chapter  17
The Local Impact of Centralized Irrigation Control in Pakistan: A Sociocentric Perspective 1
WithDouglas J. Merrey
Pages 21

This chapter focuses on earlier work on social organizational problems in Pakistan's irrigation system. It analyzes the inappropriateness of village-level social organization and values for carrying out the tasks necessary to make efficient use of the irrigation system imposed by the British colonial government. The chapter draws on a systems-theory model of the evolution of the state originally developed by scholars interested in the demise of Mesopotamian civilization, to interpret the trends and identify key problems and issues. It focuses on land and water control, and the impact of changes in these two areas on the environment, as responses primarily to increasing centralization through linearization, and "pathological" tendencies toward meddling and hypercoherence. A better understanding of Pakistan's irrigation system, from a systematic sociocentric perspective, would test the validity of John Bennett's observation, and could lead to strategies for achieving the potential productivity of the Indus Food Machine.