Traditionally viewed as the result of scarcity, van Schendel asserts that poverty is the outcome of unequal relationships between groups of people. Rather than believing poverty is a temporary state that will gradually disappear if the economy grows and resources become more plentiful, Three Deltas explores poverty as an indispensable structural feature of the societies in which it occurs. Accordingly, a solution to mass poverty must start from a proper understanding of specific local relations and how they are connected with rural class conflict, proletarianization, agrarian capitalism, state formation, and patterns of peripheralization.
As a comparative study, built on a firm foundation of thorough research and investigation, Three Deltas challenges scholars and students interested in development studies, policy studies, sociology, anthropology, and political economy.
"I found Three Deltas to be well written and informative. It contains an excellent discussion of the rise of capitalism and the relationships between endogenous and exogenous factors in the development of mass poverty. The book is strongly recommended for anyone interested in poverty and historical transformation of rural societies in the third world. "
The Geographical Review
"A thoughtful analysis. . .Three Deltas is a finely crafted study of the roots of poverty in South Asia. It provides an expanded view not only of the ramifications of colonial extraction but of the continuity of oppression in independent South Asia. While the picture it paints is bleak, it is nonetheless one that deserves more studies such as this. "
The Journal of Asian Studies
"There is no doubt that the author achieves his objective in tracing the transformations in processes of surplus accumulation and extraction in the three regions of his study. van Schendel has produced an impressive scholarly work which will be of considerable interest to both area specialist and political economists. "
Journal of Contemporary Asia
"An exceedingly competent, well-written, and informative work. . .strongly recommended. "
Journal of Interdisciplinary History
"(A) remarkable book. . . . The merit of the book lies in the skillful treatment of agrarian scenes in three corners of southern Asia without the loss of local perspectives. . . .a commendable work. "
"Comparative studies dealing with time and/or space remain much too rare in the field of development. That is why (this book). . .is particularly welcome. Such a stimulating book deserves a place of choice among recent works on Asia. "
Journal of Developing Areas
Table of Contents
IntroductionPrecolonial Agrarian RelationsAgrarian Relations in the Early Colonial PeriodAgrarian Relations in the Late Colonial PeriodPost-Colonial Agrarian RelationsConclusion