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Submitted by CharithaR on
Having been focusing on the agriculture sector in my work recently, I wonder whether the three questions are answered somewhat by the fact that countries such as Sri Lanka have a large "floating" labor pool that not only holds down one or more jobs in urban areas, but also takes leave to return to their villages to participate in seasonal agricultural work. -slow transition of labor? Many may not in fact be transiting at all! -low-productivity jobs? Some workers may prefer the flexibility afforded by a little less emphasis on productivity -spatial mobility isn't as great an issue in Sri Lanka, though inequality may be institutionalized by the labor pattern that has emerged Paddy is a classic example where, the way it is practiced in many places may seem below potential - low labor input, not enough focus on better material inputs - but in effect we get a labor pool holding down two or three "jobs" at the same time. Should this be changed for a better specialization of labor, making room for better productivity? Would that even work, given the nature of the rural activities we're talking about? Do we really want to change the labor pattern too suddenly or too drastically, taking away the safety nets ad social and economic networks that have emerged as a result of these labor patterns? My instinct veers to the negative. An alternative I am working on is to change some of the incentives and re-balance the equilibrium back home on the village farm - make it more profitable to focus on farming more effectively, and change current attitudes that farming should only be attempted for subsistence or as a large industry - with little effort or experimentation on anything in between. Appreciate thoughts.