The Agrifood Question and Rural Development Dynamics in Brazil and China: Towards a Protective ‘Countermovement’
Fabiano Escher, Sergio Schneider and Jingzhong Ye
(Corresponding author: Fabiano Escher, email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Globalizations, 19 Sep 2017 (published online)
Abstract: This paper explores some features of the development paths taken by Brazil and China (two member countries of the BRICS grouping) in the current context of the crisis of neoliberal globalization and transformation of the political and economic world order. The authors use Polanyi’s ‘double movement’ thesis to argue that newly emerging rural development (RD) dynamics in China and Brazil are part of a protective ‘countermovement’, driven by actors and institutions responding to the contradictions of the concentration and internationalization of agrifood systems. However, the direction and scope of these countermovements are still open; their transformative potential should be viewed in Gramsci’s terms as a struggle for hegemony the outcome of which depends on the concrete ‘balance of social forces’. First, the paper characterizes the impacts of China’s rise on Brazil’s development, which subsequently found its economy under threat of reprimarization and deindustrialization. The paper then sketches some stylized facts of production and consumption within the Brazil–China soy–meat complex, a key element of the current global food regime, with a focus on corporate control of the soy–meat value chain, and its negative consequences. Finally, the paper identifies the key roles that actors and institutions linked to peasants and family farmers are playing in the RD dynamics of each country. Although China and Brazil represent two very different realities, the comparison shows that critical rural and agrifood issues are indeed moving onto the centre stage of the contemporary ‘double movement’.
Keywords: Brazil–China soy–meat complex; rural policies; farming practices; production–consumption relations;