Sheldon Richman sees government-corporate cooperation stealing land from its rightful owners in Africa, riffing off an article from the UK Observer and referencing Mises:
As Ludwig von Mises wrote in Socialism:
Nowhere and at no time has the large scale ownership of land come into being through the working of economic forces in the market. It is the result of military and political effort. Founded by violence, it has been upheld by violence and by that alone…. The great landed fortunes did not arise through the economic superiority of large scale ownership, but through violent annexation outside the area of trade.
According to this story in the Observer (UK), this still goes on today, in Africa:
Ethiopia is one of the hungriest countries in the world with more than 13-million people needing food aid, but paradoxically the government is offering at least 7.5 million acres of its most fertile land to rich countries and some of the world's most wealthy individuals to export food for their own populations….
But Ethiopia is only one of 20 or more African countries where land is being bought or leased for intensive agriculture on an immense scale in what may be the greatest change of ownership since the colonial era.
An Observer investigation estimates that up to 50m hectares of land – an area more than double the size of the UK – has been acquired in the last few years or is in the process of being negotiated by governments and wealthy investors working with state subsidies…..
In many areas the deals have led to evictions, civil unrest and complaints of "land grabbing"….
Leading the rush are international agribusinesses, investment banks, hedge funds, commodity traders, sovereign wealth funds as well as UK pension funds, foundations and individuals attracted by some of the world's cheapest land.
According to an Ethiopian living in England:
The foreign companies are arriving in large numbers, depriving people of land they have used for centuries. There is no consultation with the indigenous population. The deals are done secretly…..