect them. This is a remarkable contrast with production processes that are structured in an Empire-like way. In the latter, animals for instance, are throw-away objects, whilst in peasant economies they are resources that are precious and well cared for.
5) As more units of production develop into multi-product or multifunctional firms (partly in response to the turmoil in globalizing markets), there is a greater need for positive externalities. Again, this translates (albeit indirectly) into positive contributions to sustainability.
6) Finally I want to refer to the remarkable capacity of peasants to elaborate conversion mechanisms that differ from market-transactions. Markets are increasingly coming to function as the exclusive domain through which all connections, transformations and translations are organized. Through resistance contrasting modes, such as reciprocity, socially regulated exchange, as well as self provisioning enterprises that allow people to organize themselves beyond the limits of the markets are being created or sustained. Their contribution to the construction of sustainability might be considerable. As Marsden recently observed: “It is possible to rebuild rural development in ways which increase the interactions with the external economy at the same time as maximize the ways in which more economic and social value can be fixed in rural areas […]. However, this will not occur through market mechanisms alone” (2006: 23).

Taken together these six points have a potential for informing a research agenda that is far from irrelevant in a world that is characterized, on the one hand, by very serious sustainability problems and, on the other, by millions, if not billions, of people whose fate can only be thought in terms of resistance.


Bauman, Z. (2004), Vite di Scarto [Wasted Lives; Modernity and its Outcasts], Edizione Laterza, Roma/Bari

Benvenuti, B., S. Antonello, C. De Roest, E. Sauda e J.D. van der Ploeg (1988), Produttore agricolo e potere; modernizzazione delle relazioni sociali ed economiche e fattori determinanti dell’imprenditorialita agricola,, CNR/IPRA, Roma

Braverman, H. (1974), Labor and Monopoly Capital: the degradation of work in the 20th century, Monthly Review Press, New York

Burawoy, Michael (2007), Sociology and the fate of society (View Point, January-July 2007), on:

Hardt, Michael and Antonio Negri (2002), Empire, Van Gennep, Amsterdam

Holloway, John (2002), Cambiar el mundo sin tomar el poder: el significado de la revolución hoy, El Viejo Topo, Madrid

Long, Norman (2007a), Resistance, Agency and Counter-work: a theoretical positioning, in: W. Wright and G. Middendorf, Food Fights. Penn State University Press

Marsden, Terry (2006), New questions and challenges for rural development and agri-food policies: lessons and convergences from the European experience (paper presented at the Institute for Transport and Rural Research, University of Aberdeen, 8-12-2006

Martinez-Alier, Joan (2002), The environmentalism of the poor, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham

Mitchell, Timothy (2002), Rule of Experts: Egypt, Techno-Politics, Modernity, University of California Press, Berkely

Mok, Albert L. (1999), Arbeid, bedrijf en maatschappij, EPN, Houten

Negri, Antonio (2006), Movimenti nell’Impero, passagi e paesaggi, Rafaello Cortina Editore, Milano

Otsuki, Kei (2007), Paradise in a Brazil Nut Cenmetery: Sustainability Discourses and Social Action in Pará, the Brazilian Amazon (Ph.D. thesis) Wageningen University, Wageningen

Ploeg, Jan Douwe van der (2006d), El Futuro Robado; tierra, agua y lucha campesina, Instituto de Estudios Peruanos, Lima

Reijs, Joan (2007), Increasing N efficiency on dairy farms through diet adjustments’(preliminary title), Ph.D. thesis, Wageningen University, Wageningen

Scott, James C. (1985), Weapons of the Weak: everyday forms of peasant resistance, Yale University Press, New Haven and London

Shanin, Teodor (1971), Peasants and Peasant Societies, Penguin Books, Harmondsworth

Shanin, Teodor (1990), Defining Peasants, Basil Blackwell, London

Wolf, Eric (1966), Peasants, Englewood Cliffs, Prentice-Hall, New Jersey

Wynne, Brian (1996), May the sheep safely graze? A reflexive view of the expert-lay knowledge divide, in: Lash, S., Szerszynski, B. and Wynne, B. (eds), Risk, environment and modernity. Towards a new ecology. Sage, Londen, pp. 44-83

[1] Poseiros is the local Brazilian term for the people who are colonizing the Amazon forest. In dominant discourse it is the ‘poor people’ that threaten the sustainability of natural resources but the Poseiros, can hardly be considered as poor people. They are relatively rich people, operating as entrepreneurs. They convert a piece of forest into pasture land, selling first the timber and then the pastureland. With the money thus obtained they can acquire a larger piece of forest that is subsequently converted into more timber and new pasture or soya-producing land. In other words commoditization and conquest are at the heart of this entrepreneurial mechanism. Increasing parts of the forest are conquered and converted into commodities in order to obtain more commodities and trigger new rounds of conquest. Thus, the poseiros accumulate very large properties and develop into fazendeiros, i.e. big landowners. Labour is mostly very poorly paid and the poseiros frequently use ‘slave labour’. . The poseiro mode of production is intimately linked to, if not partly induced by, different forms of Empire, providing a flow of cheap raw materials (timber, meat and soya) for major agribusiness groups from the West (and increasingly from China).
[2] The sem terra (literally translated as the landless people) are poor people trying to reconstitute themselves as peasants. They typically occupy agricultural land that is lying barren or is unproductive and struggle to convert it into productive land. The plots that they create are more or less limited in size to what one family can till. This process relies decisively on the organizational and political support of the MST.
[3] It can be argued, in more general terms, that the informal networks that exist on the shop floor are another, albeit less militant, but probably more continuous, expression of such resistance.
[4] It will be clear, I hope, that the concept used here, ‘multitude of responses’, is meant as a critique of Hardt and Negri (2002) whose use of the term ‘multitude’ is basically void and without intentionality. Here I distance my analysis from their highly abstract concept of ‘multitude’ which is as depersonalized as ‘class’ in many historical analyses. In contrast, my use of ‘multitude of responses’ refers to specific fields of actions in which concrete responses are developed; and to the real social actors who create, develop and implement these responses.
[5] This contrasts strongly with the previous modernization epoch in which, as Bauman has signaled, essentially local problems were countered with global solutions.
[6] Wolf (1966:11) argues that it is “only when […] the cultivator becomes subject to the demands and sanctions of power-holders outside his social stratum that we can appropriately speak of peasantry”.
[7] Long summarizes this point as follows: “Discourses produce texts – written and spoken – and even non-verbal ‘texts’ like the meanings embodied in infrastructure such as asphalt roads, dams and irrigation systems, and in farming styles and technologies”. Here the ‘discourse’ is embodied in the resource-base, in the sheep, the fodder, etc and, subsequently, it is the resource-base that expresses and underlines the ‘discourse’.
[8] Note that all three examples exemplify “ecological distribution conflicts”.
[9] In a world ordered by and as Empire, conversions occur through monetary transactions, and each transaction needs to be a profitable one. In Empire, exchange value and profitability dominate over any kind of use-value (Holloway, 2002: 262) or, to paraphrase Burawoy, “the mode of exchange oppresses the mode of production” (2007: 4). Consequently, resources, labour, knowledge, products, services or whatever, are all converted into commodities. In consequence many connections become impossible, many resources lay idle, many lives are wasted, and many conversions are blocked.

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Jan Douwe van der Ploeg
Professor of Transition Processes in Europe
Wageningen University
the Netherlands and Adjunct Professor of Rural Sociology
College of Humanities and Development Studies
China Agricultural University, Beijing, China.
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