Reswitching of Techniques in the Modern Agriculture: a Theoretical Background
Chang Ting Fa, Margherita
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The industrialization of the agricultural sector has resolved, at least in Europe, United States and Japan, the thousand year-old problem of the lack of food. Unfortunately, during the last years the environmental limits of such an agriculture clearly exploded. Through our contribution we define the concepts of traditional and modernized styles of farming. We also hypothesize three future scenarios for modernized agriculture. We shall study in particular the “return of techniques” scenario that foresees the conversion to sustainability through the return of traditional techniques. In order to analyze this scenario, we shall introduce the Sraffian framework of the “reswitching of techniques” from the neo-ricardian theory (Sraffa 1960). Sraffa, within the “reswitching” framework, pointed out that a low-capital-intensive technique may be competitive both at a relatively low and high rate of profit. Finally, we shall show that, at least theoretically, it is possible that traditional agricultural techniques could be convenient in a context of both low and high profit level.
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