chapter  7
16 Pages

POVERTY, PROLETARIANISATION AND THE PRODUCTION OF UNEVEN DEVELOPMENT: A KENYAN VILLAGE

WithPhil O'Keefe

Agriculture is an obvious intervention that allows the controlled production of food and non-food crops in settled arable communities, and allows also the growth of urban settlements on the basis of agricultural surpluses. The single most important lesson to be learnt about African peasant production systems is that they suffer a periodic, but critical, labour shortage. The imposition of tax on the pre-capitalist mode of production, originally by the colonial administration but continued after independence, required access to the monetary economy. In the urban areas, those beneath the poverty line include the unemployed and the working poor. Kenya Male migration for urban employment was essentially an aspect of the 'Dick Whittington' syndrome, a search for streets paved with gold. Depressed urban wages resulted in a subsistence existence for male migrants in the city and exacerbated rural underdevelopment.