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Distributed for National University of Singapore Press

The Paradox of Agrarian Change

Food Security and the Politics of Social Protection in Indonesia

A detailed study of agrarian change, the persistence of food insecurity, and the most significant policy to address poverty in rural Indonesia.
Economic growth in the middle-income countries of Southeast Asia over the past few decades has been widely praised for reducing poverty in both absolute and relative terms. Indonesia is a prime example. But while poverty has declined in Indonesia, patterns of food poverty persist across Indonesia. What explains this troubling paradox? How does it relate to Indonesia’s enthusiastic embrace of the “entitlements revolution,” the use of direct cash transfers as a tool for reducing poverty and building social inclusion?
This book analyzes the nature and social consequences of economic development and agrarian change processes in rural Indonesia in relation to the scope and effectiveness of Indonesia’s social protection programs. The findings are based on a series of extensive ground-up case studies in Indonesian communities in a variety of eco-agrarian settings that seek to understand the drivers of food insecurity and vulnerability at a household level. The results show that while high-value farming, diversification, and migration may offer a means of economic progress for poor households, opportunities for accumulation are limited. This, the authors show, is due to the way class, gender, and power work in remote local contexts, and the fact that much surplus income is used for enhanced consumption and changing lifestyles. There are few signs of the classical structural transformation of the countryside which has historically been considered the most decisive pathway out of rural poverty. The authors conclude that social assistance is unlikely to counter the persistence of rural poverty, food insecurity, and precarity in the absence of other redistributive strategies that shift the structural drivers of inequality.

464 pages | 14 halftones, 37 figures, 32 tables, 10 maps | 6 x 9

Asian Studies: Southeast Asia and Australia

Economics and Business: Economics--Development, Growth, Planning

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Table of Contents

Part One: Agrarian Change and Social Protection
Introduction: Rural Change, Food Security and Social Protection in Indonesia
Understanding Agrarian Change: Scenarios of Agricultural Development, Income Diversification, and Food Poverty in Indonesia
Social Protection and the Challenge of Poverty in Indonesia
Part Two: The analysis and structure of rural poverty
Understanding the Nature of Rural Change in Central Java
Progressing Sideways in the Rice Lands: Livelihood Change and Nutritional Insecurity in Aceh
Agrarian change, vulnerability and the community economy in Sumba
Agrarian Change and Oil Palm: Poverty dynamics and food security in Sumatra
Poverty, Vulnerability and Social Protection in Mountain Java: The ‘Haves and the Have Nots’
Between the sea and a hard place: Fisheries degradation and livelihood precarity in a west Bali coastal community
Sustaining Livelihoods from the Seas: Sama Bajo vulnerabilities and resilience.
Part Three: Social Protection
Are conditional cash transfers policies implementable? Social cash transfer and emergent patterns of entitlement in rural Aceh
The Arrival and implementation of conditional cash transfers in Java
Village politics, Ritual Deliberation, and the Problem of Beneficiary Mistargeting in Central Java.
Conditional Cash Transfer and the Implications of Global Politics in the Development of Indonesia’s Social Protection Policy
Part Four: Conclusions
Agrarian Change Scenarios and Social Assistance
Conclusions and Implications
Epilogue: The COVID-19 Pandemic, Changing Agrarian Scenarios and Social Assistance

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