Dispelling the Myths
Chapter 9: Dispelling Other Myths about the Amazon
INTRODUCTION 9.1. The word ‘myth’ is understood here as a past context that no longer holds in the present. Some of these ‘myths’ had a good deal of truth in them when they were formulated. As I noted in the Preface, things change quite rapidly in the Amazon, rendering a policy context obsolete by the time it is understood. The role of subsidies, for example, has certainly been downgraded in the recent literature, but part of that downgrading arises from the removal of many of the subsidies, partly in response to the criticisms from policy makers and analysts. That being understood, the turnover hypothesis is a myth to which many authors still subscribe to explain deforestation in the Amazon. Chapters 7 and 8 showed that low survival rates is the only tenet of the turnover hypothesis that was robust across projects. Turnover, however, is not associated with high deforestation and land re-concentration by newcomers in most projects (contrary to what the hypothesis predicted). The literature on Amazonian development assumes that turnover is the outcome of unsuccessful agriculture and is regarded as the ‘fate’ of colonization, as areas cleared for crops by colonists are thought to be quickly abandoned or sold and converted to pastures by newcomers. This chapter provides evidence that turnover is an economic strategy that colonists may have developed to improve their circumstances. After all, selling land that has been granted for free from the government, or acquired on favorable terms from private colonization companies, suggests rent-seeking behavior...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.
Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.
Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.