Guide Southern Capitalism: The Political Economy of North Carolina, 1880–1980

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About this Item: Zed Books Ltd. Seller Inventory ZZ3.

Philip J Wood (Author of Southern Capitalism)

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In good all round condition. No dust jacket. Condition: Used: Very Good. Very Good paperback. Pages are clean and unmarked.

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Covers show light edge wear. Crease on spine. Previous owner's name on end paper. Ships same or next business day!. Published by Duke University Press Books Condition: Used: Good.

Published by Duke University Press Books. Condition: Like New. Like new; no internal markings; has only lost its Brand New shine. Agricultural journals and other publications have tried to explain the industry's growth in terms of market forces and competition; economies of scale; and profit margins. And, anthropologists have supplied insightful studies focused on the human component. These explanations offer little insight into the social dynamics of the industry. Taken as a whole, in both literatures there exist a wealth of information. However, there is currently no research available that gives an adequate, comprehensive and thorough analysis of the vertically integrated hog industry.

This work is an attempt to go beyond these limitations and endeavors to synthesize the available research in a holistic fashion. The goal is to provide a framework for assessing the context specific factors associated with this growth with attention paid to not only the social but the political and industrial as well. Drawing upon work founded on regulation theory, the aim is to contribute to the political economy literature through the use of a comprehensive framework capable of explaining agricultural change within the context of larger economic forces, while simultaneously reinforcing the importance of embeddedness.

Much of political economy research focuses on regions and seeks to extrapolate from analyses whether relationships hold up in different social contexts. There is a tendency to focus on regions seeking to assess and predict regional convergence. While laudable, the efficacy of such theories is called into question. There is support for more nuanced theories that recognize the uniqueness of areas and the embedded nature of socio-political and economic processes Lobao et al.

The argument herein focuses on two key points.

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First, the hog industry in its present form is increasingly becoming vertically integrated and Fordist modeled. This specific modality has tendencies that drive continued development. Secondly, the farm structure in a locality impacts the trajectory of future agribusiness development. In the face of a changing economic climate, this reality has far reaching implications for rural agriculturally dependent communities. This study utilizes the proposed framework while synthesizing other theories in an effort to explicate the recent developments in the hog farming industry. Findings demonstrate the efficacy of this approach as support is found for the major propositions.

Proper historical accounting combined with data analysis together lend credence to the proposition that the hog farming industry was highly dependent upon the existence of formal and informal networks; a ready infrastructure; and predicated upon the existence of a farm structure with the necessary components.

Results show that these factors spurred initial growth and created the necessary climate for future expansion. Furthermore, it is clearly evident that the social and political history of the region created a fecund environment for industrial hog production to flourish. Situating agriculture within the context of the larger economy is a task that has been undertaken by such historical figures as Marx, Lenin, and Kautsky.


Each of these, while making notable contributions to the political economy literature, are limited in their applicability across time and context. Marx forms the starting point for many theorists. Despite the ubiquity and influence of Marx, his particular theory is largely viewed as being applicable to the economic and political landscape of England Kenney et al.

The work of Kautsky, places emphasis on the relationship between capital and the peasantry. His theory explains how the influence of capital would eventually penetrate every sphere of agriculture, incorporating the peasant [family farmer] into the capitalist mode of production Alavi and Shanin, He surmised that this would lead to the eventual demise of the family farmer. His analysis provides invaluable insight on the process by which this phenomenon occurs.

Southern Capitalism The Political Economy of North Carolina 1880 1980

Lenin similarly was concerned with the relationship between the peasantry and capitalism. But like Kautsky, concern for issues like revolution and the historically specific focus limit their applicability to contemporary capitalist economies. These three theorist succeeded in linking agriculture to the larger economy, whereas contemporary theorists for the most part have neglected this approach. Many have followed the lead of the aforementioned theorist, but the tendency has been to narrowly focus on certain aspects of agriculture and political economy.

A notable exception is the rural restructuring literature which is concerned with the qualitative change from one form of social organization to another Hoggart, The primary focus is usually on the transition from modernism to post-modernism or Fordism to post-Fordism. It places emphasis on an integrated and holistic approach to the study of economic transformation Marsden, This approach has generally been empirically tested only in urban arenas, but is viewed as having great potential in its applicability to agricultural political economy Friedland, Kenney et al.

Founded upon the regulation school, this view seeks to identify the time-specific institutional framework and accompanying norms of economic periods. Largely this school seeks to explain the dynamics of economic cycles specifically capitalist cycles both in periods of stability and transition Aglietta, ; Lipietz, By focusing on the larger economic forces and processes, this allows for the subsuming of other more debated theories regarding agriculture and rural economy.

Furthermore, this allows for a greater understanding of agriculture in a post-Fordist environment and the articulation of spatial realities. According to this perspective, farmers were integrated into circuits of finance capital following the establishment of New Deal farm credit system and related policies. This coincided with advances in technology that increased the dependence of farmers on purchases of fertilizers, pesticides, feed, seed, and farm machinery. Sufficient infrastructure development spurred integration of rural areas in to the Fordist consumption norm Kenney et al.

Farmers simultaneously became entrenched in mass production and consumption, becoming key players in the Fordist transition. The creation of a mass consumer market for agricultural products was brought on by the institutional arrangements between labor, industry, and the state that guaranteed a sufficient wage for the increasing numbers of blue and white collar workers in American cities.

However, the fundamental structure of the agriculture industry remains much the same. Regulationist recognize that there is futility in designating a specific direction for capitalist development or identifying the next phase of capitalism. Regulation theory draws upon a variety of theories with the goal being speculation of possible outcomes Elam, A contrasting approach is found in the neo-Schumpeterian approach.

This body of work is distinctive in that it promotes the idea that cycles of capitalist development correspond with technological developments and advancement Freeman and Perez, ; Schumpeter, Much emphasis is placed on the past cycle of capitalism and the dependence upon industrial innovation. It posits that information technology and the corresponding advances in computers and electronics will be important to the new stage.

Similar to other approaches, the demise of Fordist organization is decried while promoting the emergence of flexibly specialized agglomerations of industry and economies of scale Freeman and Perez, ; Schumpeter, The deterministic bent of the neo-Schumpeterians and its focus on technology, leaves it open to criticism.

According to this perspective, there will be an all encompassing eventual diffusion from the nation-state to the individual firm. Recognition is given to the interplay between social norms and technology, but emphasis is placed on the fact that technological innovation will fuel the new economic age. The theory leaves no room for the emergence and persistence of variegated forms of industrial organization [and accompanying institutional norms].

The pork industry like the broiler industry which preceded it, has established a foothold in the southern United States. In its present state, the industry possesses the characteristics of a Fordist-modeled enterprise. Though the post-Fordist literature is limited scope and applicability, the dynamics of the post-Fordist period definitely dictate the behavior of firms and actors.

Regulation theory provides a foundation from which to understand this phenomenon. This approach forms the backbone of the proposed framework for this analysis. Rather than acceptance of the notion that Fordism and its practices are completely dead, this study proposes that during this phase of transition Fordist modes of production and organization will persist in certain industries.

The technological focus of the neo-Schumpeterians offers vital insight as well. Recognizing the importance of technology is crucial especially in light of the extent to which technology has been the catalyst that enabled the transition [in the hog industry] to this mode of production. As alluded to above, determining the nature and direction of the new economic order and the resultant institutional arrangements is a lofty endeavor.

History has shown and contemporary analysis reveals, differing modes of production arrangements and accompanying institutional norms can co-exist. These arrangements can and do vary by nation state and the degree to which technology plays a factor will differ by industry. Together each of these approaches will be drawn upon to develop a comprehensive framework that recognizes the importance of technology and emphasizes the cyclical nature of capitalist development. Up until recently, the pork industry relied heavily upon traditional, less intensive networks of production centered in the Midwest.

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There has been a substantial shift in the production capacity of this region as the South has emerged as a large producer of hogs for market. New production arrangements have materialized with the emergence of the vertically integrated hog production facilities. The characteristics of the hog and other meat industries demonstrate that the heralding of the demise of mass production Fordist norm may be premature Chul-Kyoo and Curry, The characteristics of post-Fordist era enterprises are typically cited as being: flexible working times, individualized consumption and mass production for individual needs, horizontal integration, flexible production and maximization of market share as prime goal of economic activity, and integrated logistics Piore and Sabel, ; Storper and Walker, ; Hirst and Zeitlin, ; Lyson and Geisler, Have Institutional Access?

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Related Content. Utopia Ltd. Ideologies of Social Dreaming in England Author: Matthew Beaumont. It marks a contribution not only to the literary and cultural history of the late-Victorian period, and to the expanding field of utopian studies, but to the development of a Marxist critique of utopianism. The book is particularly concerned with three kinds of political utopia or anti-utopia, those of 'state socialism', feminism, and anti-communism the characteristic expression of this last example being the cacotopia.

After an extensive contextual account of the politics of utopia in late-nineteenth century England, it devotes a chapter to each of these topics before developing an original reinterpretation of William Morris's seminal Marxist utopia, News from Nowhere.