A massive international land grab is now underway
as investors and national governments buy up millions of acres of farmlands in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
It amounts to an unprecedented and novel set of enclosures of worldwide land,
much of it customary land that rural communities use and manage collectively.
Hundreds of millions of rural poor people rely upon the land for their families’ food, water and material
– but they don’t have formal property rights in the land.
Those rights typically belong to the government, which is authorizing the sale of “unowned” lands or “wastelands” to investors,
who will then use the land for market-based farming or biofuels production.
The implications for global hunger and poverty are enormous.
Instead of commoners having local authority to grow and harvest their own food,
they are being thrown off the land so that large multinational corporations and investors can feed their own countries
or make a speculative killing on the world land market.
A commons is converted into a market,
with all the attendant pathologies.