“Politics of Scale”: The Shift from Small Migrant Farmers to Big Organizational Agriculture in Shanghai’s Suburbs



Peri-urban agriculture is acquiring increasing interest in terms of food security. This chapter focuses on agriculture in the urban fringes of Shanghai which attracts a large number of migrant small-farmer communities for cultivation of vegetables in particular. But there has been a growing preference of urban policy makers in favor of large agricultural companies and cooperatives, much to the distress of small marginal farmers. Such a policy shift, the author finds, is not as much because of “economics of scale” that these large enterprises offer but because of the vested interests of the urban authorities toward recording “politics of scale” that is supposed to be reflected in terms of organizational effectiveness and better transaction costs. The chapter argues that the environmental sensitivity and dispersion of agricultural operations are needed in urban fringes. It is neither desirable nor fair to drive out small migrant farmers from the urban fringes.


  1. Han J. (2012, January 18). Promoting Agricultural Modernization on the Basis of the Family Economy. People’s Daily. Google Scholar
  2. He, X. (2008). Local Government Behavior in Market Process. Beijing: People Press.Google Scholar
  3. Huang, Z., & Xu, X. (2003). On Developing Farmers Cooperative Economic Organizations. Problem of Agricultural Economy (8), 41–45.Google Scholar
  4. Li, C. (2009). Great Climate (p. 26). Xi’an: Shaanxi People’s Publishing House.Google Scholar
  5. Ma, J. (2003). Politics of Transaction Cost: Situation and Prospects. Economic Research (Chinese) (1), 81–87.Google Scholar
  6. North, D. (1990). A Transaction Cost Theory of Politics. Journal of Theoretical Politics, 2, 355–367.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Skocpol, T. (1979). States and Social Revolutions: A Comparative Analysis of France, Russia and China. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Tong, Z., & Wen, T. (2009). The Coming to Countryside of Capital and Government Departments in the Process of Organizational Road of Chinese Small Family Agriculture. Open Times (4), 5–26.Google Scholar
  9. Wen, T. (2009). “Three Rural Issues” and Institutional Change. Beijing: China Economic Publishing House.Google Scholar
  10. Xiong, W. (2010). How is the Possibility of Grassroots Autonomy? Sociological Research (Chinese) (3), 48–81.Google Scholar
  11. Xu, X. (2005). Institutional Analysis of Chinese Cooperative Organization. Beijing: Economic Science Press.Google Scholar
  12. Zhang, X. (1999). On the Development of Chinese Rural Professional Cooperative Organizations. Management and Administration on Rural Cooperative Economy (Chinese) (12), 18–20.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ye Min
    • 1
  1. 1.School of HumanitiesEast China University of Science and TechnologyShanghaiChina

Personalised recommendations