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Ali Norton

This chapter brought up many interesting aspects of agriculture that complicate the poverty levels in rural areas of developing countries. The discussion of the cultural practices particularly highlighted how deeply rooted the mechanisms of rural poverty may be in many areas. For example, the discussion the size of farms relative to their production and land efficiency in the context of Latin American latifundios demonstrated how a culture’s social structure can influence allocation of resources (like land) and production in agriculture and contribute to the system’s inefficiency. Additionally, because the latifundios are a sign of power and prestige, it may be difficult for government’s to influence, especially in places where local governments are corrupt.
The section on the role of women in rural areas was also interesting and tied directly into Deflow’s piece about the women’s empowerment and economic development. This section of the chapter reinforced the theory that women’s empowerment influences economic development in that women’s roles in agricultural production positively influence rural communities. It was interesting to see the parallel thoughts as Todaro and Smith called for the necessity in gender-specific policies to drive rural development, and Deflow called for a continued necessity in policy that empowers women in order to achieve economic development.

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