Weapons of the Weak

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In James Scott's novel Weapons of the Weak: Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance he plainly describes what can only be viewed as the worsening of the lives of the village poor in Sedaka, Malaysia. He attributes the increase in economic inequality to Malaysia's green revolution. Consequently, Scott analyzes the impact of these changes on the poor, sighting several causes.

The green revolution began in the 1970's in Malaysia. It was brought about by an advance in technology, a new form of high yielding seeds. These new seeds led to the ability to double crop, or have more than one crop yield per season. Also, many of the large farmers opted to bring in combine harvesters to increase the speed at which they could harvest, making it easier for them to double crop. These new technologies may seem economically beneficial to all if viewed by the untrained observer. However, those who benefited were few. These new developments only benefited the wealthiest in society, consequently leaving the poor even poorer for many reasons.

More than anything the combine harvesters led to the increased troubles of Sedaka's poor. "Combine harvesting has meant, then, a loss of nearly half the wages previously received for paddy work by the poorer strata of Muda's peasantry (76)". Combine harvesters were valued by many large farmers as brilliant new technology. It allowed for them to eliminate the need of a labor force for cutting and threshing. "By the irrigated season of 1979 … they (combine harvesters) were harvesting fully 60 percent of Sedaka's patty land. A year later they were harvesting more than 80 percent (115)". Transplanting was the only work left for patty workers in Sedaka. Thus a problem presented itself for the one-quarter of Sedaka's population who subsisted solely from wage labor. Combine harvesters also allowed for large farmers to take up the practice of broadcasting, which took work away from those who helped with the pre-season planting. The...
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