Sunday, June 03, 2012

prostituting their land

It was a colonial phenomenon — take land for the needs of the colonists and to hell with those who were living there. Might, military or economic, was right. People too poor and too weak in a world built and run on power were displaced. 

 Africa has long been the object of western domination and usury under the British, French, and Portuguese of old. Now the New rulers of the World — large corporations from America, China, Japan, Middle Eastern States, India, and Europe — are engaged in extensive land acquisitions in developing countries. The vast majority of available land is in Sub-Saharan Africa. Indigenous people, subsistence farmers and pastoralists are forced off the land, the natural environment is leveled, purging the land of wildlife and destroying small rural communities that have lived, worked and cared for the land for centuries.

This contemporary “land grab” has come about as a result of food shortages, the financial meltdown in 2008, and a world population forecast of 9.2 billion people by 2050. Food insecure nations – particularly Middle Eastern and Asian countries, seek to stabilise their food supply. Corporations want to meet the growing worldwide demand for agro-fuels. Finance house and hedge funds seek profits in the rise of investment in land and soft commodities, such as coffee, cocoa, sugar, corn, wheat, soya and fruit.

Investors are often simply speculators seeking to make a fast or indeed slow buck, by ‘land banking,’ sitting on the asset waiting and watching for the price to inflate, then selling. everything has its price. Governments desperate in a world propelled by growth to maximize the value of every so called asset, even if it means prostituting the land, sacrificing the native people and destroying the natural environment.

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