The Landgrabbers – Book Review
By Angela Youngman Feb 10, 2013, 15:52 GMT
"Raises complex and urgent issues.?-Booklist, starred reviewHow Wall Street, Chinese billionaires, oil sheiks, and agribusiness are buying up huge tracts of land in a hungry, crowded world.An unprecedented land grab is taking place around the world. Fearing future food shortages or eager to profit from them, the world\'s wealthiest and most acquisitive countries, corporations, and individuals have been buying and leasing vast tracts of land around the world. The scale ...more
A global landgrab is underway especially within Africa and South East Asia. Large chunks of land are being given into the hands of multi-national and foreign businesses. Indigenous farmers are simply cleared off the land and forced to work for employers rather than on their ancestral farms.
The land itself is used for growing crops that are shipped elsewhere in the world, rather than being used to deal with hunger and the needs of the home country. Fred Pearce has written an extremely illuminating book identifying the landgrabbers such as Gulf oil sheikhdoms, Chinese and Indian entrepreneurs, pension funds on Wall Street and the City of London.
He investigates their claims and activities. Although host governments say that the land being sold is empty and unused, it is mostly owned and used by peasant farmers and hunting tribes who have lived there for generations.
The problem is that these people are poor and cannot fight back to insist on their land ownership. The long term consequences are potentially disastrous since the landgrab is resulting in economic and environmental changes on a massive scale. You cannot help but think about the implications.
Governments around the world are storing up trouble for the future by allowing this landgrab to continue. A very good, and timely book which has been extremely well researched.
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