Subsistence is just that, subsistence

Why do we Spend So much time arguing and defending the preservation of subsistence farming in developing nations?

If you are paying any attention to popular media the message is unavoidable. We must help poor farmers around the world to preserve their traditional ways of life. Their ways of life are crucial to the maintenance of their culture and therefore must be maintained.

But why? Is this really the life we think these people should be living? Is this really the life we think any people want or aspire to? Subsistence is just that, subsistence.

Rather than preserving the language of economic stasis we should be using language that empowers people to change their lot. More to the point, doing so without the presumption that we in the more developed world should be in a position to grant them the moral permission to better their lives.