1.3.5. Agrarian Reforms and Development

As necessary as agrarian reforms are in many parts of the world, one must not expect too much of them. Very often, they produce the preconditions without which a development process cannot get started. Creating the preconditions, even if they are successful, is not a guarantee, however, that there will be development. Agrarian reforms are only a contribution.

In particular, they are not able to overcome some of the basic obstacles that hinder development in economic and social fields. Among these are, first and foremost, the population problem and the resulting employment problems. In densely settled countries, agriculture is not in a position to provide all of the people with productive work. It is indeed able to employ more labourers if the structure and organization are appropriate and has to keep people in the rural areas who are not really needed even if this means less productivity in order to provide them with the minimal basic needs. A solution to the employment problem can, however, only come form the non-agricultural sector. Adequate agricultural production is the prerequisite for this.

The above has already intimated that agrarian reforms can only obliquely touch the problem of poverty and not solve it. The really poor are landless and are generally not affected by agrarian reform measures.

These limitations that agrarian reforms are faced with make it clear that the more integrated they are in the overall economic development process and its promotional measures, the more effective they will be. The fact that, unfortunately, agrarian reforms are still frequently restricted to the agricultural sector means that they will be faced by limitations because this ignores the intertwining and interdependence of agricultural and non- -agricultural development The mostt consequent integration of agrarian reforms in the overall economic development took place in the case of the Chinese people's commmes.

Finally, agrarian reform measures are limited in the time they will be effective. The newly created agrarian structure will soon exhibit new problems regarding the relation of people, land, and technology and, therefore, necessitate new changes to adjust to the situation, or new reform measures.

As the individual countries have reached different levels in the development process, the major targets of agrarian reform measures will vary.

In the early stages of development, the greatest problems result from the concentration of the land in the hands of a few. Since the basis of existence is the ownership of land, the land monopoly leads to power over, and exploitation of the handless. The landowners' interest concentrates more on the control of the land than its productivity. Land ownership reforms reduce the inequality in the distribution of the land, tie more labourers to the land, and cause an end to the stagnating agrarian economy.

At a somewhat more advanced level of development, industrialization and urbanization begin, frequently accompanied by a population increase. At this level, an agrarian reform has to overcome the obstacles preventing an increase in agricultural production. These can partially still be found in the land ownership system. Measures for promoting land management also gain importance at this stage.

In view of the limited demand for manpower in the nonagricultural sector, an increase in agricultural production should be achieved mainly on the basis of more intensive employment of labour.

Progressing industrialisation necessitates setting manpower free and, thus, forces agriculture to become more capital intensive. The increased employment of inputs produced outside the agricultural sector causes the agrarian economy, industry, and service sectors to became interwoven. The agrarian structure has to be adjusted to the demands created by the employment of capital. That may necessitate increasing the farm unit area, or a transition to collective forms of farming. The increased risk, resulting from farming being interwoven with the market, demands an intensification of extension work and training.

A mature industrial society, again, means new roles for agriculture that has diminished to only a small sector. Since there are adequate alternatives for earning a living, there is little pressure to redistribute the land. In fact, small farms are not attractive. The centre of interest is not the ownership of land, but rather the income that can be earned through it. In order for agriculture to be comparable to other sectors, the farm size, capital assets, and investment of labour have to be appropriate. Agricultural production has characteristics similar to industrial production whether in a socialistic or capitalistic system. True agrarian reforms are less important under these circumstances than carefully planned incentives in the form of taxes, prices, and subsidies. They have to be integrated in the overall development policies due to the inseparable interlacing of the agrarian economy and society with the other sectors of the economy and society.