The Multinational Monitor




Peasant Cooperatives and Political Change in Peru
by Cynthia McClintock
Princeton, 1981. 418 pages, $6.95

Agriculture, Bureaucracy, and Military Government in Peru
by Peter E. Cleaves and Martin J. Scurrah
Cornell, 1980. 329 pages, $22.50

The Peruvian experiment with worker management under the Velasco government (1968-1974) has provoked a flow of scholarly publications with important implications for activists and practitioners elsewhere. These two are particularly well-grounded presentations mixing primary research with coherent advances in theory.

McClintock discusses changes in political culture as agrarian reform in Peru went through different phases. She covers first the historical roots created by the "hacienda" system with its patron-client ties and high levels of social mistrust. Then she shows how class, inequality, and bureaucracy worked to modify government efforts to create new agricultural cooperatives. She found that reforms were much more successful in changing behavior toward fellow coop members (the men, at least) than toward outsiders.

Velasco did not follow a coherent long-term policy, but rather a series of piecemeal programs allocating resources unequally and relying on top-down cooptation and manipulation. A more participatory culture grew within the coops, but many large theoretical questions were left unresolved by Peruvian leaders.

Cleaves and Scurrah argue that Velasco did not understand Peruvian society well enough to create a single ideology which could generate broad support for reforms. Thus the military elite pursued "sequential experiments in centralism, corporatism, and liberalism." The authors' focus is on the interplay of bureaucratic and political imperatives in the implementation of plans and projects by the Velasco government.

One particularly good case study they present is that of the Chira-Piura Irrigation Project, in which the cultural and economic imperatives of the World Bank are described as overwhelming both the host government and local farmers. Further explorations of internal bureaucratic behavior then lead the authors to suggest an archetypal agrarian reform cycle, the preconditions for its success, and an agenda for further research.

Other recent works on Peru include:

  • The Politics of Workers' Participation: The Peruvian Approach in Comparative Perspective, Evelyne H. Stephens. Academic Press, 1980, 290 pages, $22.
  • Poverty and Problem-Solving under Military Rule; The Urban Poor in Lima, Peru, Henry A. Dietz. Univ. of Texas Press, 1980, 286 pages, $19.95.
  • Women of the Andes: Patriarchy and Social Change in Two Peruvian Towns, Susan C. Bourque and Kay B. Warren. Univ. of Michigan Press, 241 pages, 1981, $8.95. -and, for data:
  • The Political Economy of Peru 1956-1978: Economic Development and the Restructuring of Capital, E.V.K. Fitzgerald, Cambridge, 1979, 360 pages, $36.
  • Peru: Major Development Policy Issues and Recommendations, by the World Bank, 1981, 220 pages, free.

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