Asia: The Peasant’s Way

Asia: The Peasant’s Way

When the relationship of socialism and peasantry is explored, it is necessary to understand the peasant’s conception of development. It is, however, not easy to trace it. The peasant is not a very articulate being. He has not gone in very much for blueprints and master plans. His philosophy, because of his “soil wisdom,” is often a curious mixture of a narrow practicality and a diffused mysticism. The social ideology of a peasant is not something that can be read on the run. Our effort to sketch the peasant’s alternative is therefore tentative.

The peasant has a different sense of “income,” and a different conception of “development.” Income is not necessarily reducible to financial calculations, as we have been doing so far. For the peasant, income depends on, in a way consists of, the “welfare” patterns which the societies, or the individuals composing them, have chosen in accordance with their environment and objectives, their inherited traditions and disposition. His roots, his milieu, are as significant to him as economic betterment—in fact they are all woven into a common fabric of his hopes. The small family holding is not a mere means of living, not even social security, but a way of life

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Lima