This book is a detailed analysis of the evolution of
state-sponsored agricultural co-operativism in Peru, an Andean
country with high levels of land concentration and widespread rural
poverty. Most Peruvian agricultural co-operatives were organized
during the military populist government of Velasco Alvarado which,
after radical land reform, transformed expropriated estates into
co-operatives. From the start, these projects became subject to
multiple pressures that ranged from unfavourable government
economic policies -- designed to promote import-substitution
industrialization at the expense of the agricultural sector -- to
the growth of the co-operative bureaucracy and the deterioration of
A shift toward market-oriented economic strategies after the
fall of the Velasco government aggravated the co-operatives'
difficulties. Stabilization programs implemented by Velasco's
successor, General Mortales Bermudez, and liberalization of the
national economy by the civilian government of Belaunder Terry
dealt a severe blow to Peru's co-operative agriculture. The ensuing
crisis gave rise to political mobilization against the
market-oriented economic policies. However, the effectiveness of
this movement was undermined by a trend toward dissolution of
agricultural co-operatives by many members who turned to
individual/private agriculture as a solution. Korovkin examines not
only the diverging responses of co-operative memebers to the
crisis, but also the external policy-related and internal
organizational causes behind it.
The focus of this book is on the cotton-growing sector that
constituted the back-bone of the state-sponsored co-operative
movement in Peru. The analysis of the national dynamic is
complemented by case studies of three cotton estates converted into
agricultural production co-operatives. One of these proved
reasonably successful, while the other two experienced serious
economic difficulties, looking for their solution in either
poitical mobilization against the government's economic policies or
in the shift to individual/private agriculture. The comparative
analysis of their experiences provides valuable insights into the
nature of organizational problems confronting Peru's co-operative
Korovkin also places the discussion of the Peruvian co-operative
experience in a broader historical and theoretical perspective,
focusing on the changing nature of social alliances and economic
strategies during the populist and post-populist periods.
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