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Production in the Shadow of the Naked Mountain: Historicizing the Failures of Common Property Enterprises in the Brazilian Landless Workers Movement (MST)

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dc.contributor.author Johnson, Leigh en_US
dc.date.accessioned 2009-07-31T14:41:47Z
dc.date.available 2009-07-31T14:41:47Z
dc.date.issued 2004 en_US
dc.date.submitted 2004-12-03 en_US
dc.date.submitted 2004-12-03 en_US
dc.identifier.uri https://hdl.handle.net/10535/2037
dc.description.abstract "This study proposes that particular nucleated settlement strategies adopted by the Brazilian Rural Landless Worker's Movement, the MST, in the eastern Amazon, can be understood as the evolution of common property in response to the exclusionary land tenure system and capitalist structure of the Brazilian countryside. Although these collective management and production arrangements generally result in greater economic efficiency, land retention, and environmental preservation, rarely do any of these enterprises achieve stability over more than one to two years. The paper contests the presupposition that market opportunities necessarily bring stability, while simultaneously arguing that the failure of collective projects cannot be explained simply in microeconomic terms of utility or transaction costs. Household-level surveys indicate that, faced with the choice between individual and communal production, the latter is consistently more economically advantageous. The crumbling of common property systems has little to do with microeconomic forces; rather, it is influenced by a culture that values individual self-determination and products with immediate exchange values. The development of these specific cultural values can be understood through an analysis of the majority of participants previous labor experience in Brazil's famous Serra Pelada ('Naked Mountain') gold mine and the particular enduring social relations that this mining phenomenon produced. These circumstances are found to influence directly the ability of collectives to come to a consensus about the direction and schedule of production, while they also encourage a tendency towards individualized ranching-based activities and away from agricultural production. Thus it is argued that larger international market forces driving development projects and mineral extraction in the Brazilian Amazon have fundamentally altered the social fabric of the region, and ultimately had a destabilizing effect on the success of common property institutions and community-based enterprises within the landless movement." en_US
dc.subject IASC en_US
dc.subject settlement en_US
dc.subject common pool resources en_US
dc.subject land tenure and use en_US
dc.subject culture en_US
dc.subject value en_US
dc.subject collectives en_US
dc.subject Amazon River region en_US
dc.subject markets en_US
dc.title Production in the Shadow of the Naked Mountain: Historicizing the Failures of Common Property Enterprises in the Brazilian Landless Workers Movement (MST) en_US
dc.type Conference Paper en_US
dc.coverage.region South America en_US
dc.coverage.country Brazil en_US
dc.subject.sector Land Tenure & Use en_US
dc.subject.sector Social Organization en_US
dc.identifier.citationconference The Commons in an Age of Global Transition: Challenges, Risks and Opportunities, the Tenth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property en_US
dc.identifier.citationconfdates August 9-13 en_US
dc.identifier.citationconfloc Oaxaca, Mexico en_US
dc.submitter.email yinjin@indiana.edu en_US

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