This survey on the rise of plantation companies since the 1970s, shows the conditions for the emergence and development of agrarian capitalism with a strong environmental and economic impact both in Asia and over the World. Read More
Resulting from the overlap of colonialism and market capitalism, the large-scale plantation method, which stemmed from an international demand for palm oil, has greatly expanded throughout South-East Asia since the 1970s. Over the course of forty years, Indonesia and Malaysia have asserted themselves as global production giants, accounting for over 80 per cent of the earth's planted surfaces.
How did this hegemony develop? How did plantation companies manage to conquer millions of hectares of forestland and mobilise hundreds of thousands of workers? What role have national agricultural policies and the particularities of these two countries’ labour and land markets played (Indonesia remaining a largely rural economy, while Malaysia has experienced strong and precocious industrialisation)? And finally, can the expansion of plantation capitalism be regulated by establishing a 'sustainable palm oil’ label through collaboration between NGOs and plantation companies?
Marking the result of a long immersive study with agricultural workers and their families, this volume describes the conditions behind the emergence and development of agrarian capitalism and its large economic and environmental impact at both the local and global levels.
Stéphanie Barral holds a Ph.D. in sociology from the EHESS and is a research director with the INRA (UMR-LISIS). Her research focuses on the political and economic regulation of contemporary agriculture, in particular the connection between agriculture and commodification of nature.