Analytical Piece of Persistent Poverty by Beckford and Levitt

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SOCI 2012 (SY23F) Social Change and Development

Analytical Paper: Beckford and Levitt. “Persistent Poverty: Possibilities for Change and Development.” In The George Beckford Papers, edited by Beckford and Levitt

The article “Possibilities for change and development” begins by stating that the persistence of underdevelopment in the plantation economies derives basically from the nature of the plantation system itself. Distinct features of the plantation society presented by Beckford such as the prevalence of mono-crop cultivation, dependency on foreign aid and investors, demand for foreign products and social stratification all contributed to the current state most Third World Nations (Beckford, 1972). According to Beckford, the plantation system was a total economic institution where the internal and external dimensions of the plantation system dominate the countries’ economic social and political structure and their relation with the rest of the world. The persistence of poverty in Third World countries is not one dimensional that is, focusing on an economic standpoint but they also show how the plantation system had a ripple effect into other aspects of society. Because this system has become so engrained in society and its legacy is prevalent even in contemporary society, the problem arises how these countries would overcome this problem. Beckford and Levitt state that these changes are bound to be difficult and sacrifices would have to be made in order to secure development for the long term. Moreover, these transformations would not solely take place in the economic arena, but also in the socio cultural and political sectors of society.

The issue of persistent poverty is both important and pressing. The plantation system creates underdevelopment by creating a legacy of dependency because decision making concerning fundamental economic issues still reside outside the plantation society. Furthermore there is a lack of motivation toward...
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