MODERNIZING PEASANT SOCIETIES: A Comparative Study in Asia and Africa by Guy Hunter

MODERNIZING PEASANT SOCIETIES: A Comparative Study in Asia and Africa

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Prepared for London's Institute of Race Relations, this is a cautious but cogent analysis of the problems of developing (quondam Underdeveloped) nations that points out pitfalls more than it offers precise plans. The presiding fallacies are that institutions and techniques can be freely transferred from developed to developing countries or that the sequence of growth for African and Asian nations can be deduced from the peasant phase of the industrialized countries. These approaches are generally inappropriate to the particular situations and unique needs of peasant societies in the 20th century. Hunter advocates individual treatment for different countries and regions in accordance with their physical environment and social psychology. Growth is necessarily sequential but can be accelerated, and change has to involve the whole matrix of a society. The Asian examples, already part way down the road to capitalism, require reform and modification, while tropical Africa provides an opportunity to create a new order from the start. Traditional philosophies of liberalism and Marxism may not have the answers; the African models are opting for a simpler, more suitable system of revolutionary one-party government imbued with zestful new idealism. A high-level primer for those interested in the practical task of development.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1969
Publisher: Oxford