2.a) Rural development is part of the overall socio-economic development

Rural poverty is caused primarily by a limited access to resources. This limitation may result from an imbalance between population and available resources. We all know the difficulties of improving the balance by applying a successful population policy, and we know that a solution at long term will require a gradual closing of the gap between economic and population growth.

Besides the problem caused by population growth, access to resources is quite often limited for the rural poor because of the current socio-political situation. Here, the limited access to resources is deliberate, and the result is, that the available resources are underutilized because of obstacles of a socio-cultural and political nature. There are numerous examples of such a situation. Landless people cannot obtain land for cultivation, while landlords use their land extensively only; subsistence farmers have difficulties in obtaining credit; scarce means of production are supplied to certain sectors of the population only, etc.

If access to resources, i.e. to the factor responsible for rural poverty, is determined by the general socio-political situation, there cannot be a "rural" explanation to the rural situation. The reason for the poverty of rural areas is often to be sought outside these very areas. The ultimate cause of rural poverty is the lack of integration of rural areas into the overall socio-political and economic system. This holds true, not only for the national, but for the international system as well.

Poor rural areas and rural population find themselves in a marginal situation; they-are not part of the overall system. They do not participate in the development process, either actively as producer, or passively as receiver of goods and services. Likewise, they hardly participate in the decision-making process. The result of this marginality is widespread apathy, especially among the older generation of the rural poor, and a dangerous gap between aspiration and reality- among the youth.

The centre-periphery model of development theory offers a certain insight into the-consequences. According to this model, the interests between centre and periphery are-controversial, and only a change in the relations makes the integration of the periphery into the overall system possible. If this applied to our problem of rural poverty, it means-that the situaton of the rural poor can only be improved if these are integrated into the overall system. This demands that society becomes aware of the poverty problem and creates a suitable political climate which could result in budget allocations in favour of the poor areas. At the international level, it may require a new international division-of labour.

Here, it becomes clear that development is more than economic growth. The necessary political decisions will not come from change in production methods and economic situation alone. They also require a change in the social and political infrastructure, inhuman relations and especially in the power structure.