chapter  4
Poverty and the Market
Pages 66

A frequent and often powerful explanation of peasant poverty in underdeveloped economies is the one which runs in terms of exploitation by monopsonistic or oligopsonistic middlemen who control the marketing of peasant produce. For one reason or another, bargaining power in the commodity markets is sufficiently unequally distributed as to confer all or most advantages on the intermediaries leaving the peasant producers in a situation where they receive less for their product than they would in a market characterized by competition. The same type of situation may also prevail in the markets for those goods the peasants cannot produce themselves but which have to be procured from outside. The sellers in these markets (who are often identical with the buyers in the markets for peasant goods) are either outright monopolists or else oligopolists who work in close collaboration and collusion, fixing a higher price for the peasant consumer than he would otherwise have paid in a competitive market.1