Patterns of accumulation and social differentiation through a slow-paced agrarian market transition: the case of post-Soviet Uzbekistan

Lombardozzi, Lorena (2020). Patterns of accumulation and social differentiation through a slow-paced agrarian market transition: the case of post-Soviet Uzbekistan. Journal of Agrarian Change (Early access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/joac.12366

Abstract

This article presents an analysis of contemporary Uzbek agrarian change. Firstly, using mixed-methods and triangulating secondary and primary data from Samarqand, it untangles emerging relations of production and exchange during the slow processes of market transition. It shows that different types of public investment, price regulation, subsidies, procurement mechanisms and the pace of marketization to which crops are subject, shaped a slow growth of rural social differentiation and private accumulation. Traditionally, cotton farms have been in a privileged position because they have access to more land and subsidised inputs of production. However, due to recent fast-track liberalisation policies and state-led investment, farms producing High Value Crops—fruit and vegetables—are at the forefront of a new pattern of private accumulation. Secondly, the article reflects on how the gradual approach to market transition has so far squeezed private accumulation, enabling the centralisation of surplus extraction from cotton and wheat. This state-led accumulation strategy is slowly fading, leaving space for market-oriented reforms which will entail new but uncertain distributional and developmental outcomes within and outside agriculture.

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