Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Social Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Capitalist Expansion and the Decline of Common Property Ecosystems: Lessons from China, Vietnam and India
Author(s): Sugden, Fraser
Punch, Samantha
Contact Email:
Issue Date: Jul-2014
Citation: Sugden F & Punch S (2014) Capitalist Expansion and the Decline of Common Property Ecosystems: Lessons from China, Vietnam and India, Development and Change, 45 (4), pp. 656-684.
Abstract: This article identifies some of the multiple processes of capitalist development through which access to common property resources and their utility for communities are undermined. Three sites in upland Asia demonstrate how patterns of exclusion are mediated by the unique and selective trajectories through which capital expands, resulting in a decline of common property ecosystems. The process is mediated by economic stress, ecological degradation and political processes such as state-sanctioned enclosure. The first case study from Shaoguan, South China, indicates how rapid capitalist industrialization has depleted the aquatic resource base, undermining the livelihoods of fishing households yet to be absorbed into the urban working class. At the second site, in Phu Yen, Vietnam, capitalist development is limited. However, indirect articulations between capitalism on the lowlands and the peasant economy of the uplands is driving the commercialization of agriculture and fishing and undermining the utility of communal river and lake ecosystems. In the third site, Buxa in West Bengal, India, there is only selective capitalist development, but patterns of resource extraction established during the colonial period and contemporary neoliberal ‘conservation’ agendas have directly excluded communities from forest resources. Restrictions on access oblige them to contribute subsidized labour to local enterprises. The article thus shows how communities which are differentially integrated into the global economy are excluded from natural resources through complex means.
DOI Link:
Rights: Author's Accepted manuscript: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Sugden, F. and Punch, S. (2014), Capitalist Expansion and the Decline of Common Property Ecosystems in China, Vietnam and India. Development and Change, 45: 656–684, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.
Publisher version: The publisher does not allow this work to be made publicly available in this Repository. Please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author. You can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study.

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
HighArcs Livelihoods FINAL submitted June 2014.pdf830.89 kBAuthor's Accepted ManuscriptView/Open
2014 Capitalist expansion and common property ecosystems.pdf650.72 kBPublisher versionUnder Permanent Embargo    Request a copy

This item is protected by original copyright

Items in the Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.

If you believe that any material held in STORRE infringes copyright, please contact providing details and we will remove the Work from public display in STORRE and investigate your claim.