A Path of Our Own tells the story of Pomatambo, a village in one of the poorest parts of Peru’s highlands. Adam Webb brings to life the experiences of three generations of these humble peasants as they have been confronted by the modern world and tried to find a place in it. Through a land reform, a bloody Maoist insurgency, and the economic turbulence of more recent years, Pomatambo has looked for a way to break out of dire poverty while staying true to its own values and identity.
But this is much more than the story of one village. Pomatambo’s tale of hard times mirrors how traditional communities all over the world have been ill served by the dominant ideologies of the twentieth century. Webb’s poignant and insightful narrative demonstrates that the governments and movements of both right and left have not only failed to deliver for the rural poor, but also have assaulted much that they hold dear. He maps out a vision of how traditional communities like Pomatambo can reclaim the future rather than surrender to others’ plans for them. And he imagines an economy of values that at last could bring a just and decent prosperity to the countryside of the global South—and elsewhere.
|What They're Saying...||
“The heart of Webb’s thesis is that free-market enthusiasts, liberal and social democratic reformers, and the radical left share a disdain for the peasantry. They all assume that economic development must erode traditional communities, that the way to help the peasantry is to draw them into the cities, to consumer culture and to state-owned factories. Webb seeks to offer an alternative model of sustainable development without the alienating side effects of economic rationalism. This work is beautifully written and is the fruit of extensive field work in the highlands of Peru.”
“Webb ties a fascinating personal account of the Peruvian village of Pomatambo to a remarkably detailed and compelling manifesto for a ‘truly pro-peasant development strategy.’ Peasant or family farms still hold half of the world’s population. Webb shows how economic growth strategies on both the political right and left commonly seek ‘to eradicate poverty by eradicating the peasantry.’ He carefully dissects as well the ‘Other Path’ recently promoted by Hernando De Soto, revealing its limitations. In their place, Webb draws inspiration from figures such as Hilaire Belloc, G. K. Chesterton, and ‘the Last Confucian’ Liang Shuming. The author crafts a Distributism for the twenty-first century that would transform the latent wealth of ‘commons’ land and other forms of shared capital into a richly diversified economy, a path that would preserve the ‘hearty fellowship’ found in the world’s rural villages and a path compatible with true liberty. At once fresh, practical, and idealistic, A Path of Our Own should fundamentally alter future debates over economic change in the less developed nations. It will also usefully inform efforts in the United States and other industrial lands to recover a more humane economy.”
“In highlighting the ongoing human drama of the Andean world through a nuanced integration of the literature on the indigenous sierra, as well as written records on the community and field interviews with current residents, Professor Webb provides a strikingly clear picture of contemporary life in the highlands of Peru. As valuable as this written portrait is in its own right, however, he goes on to analyze the multiple challenges of modernization in a globalizing world and specific ways in which change can both improve the quality of life for traditional societies while simultaneously enabling them to preserve their deeply rooted values and heritage. This seminal study, imaginatively combining reality and theory and offering specific courses of action, is certain to generate a lively discussion among scholars and practitioners alike for years to come.”
|Eligible for Readers Club Discount||Yes|