Livelihoods in the discussion about economic safety in peripheral regions
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Uniwersytet Warszawski
Uniwersytet Marii Curie-Skłodowskiej w Lublinie
Publication date: 2015-06-30
JoMS 2015;25(2):241–260
In the discussion on the possibilities for emerging from a state of backwardness and underdevelopment that may be available to rural parts of developing countries, and in the search for a concept that might help reduce poverty levels in these same areas, reference is made to various strands of thought through which authors basically evoke one or other of the fundamental “schools” of development present in the subject literature for more than three decades now. Last two decades at least have brought a downward trend for the numbers working in agriculture in the world as a whole, the share of the overall workforce engaged in this kind of activity remains considerable in many developing countries. Agriculture continues to represent a basic source of income, thanks to which large groups of people in rural areas continue to have upkeep. And while today’s world has a globalized system of food production, there remain – and continue in a strong position – the two key systems of farm production, i.e. commercial (albeit of diff ering magnitudes and production profi les) and subsistence (thanks to which the populations living in underdeveloped, poor and marginalized rural areas continue to be able to maintain their lives, if “only just”). Th e concept of livelihood used in this study is very useful in helping us understand the process of the accumulation – and the accessing – of certain non-material features and material goods known in general as assets, which allow each household or each community to devise a strategy by which the basic existential needs are to be safeguarded. Th ese are also sought in the context of features of the surroundings in which communities operate. It is accepted that the environment defi ned in this way is variable and vulnerable to all kinds of change, be this institutional, political or environmental (Carney 1998).