Volume 44, Number 175,
October-December 2013
Power and Space:
Revising the Theory of Regional Topics in Argentina
Ariel García and Alejandro Rofman
A STUDY PROPOSAL ( ...continuation )
  1. Recognize how the interaction among social and technical relations of production arises as the reciprocal causality of their respective processes is a function of the need of dominant sectors to impose development strategies compatible with their objective of maximizing the profit rate. This phenomenon of linkages among organizational forms of the productive process and their corresponding technical forms is very dynamic and is developed through a model of cumulative circular causation. It is therefore necessary to acknowledge how the objective of dominant social sectors, which is to increase their profit rate, gives rise to permanent changes in the internal organization of the production process, redirecting flows of goods and capital to the external market and renewing the technological traditions and packages. In this way, we can assess how these causal and cumulative circular links define the corresponding ways in which social and technical relations for the main activities generate the economic surplus have changed.

  2. Consider that the permanent changes alluded to here have an effect on the mechanisms by which social and technical relations of production develop, with a non-linear trajectory. If we start with the assumption that there is a link between both levels of performance of the social subjects on the scale of the methods of accumulation deployed and emerging technological changes, it would be feasible to acknowledge, in each case, the evolution of historical facts that define a determined common trajectory. This reconstruction could lead to diachronically reveal how these two processes interact in time. This analytical perspective would be of interest for studies on accumulation processes in different regional frameworks – even including the local level of analysis – and the way in which social subjects in each of these frameworks operate depending on the varied conditions in which the trajectories to study develop.
    This is an attempt to build an analytical perspective that integrates accumulation processes and the behavior of social subjects. It is important to remember that: “in post-industrial societies [...] lives have become more predictable, less determined by collective/institutional action, less stable, more flexible and more individualized” (Craviotti, 2010: 21).
    In this characterization, we can identify the processes that concern us as phenomena that reposition subjects in productive dynamics, with changing capacities to generate and acquire the surplus, as well as relevant elements that orient us towards an explanation of these changes. To this effect, Craviotti (ibidem) attempts to redefine the meaning of the trajectories of social subjects in the agricultural sector in the Pampas, Argentina, in the midst of the significant social and productive changes of the last quarter century. The author’s definition of the changes to lives, that is, the trajectories of the subjects, can be understood through a set of profiles linked to the very courses of action that influence these changes.6
    In addition to these sequences of transformations to the development of capitalism on the local and international scales, where changes to the labor world are fundamental, there are other trends related to the historical evolution of contemporary societies: extended life expectancy, the accelerated increase of educational requirements to adapt to technological innovations and a low rate of vegetative growth for the population with consequent aging, observable in a variety of rural territories. All of these elements are extremely interesting when trying to understand the set of social and economic situations that give meaning to regional topics.

  3. Demonstrate that the new dimensions in which social and technical relations of production are expressed have permanently reconfigured the accumulation regime in effect. In this way, to the phenomena described in terms of the increasing precariousness of the links between capital and labor –in favor of the former – we add or consolidate novel figures in these relations compatible with the emerging scenario of the contemporary age.

  4. In keeping with the demands of consumer markets, which are increasingly sophisticated and have greater purchasing power, there are a variety of "contract agriculture" models, either through formal norms or informal agreements. This mode of agriculture makes possible a form of capitalist intervention that tends to reproduce accumulation, centered on the self-exploitation of primary producers and companies obtaining indirect control over land (Whatmore et. al., 1987: 27-30). In this way, individual legal freedoms are subject to formal individual subordination. This sort of link implies strict compliance with technology packages – inspired by the green7 and biotechnology revolutions – 8 and compatible with the type of product to negotiate in niche markets or in the framework of international commerce. This package comprises specific modes of an extremely unequal social relationship, which restricts participation by definition of those that operate as subjects subsumed to the deciding power of the dominant social subject. In this framework, negotiations are merely an appearance, because the technical-operational and financial scenarios are dominated by the social subjects that organize the activities. The much advertised spaces for negotiation appear under the label of "agreement," which tends to imply an acceptance of the imposition of the interests of dominant social subjects.
    In summary, the theoretical-interpretive framework laid out here and its desirable contribution to analysis as a function of the recently proposed dimensions constitutes a significant challenge when trying to obtain analytical tools for regional topics from which to grasp an understanding of the issues of power in the production of space.

  5. Incorporate the new scheme of locating productive and human activities in keeping with the evolution of the social and technical relations described above as a social subject that determines the configuration of space as it adapts and transforms and influences other factors. In this case, there are the following options: scarce labor opportunities in the regions leads to forced immigration, opportunities are developed with the processes highlighted here, the pre-existing processes are impaired, or the mass inflow of people expelled from the system with no work in prior labor-intensive processes have been progressively replaced by sophisticated machinery.

6 In the case of the humid Pampas region in Argentina, between the mid-1980s and the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century, there is clear evidence in the behavior of subjects as a consequence of the dispute for power derived from assigning land to productive processes that compete for its alternative uses and that generate growing profit and revenue rates. In this way, Craviotti (2010: 21) cites, as one of the most relevant factors that has modified the trajectory of social subjects, the changes to the labor world, both rural and urban. In this sense, it is of note that the processes, such as increasing flexibility and labor deregulation and the weakening of contractual relations between capital and labor, have a negative effect on the legal standards installed in prior ages to affirm progressive reforms from the social perspective.

7 “Recognized as the “Green Revolution” and developed starting at the end of the Second World War, this system of production represents a deepening of the agroindustrial model in the process to transfer the mode of industrial production to the field. This is also fundamentally present in the extraordinary homogenization of agricultural activities maintained in the production of “high yield” varieties of single crops, the intensive use of chemical products and the incorporation of "high technology" in the field, where the producer is never the owner. Nor is the producer in a position to be able to reproduce or recreate this technology through his own means. Industries are the “owners" of the technology and the seeds are patented by the companies that develop them" (Simonetti, et. al., 2010: 5).

8 In order to address the crisis of production and food supply, which enormous sectors of the global population currently suffer, we propose the need today to promote a second revolution, this time supported by advances in biotechnology and genetic engineering” (Simonetti, et. al., 2010: 3-4).

Published in Mexico, 2012-2017 © D.R. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM).
PROBLEMAS DEL DESARROLLO. REVISTA LATINOAMERICANA DE ECONOMÍA, Volume 49, Number 192, January-March is a quarterly publication by the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán, CP 04510, México, D.F. by Instituto de Investigaciones Económicas, Circuito Mario de la Cueva, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán,
CP 04510, México, D.F. Tel (52 55) 56 23 01 05 and (52 55) 56 24 23 39, fax (52 55) 56 23 00 97, www.probdes.iiec.unam.mx, revprode@unam.mx. Journal Editor: Alicia Girón González. Reservation of rights to exclusive use of the title: 04-2012-070613560300-203, ISSN: pending. Person responsible for the latest update of this issue: Minerva García, Circuito Maestro Mario de la Cueva s/n, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán, CP 04510, México D.F., latest update: Feb 23th, 2018.
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