Land Use

Massive Land Theft Reported in Africa

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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…..

NEXT: Mises as Policy Advisor

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  1. “Is that Ethiopia in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?”

    1. Good Morning reason!

      1. Good morning, Suki!

      2. Good morning Suki!!

        1. Good morning John-Boy!

          1. Good moring Ted!

        2. Hi PIRS! How ya been?

          1. Pretty good. ANd you?

            1. Fine as frog’s hair!

  2. “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.”

    Do they name any of the buyers / leasees??

  3. It is nice to know Mises is getting more press. He needs to be listened to. Keynes got us into this mess and the Austrian School can get us out if we listen to Mises, Hayek, Rothbard and Walter Block.

    1. Careful. One of the house progressives is likely to be by to remind you that allowing inefficiencies to work themselves out is teh typical libtard hartlessness.

      1. LOL! And I will have to remind that person that good intentions never feed the hungry, only results can do that. I can intend to feed the hungry but if my efforts fail they will not be fed.

  4. 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….

    Not surprising – several hundred years ago African countries were selling off their people.

  5. Theft and corruption? In Africa? Surely you jest.

  6. As much as I hate to admit, corporatism is better than socialism. Of course free markets with secure private property would be best!

    1. Better for whom? In this case, I have my doubts as to which would be better for the people in the African countries. Pretty shit situation either way.

  7. Also, this is kinda incomplete. Will all the massive agricultural produce not find its way to the indigenous?

    1. No but they’ll get free Nets season tickets.

    2. A lot of these large farms are owned by state companies from the Middle East. Middle Eastern countries are worried about feeding a growing restive population and need a guaranteed food source, which is why the want to rely on ownership and not trading. So most of the food that is grown will not find it’s way into Ethiopian markets.

    3. Fuck the indigenous. Oh wait – that only goes for western nations!

  8. This sucks not just for Ethiopia, but because ignorant folks will start incorrectly blaming this on the free market and using it as an example of how the market is “failing” us.

    1. “This sucks not just for Ethiopia, but because ignorant folks will start incorrectly blaming this on the free market and using it as an example of how the market is “failing” us.”

      Well said.

      1. This sucks not just for Ethiopia, but because intelligent people will reason correctly that the the free market needs regulation to protect people who are subject to corrupt third world governments. This is a great example of how the market is failing people who do not have a healthy government.

        1. No, this is an example of how the corrupt government is using the market for its own goals. I don’t understand how people don’t get that as soon as government gives on business a favor over another, its no longer a free market. And how in the world is regulation supposed to solve this? You mean let the corrupt government that is letting this happen regulate it? Good luck with that working.

          1. Silly goose, the natives can’t regulate themselves. We’d have to come in and do it for them.

          2. “No, this is an example of how the corrupt government is using the market for its own goals.” Well, that explains Ethiopia but how do you justify the other side? They are unfettered by regulation when they prosper in counties that are willing to starve their own people. “And how in the world is regulation supposed to solve this?” Do you think the attempt to keep this information secret is due to anything other than fear?

            1. “They are unfettered by regulation when they prosper in counties that are willing to starve their own people.” Well then it seems that regulation doesn’t work, especially in countries that are corrupt enough to manipulate the market to starve tier own people. and I’m not quite sure what you mean with the last sentence.

              1. AA, certainly regulations do not work in corrupt countries but that does not mean the first world cannot put pressure on those who participate in this land grab. My last sentence refers to international and political pressure to seek justice for Ethiopians. This article was more informative than the Reason story: http://www.ethiopianreview.com/content/11648

                1. Thanks for the article, it was more informative. But I say, the Ethiopian should just let the Ethiopians farm the land and sell the food to the Saudi’s instead of selling them the land. That would be a free market solution that would benefit Ethiopians as a whole. But it obviously wouldn’t benefit the government getting rich off selling the land. But under my solution, the government could just tax the food(but not too much!) to pay off its stupid debt that way. This wouldn’t take regulations, just a willingness on the part of the government to do whats right.

                  1. Graft corruption does not benefit the the government but pads the bank accounts of the thieves. We can have little effect on the problem in those counties but the world can turn their attention to those counties were we do have political and financial influences. Btw, the officials keep their money in Europe and in off-shore accounts. I would start there.

                    1. I would kind of count government as one of the thieves, especially in this situation. I don’t know how much of an effect we can have on the problem. We haven’t ever been able to solve many problems at all in that part of the world, I doubt we will have much success in this situation either.

                2. ‘Seeking justice’ for non-citizens is NOT a legitimate function of government. You want to help them? Go to Ethiopia and start a geurilla war. Or just shut up.

                  1. The beauty of free markets is that they are naturally self-regulating. If it weren’t for well-meaning interference in the form of aid, we wouldn’t have so much sub-subsistence farming in the countryside.

                  2. You are an ass. The only option if you want to help is to go and start a war?

          3. “You mean let the corrupt government that is letting this happen regulate it? Good luck with that working”

            Jus one correction- “letting this happen” should probably read “making this happen”.

        2. Wow, that was fast. Good job AA!

        3. Free markets depend upon at least three very important institutions:

          1) Private property rights.
          2) Contract enforcement.
          3) Equal justice to administer both

          Of course, the free market is going to be inequitable if the LEGAL SYSTEM allows some people to steal other people’s property and renege on contracts.

          1. All three of which presuppose some form of government given the right to use force to enforce rules made about these things (and not just a few rules, look at how complex just one fractional aspect of private property rights, such as intellectual property, can get).

            Hazel, you big government types are so cra-zy!

            1. I mean, I am astonished robc or some other True Believer has not shown up to call you TEH SLAVER! what with suggesting all that government coercion…

              1. MNG, none of those things require a government. Those things existed in Medieval Iceland without any sort of government.

                1. You mean contract enforcement and private property existed by mutual agreement? And if one person decided no? Then what?

                  And btw-Medieval Iceland might not be an environment where its characteristics can reproduced anywhere…

                  1. Well, I imagine he would suffer a loss of honor, and be ganged up on by other members of the community for violating the norm.

                    That said, yeah, I do think a minimal government is necessary to enforce property rights and cotnracts.

                  2. “You mean contract enforcement and private property existed by mutual agreement? And if one person decided no? Then what?”

                    From the article I link to below:
                    “If a criminal would not pay his fine or submit to slavery, he was either outlawed or would possibly lose the support of his peers, depending on the severity of the crime, eventually discrediting himself.”

                    “And btw-Medieval Iceland might not be an environment where its characteristics can reproduced anywhere…”

                    Sure, they didn’t have automobiles and iPods and aircraft but the basic principles of economics are universal. The technology may change, the social mores may change, and the products a given society produces may change but economic laws do not.

                    This is an interesting article on the topic:
                    http://mises.org/daily/1121

                    1. “he was either outlawed”

                      Dude, you lose right there you know?

                    2. “Dude, you lose right there you know?”

                      Do you not have a dictionary handy?

                    3. Main Entry: outlaw
                      Function: transitive verb
                      Date: before 12th century
                      1 a : to deprive of the benefit and protection of law : declare to be an outlaw b : to make illegal

                      Yeah, first one to come up. This supposes a government dude.

                    4. Even without “government” there can still be a common law that is no more than agreement among a group of people for mutual protection and/or assistance.

                    5. Outlawry is a very severe punishment.

                      We should bring it back.

            2. So, MNG, not being an anarchist is enough to qualify as a big government type?

        4. Sorry rctl, wrong again. A few cases for you: Kelo vs New London and the Atlantic Yards case in Brooklyn. Both are prime examples of free market having nothing to do with a land grab (eminent domain abuse). In both cases, government entities colluded with powerful corporate entities to force rightful land owners from their property for supposedly “public benefit”. If it was a free market situation, government would not have stepped in to wack the property owners and steal their property for someone else with deeper pockets and a song and dance about how they were going to pay more taxes to the government than the existing property owners. In a free market, someone who wants something offers a fair price that the current owner will accept and an agreement is reached.

          As for your healthy government comment, is it your opinion that if we had a Marxist/socialist government in place (which seems to be the way President Empty Suit and the most open and ethical Congress ever are moving us), all would be better and everyone could keep what they have (hint, hint)?

          As for Ethpoia, they don’t have a free market and a government in place to uphold it. Come to think of it, neither do we.

          1. Bleek, think happy thoughts. I was thinking of Peter Pan but I found this one and it made me smile
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6MY3t2IO-8

        5. “the the free market needs regulation to protect people who are subject to corrupt third world governments.”

          Do I need to point out that if the problem is a corrupt government you do not have a free market in the first place?

          1. Pirs, I am aware of that fact but I’m approaching this problem/thievery from the buyer angle and not the seller.

            1. What exactly is it that you propose? Do you propose that regulations be in place to not with trade governments that abuse emminant domain? If so we would have to cut off all trade with the city of New London, Conn. Maybe we should cut off trade with New York City as well.

              1. No, I compared the theft of the land to eminent domain but it is a crime of a lesser degree. We can put pressure on countries that do business, without consequence, with corrupt countries. Americans are nothing but fair and we have made companies accountable for workshop conditions abroad. Personally, I will never buy a GM product or consume or use a service that has participated in eminent domain.

                1. “We can put pressure on countries that do business, without consequence, with corrupt countries. Americans are nothing but fair and we have made companies accountable for workshop conditions abroad.”

                  OK. Are you proposing a law? My question is what you propose.

                  “Personally, I will never buy a GM product or consume or use a service that has participated in eminent domain.”

                  Good. Has anyone forced you into this decision?

                  1. “OK. Are you proposing a law? My question is what you propose.”
                    First, we require a score card. The public needs to know the players and the funding. Second, economic sanctions/international law and International pressure.

        6. Where is this free market that you say has failed us? Where the government starts, the free market ends.

    2. AA: This sucks not just for Ethiopia, but because ignorant folks will start incorrectly blaming this on the free market and using it as an example of how the market is “failing” us.

      Truly said.

      And the Naomi Kleins and Michael Moores will blame it on ‘capitalism’.

      1. But Michael Moore is very smart. He wants democracy as our economic model.

        Whatever that means.

        1. But Michael Moore is very smart. He wants democracy as our economic model.

          I think “communism” is the only economic model based on democracy. The “people” own everything, etc.

  9. Well, I’m not too inclined to trust the word of a German writing in a magazine called Socialism in the first place just on principle.

    If what he is saying is true, it is as a result of government corruption. That is something we can all agree on.

    However, you don’t fight government corruption by giving more power to a government. That’s like turning on the garden hose to fight the flood waters.

    1. “However, you don’t fight government corruption by giving more power to a government. That’s like turning on the garden hose to fight the flood waters.”

      Excellent point HeadTater.

    2. “Well, I’m not too inclined to trust the word of a German writing in a magazine called Socialism in the first place just on principle.”

      Heh.

  10. This is exactly why property rights are so fundamentally important to a free society.

    If people on the left got behind property rights they could do much more to protect the interests of the poor. Yet, instead, they prefer that the government own all the land in the “common interest”, and such like. As if the state would never unjustly favor a connected interest.

    That interest doesn’t even have to be a foreign corporation. It could merely be a class of people with a slightly larger vote count.

    Common property is always going to end up being unfairly distributed. The only fair system is one where private ownership is sacrosanct, regardless of who you are, what ethnic group or political party you belong to, or who you know.

    1. Hazel
      You’re absolutely right that many liberals are daft for not seeing that under any system of state owernship, both historically and theoretically, the less powerful are going to get screwed, and screwed hard. Economic inequality will be present and will mirror political inequality.

      I think I can quibble with your side a bit too though. One of the reasons why people on the left are a bit hesistant to “get behind property rights” is that we agree with many classical libertarians that the current distribution of property at any given time is not a just or fair one, it has more to do with historical and usually even fairly recent use of fraud and force (yes usually with government blessing or directly from the government). The libertarian, at least the more honest and thoughtful ones, will usually concede this but say “two wrongs won’t make anything right, they may make it worse even” while liberals would like to see policies which at least “up the fairness” a bit by lessening the structural imbalances created by past force/fraud but the effects of which linger on today.

      1. liberals would like to see policies which at least “up the fairness” a bit by lessening the structural imbalances created by past force/fraud but the effects of which linger on today.

        Except (a) you have no idea when to stop, and (b) such policies are often merely a cover for interest groups to do even more power grabs.

        And they encoruage victim/identity group politics, etc. with all of the destructiveness that entails.

        1. They don’t necessarily have to encourage identity group politics (think of Rawls famous book, iirc the conditions set up there were not focused on groups) or any of the boogeymen you mention, any more than every privatization plan need not end up as awful as the one in Russia did…

          1. And even if these are problems they may not be as bad as the problems inherent in your approach: leaving undisturbed and blessing the results of past systems of force/fraud….

            1. The benefits of an initially unfair distribution decay over time. Constant government meddling creates new inequities, which must then presumably be corrected. And Rawls wanted to correct for shit like not being born with as high an IQ as someone else. If we’re going to be going that route, you end up with the entire welfare state shebang. Permanent government meddling to “correct” past injusticies is inevitably going to morph into a micro-managing state which WILL be manipulated on behalf of those with the most influence.

              Just think, which victim-group is the most deserving, and in need of “corrections” of the market in their favor … why the one with the most political influence of course!

              1. It seems to me to come down to rather you think it’s worse to do nothing and let the advantages/disadvantages of past force/fraud determine outcomes for generations or try to rectify them with the knowledge that a risk of new force/frauds could likely be involved in the rectification. Sure, governments will tend to favor the powerful over the powerless, but, especially in democratic regimes, that’s not always the case.

                Either way this is the kind of libertarian argument that strikes me as honest, non-dickheaded disagreement. A liberal like me thinks doing nothing allows past force/fraud to determine outcomes for too many in too unfair a way, a libertarian finds the past force/fraud, and the advantages/disadvantages created by them, to be lamentable, but argues that any attempt to rectify the situation will almost certainly just keep perpetrating injustice indefinitely and anew while also having neglible benefits for the disadvantaged (or making things worse).

                I can appreciate that argument so much better than the dickheaded right-leaning libertarian one which essentially is to shout “LIFE AIN’T FAIR, DEAL.”

                And I of course disagree with you on Rawls. Why would we not want a society in which “slow” people don’t suffer too much relative to people who happen to be born smarter? It’s the same reasoning as how most folks think of disablities: why not have a society in which the disadvantages of being born with a disability are offset somewhat? The disabled don’t usually “deserve” their plight, and there but for the grace of God go you or I. The fair society is one that is set up to lessen those disadvantages imo. Libertarians balk at this because “fairness” to them seems often to be “people deserve what they get or currently have (absent force/fraud of course).” I, like most people, don’t think most people “deserve” what they happen to “have.”

      2. You don’t avoid overthrowing your genocidial dictator in a coup out of fear of what other flaws might be revealed by the coup or the next leader, do you?

    2. You wrote, “Common property is always going to end up being unfairly distributed. The only fair system is one where private ownership is sacrosanct, regardless of who you are, what ethnic group or political party you belong to, or who you know.”

      If we-the-people collect the land rent, and use it for common purposes, I don’t particularly care who owns the land. Private ownership, subject to paying the land rent into the common till, should be sacrosanct.

      There’s an awful lot of rent to collect in most places where there are vibrant economies.

      1. Actually that’s kind of the proplem with this Ethiopian situation. The Ethiopean government no doubt thinks that it can collect more tax revenue (land rent) by forcing off the farmers who have traditionally farmed the land, and leasing it to foreign corporations instead.

        “We-the-people” are fully capable of fucking over a distinct minority in order to collect more money for the “we”. And “our” “common pusposes”. Which may include giving ourselves fatter retirement checks at the expense of others.

        The problem is that there are not good mechanisms for collective decisions making about when to fuck over (or not) individual members of society on behalf of the “coom good”.

  11. I don’t think it would be “regulation” as we commonly understand it (rules of prior restraint) to enforce or apply stolen property laws to such circumstances. Though, alas, things can get intractably messy and abstract when trying to apply laws across borders….

    1. Therefore it would only make sense to blame the Ethiopian government, not the market.

      1. Right. The Ethiopian government is the one that is not respecting property rights here.

        1. Hazel, if you receive stolen goods, are you not participating in theft? The whole picture has to be considered and that includes the more that the government of Ethiopia.

          1. “if you receive stolen goods, are you not participating in theft?”-NO, you dumbass. I guess you wouldn’t be on the left if you weren’t a moral retard.

            1. Cytotoxic, I can’t argue with someone who is as skilled with language and abundant in charm, as you obviously are by nature. So, go to bed biatch.

              1. The goods wouldn’t be stolen if the government would protect the property rights of its own citizens and not foreigners who don’t even own the land….yet.

                1. True, but not the reality of Ethiopia.

                  1. True about the reality of Ethiopia. But then this will bring me back around to my original point: this is a failure of government, or the “governing body” of Ethiopia, not the free market.

                    1. and my orignal point too.

          2. If you do so knowingly, sure.

            But the solution is, what, exactly? Our government is in zero position to lecture businesses about receiving stolen property in Ethiopia when it’s busy handing out the property of Americans to corporations its own damned self.

            Getting in a fight with Ethiopia over a critical and fundamental principle you’re willing to defend is one thing. Getting in a fight with Ethiopia for stealing from your playbook is another.

            1. You do have a legitimate point. I think our eminent domain issue is somewhat similar but we do have influence with the buyers and we need to exert it.

              1. But how? I’m sure if you asked the companies involved, you’d get a very different story about the circumstances. They probably have all sorts of documents and paperwork describing how the land was in dispute between two private parties and to resolve the dispute the Ethiopian government stepped in and acquired the land and compensated each of the parties involved. And the people who had been evicted from the land were not the owners, but people who had been working the land for its owners.

                Now you and I and maybe even the federal government might say “that’s a load of crap” but without jurisdiction how could we even go down step one to uncovering evidence of the real situation?

                Or do we just assume the worst and punish them regardless of what they have to say? If we do that, what kind of precedent do we set?

                Very large chunks of the rest of the world sucks and there are both constitutional and practical limits as to what we can do to change that. When we ignore them, we almost without fail get ourselves into more trouble than we started with.

                I’m pretty sure there were many Ethiopians grievously wronged by the situation, but there’s very little we can do about it without making things worse.

                  1. take it back AA or I won’t talk to you.

                  1. Didn’t I already read this? I really tired, what is it you require?

                    1. It’s for Vorus. Go to bed

  12. Remember this post the next time Ron Bailey crows about the Green Revolution, Norman Borlaug, GMOs, etc. It’s state subsidies and stolen land the whole way.

  13. Woooh! What up Reason, who’s fucked up.
    It is Friday night, y’all should be knee deep in intoxicants, being libertarians and all.

    1. I’m not and I’m not

      1. Not what?

        1. Not fucked-up and not a libertarian

          1. Well, . un huh let me digest this,… okay I read the thread

            And concluded that your first three words are debatable and the last three are definite.

            1. Ok, you made me laugh this time. πŸ™‚

    2. Haha! I am a Libertarian and definitely wish I was fucked up and knee deep in intoxicants! But I live in a boring ass town for the time being and this is my entertainment for the night.

      1. I have already been burnt by a faulty sarcasm detector malfunction, therfore I will only respond with a hardy Hurrah.

      2. Sounds like fun hanging around in your mom’s basement;-)

        1. Mom’s basement, boring ass Port Angeles WA, not a whole lot of difference I guess πŸ™‚

            1. Bellingham is way better-google that. Seattle as well. Both are more than 3 hours away.

              1. AA,the live cam on Lawrence Street is not working and probably pointless at night.

                1. I’m not surprised. Most things are pointless here at night. Hence why I’m at home on reason.

  14. Here both of you are, late at night, I presume, on a libertarian website. Why?

    1. Read posts above for answer.

    2. Wait, what are you doing here?

        1. Hey rctl, where’s your boy cytotoxic at? He needs to come back a rile things up a bit.

          1. You have been drinking beer again, haven’t you?

            1. I won’t answer questions even during torture πŸ™‚

              1. I hope you are a female, rctl, ’cause if not, then this is creepy.

                  1. shit, I gave away info and not even a hint of torture.

                1. ya lets not get this much creepier. come out of the closet rctl, and bring cytotoxic with you.

                  1. cytotoxic is slowish and I have never noticed the name before tonight. Maybe AA = cytotoxic

                    1. No, Im the one and only double AA. I just notice cytotoxic had somethin he needed to say before he vanished. oh well

  15. Wait a sec.

    FTFA

    We turned off the main road to Awassa, talked our way past security guards and drove a mile across empty land before we found what will soon be Ethiopia’s largest greenhouse. Nestling below an escarpment of the Rift Valley, the development is far from finished, but the plastic and steel structure already stretches over 20 hectares ? the size of 20 football pitches.

    The farm manager shows us millions of tomatoes, peppers and other vegetables being grown in 500m rows in computer controlled conditions. Spanish engineers are building the steel structure, Dutch technology minimises water use from two bore-holes and 1,000 women pick and pack 50 tonnes of food a day. Within 24 hours, it has been driven 200 miles to Addis Ababa and flown 1,000 miles to the shops and restaurants of Dubai, Jeddah and elsewhere in the Middle East.

    20 hectacres = approx 50 acres.
    The classic land grant was around 100 acres per family in the 19th century And that’s where water is somewhat abundant.

    Now, 1000 women (say for the sake of arugument and easy math, 4 women per family working for this firm) or 250 families – probably more – are now gaining their livelyhoods from these 50 acres and a capital infusion – in a way that seems a bit more stable than substistence agriculture.

    Those bastards?

    1. Only if they were allowed to keep any of it. Remember it’s leaving the country once it’s picked. If the normal 3rd world rules apply those pickers are getting paid maybe 10 cents a week for picking 1100 lbs of tomatoes a day. So yes “Those Bastards”

    2. My objection is to the land expropriation, not to the concept of exporting food grown by large corporations.

      You’re correct that *assuming the land is acquired legally*, there’s a new benefit.

      What i suspect is going on is that the local farmers don’t have the expertise, tools, and equipment to manage an operation like this, so the government is attempting to increase yields (and thus profits and tax revenues) by inviting foreign corporations in, and effectively granting them the equivalent of eminent domain – forcing local farmers to sell land or lease to these companies rather than farm it themselves.

      1. I find it hard to believe there are no expert farmers there. Seems its just more lucrative in the short term to sell the land to the big corps.

        1. I don’t. The local farmers are probably still relying on oxen to plow the fields. Likely don’t have modern crop breeds and a knowledge of statistical prediction of crop productivity, etc. They probably don’t have the equipment to do the kind of soil testing and exact irrigation, herbicide/pesticide applications and so for that a modern agribusiness can.

          It’s lucrative, to the state, because the big farms will produce more and pay more in taxes than the small farmers would have.

          In other words, it’s virtually the same argument that was used in Kelo. If the state makes more money off of it in taxes, that’s reason enough to get some other owner in there.

  16. Nice diversion, but why the fuck are you two doing here?

    1. Oh drat, what, is what I meant.

    2. wooh, whats going down right now? capitol l

    3. what the fuck is this shit? Im now knee deep in intoxicants. im out soon.

      1. Now I know why the comments were stuck on 69 so long.

        1. rctl,

          I know you were up late but you left yourself open there.

  17. Kolohe, I’m using eminent domain to claim your house but I’ll pay you $1 a day to clean it. Does that work for you?

    1. Finally,you are right rctl. women are too stupid to manage and control money, they must have the power and wisdom of the top men in government to secure their safety.

      1. TOP. People Men.

      2. Wow, I was damn retarded, and totally missed the point here.

        1. “damn retarded, and totally missed the point here” It happens. You can’t help that you’re a man;-)

    2. Not saying you don’t have a point. It’s the same point that makes it hard to reconcile that the wealthiest nation in human history got that way in part because of one of the ‘most massive land thefts’ in human history.
      Objectively, the land was put to a ‘higher value use’ than pre-industrial agriculture and/or pastoralism and/or hunting/gathering.
      Otoh, genocide.

  18. Good morning II, Reasonoids! From the dialogue, looks like it was a rousing morning for e’rbody.

    This feels like passing the bar after getting up really early, and waving to your friends who are just heading home…:)

  19. (asian woman acts the coquette, placing hand over mouth giggling.)^happens all inside the head of a middle-aged man

    Good Morning Reason!

  20. (asian woman acts the coquette, placing hand over mouth giggling.)^happens all inside the head of a middle-aged man

    Good Morning Reason!

  21. Working a double tomorrow, so I’m gonna go. Goodnight y’all.

  22. Worth noting that all land in Ethiopia is owned by the State. That’s why such things can happen.

    Instead of having to negotiate with the individual land owner (who has a breakable lease from the State) the agribusiness can simply sweet talk a few ministers to get the peasants thrown off the land.

  23. It is not known if the acquisitions will improve or worsen food security in Africa, or if they will stimulate separatist conflicts, but a major World Bank report due to be published this month is expected to warn of both the potential benefits and the immense dangers they represent to people and nature.

    But let’s break out our ‘jump to conclusions’ mats anyway.

  24. Devlin Kuyek, a Montreal-based researcher with Grain, said investing in Africa was now seen as a new food supply strategy by many governments. “Rich countries are eyeing Africa not just for a healthy return on capital, but also as an insurance policy. Food shortages and riots in 28 countries in 2008, declining water supplies, climate change and huge population growth have together made land attractive. Africa has the most land and, compared with other continents, is cheap,” he said.

    Wait, what? There are no food shortages nor food riots in rich countries. The problems stated are the most acute *in sub-saharan Africa*. It’s like trying to cure an asthma attack by throwing oneself into the deep end of a swimming pool.

    The reason land is ‘cheap’ in Africa is because of the poor title regs, ineffective or outright corrupt govenments, violence of both political and criminal varieties, and the lack of trasportation networks to get you and your stuff to and from the ‘cheap’ land.

    The whole thing sounds like a huge speculative bubble. And as such, is probably going to collapse on its own accord.

    1. Of course, it will collapse eventually but another mess will be left behind. It is in the interest of Ethiopian crooks and/or corrupt officials to make this deal last ALAP. When you don’t care if your people are starving, it is not a giant leap to prefer them dead.

  25. I don’t really buy into the indigenous people having special rights to the land thing

    At some point in history their ancestors probably killed someone for it

    I’m a georgist on land, its common property and should be used by those who can use it the most efficiently
    the only way to ensure that is a land tax

    I’d be happy to see Saudi’s start using land in the EU for a rent as opposed to the common agricultural policy where 60% of the EU budget is spend subsidizing farmers to do nothing

    I get the feeling that the Observer article is propaganda from “fair” trade liberals, who have very dubious notions on Africa and what African’s should aspire to

    This deal is probably a good thing if it replaces subsistence farming

    Its a practice as outdated as slavery,
    its directly linked to low life expectancy

    Subsistence farming needs to be eradicated from this continent and consigned to the dustbin of history

    1. I’ve read Monkeeman’s posts here off and on for years. My burning question is: why do you hate paragraphs so?

      1. Not to mention periods

        1. It’s floetry.

      2. Paragraphs are a form of white eurocentric patriarchal oppression.

      3. haha

        I blame

        the little

        caption box

        thingy

        but i agree

        I does

        look

        quite retarded

    2. It’s not really an “indigenous people have special rights” thing.
      It’s more like … if your family has been farming on that spot for 100 years, it’s your property, title or no. Title’s are just legal paperwork, recently invented to keep track of property rights in the justice system.

      1. yeah but essentially if your family was farming a spot for a 100 years then probably 100 years ago their tribe pwned some other tribe for it and that tribe pwned someone else for it prior to that.

        Most colonialism was made possible by a divide and conquer where empires spread in areas already with civil war

        So at what point do you decide that the land was legally acquired?

        I’m for a flat rate land value tax that would force subsistence farmers off the land and let companies using modern farming methods take over.

        Its harsh and a cause of the destruction of traditional communities blah de blah de blah but its the only way to get Africa into the 21st century

        1. That’s why I go for a “just title the people living on it now” approach. There is no strictly fair way to do it, and the more you try to finagle it to make it fairer, the less fairer it actually gets.

          See Zimbabwe. The whole land reform, redistribution thing turned into mere cronyism, followed by a descent into economic decay and violence.

          At least you know the people currently farming it have some farming skills.

  26. But I bet there will be plenty of people here at Reason who will demand that we have “free trade” with these government/corporate plantations. Just like they demand that we have “free trade” with corporations owned and run by the Chinese People Liberation Army and with Dubai Ports Inc a corporation owned 100% by the Dubai government.

    As long as you stick a corporate label on it then there are people who will call it free market.

    1. I refuse to buy products from any country that bans the use of genetically modified crops. As well as any product labeled GMO-free. I also avoid organic, cause I’m not a sheep.

      It’s a personal choice, though. Wouldn’t force it upon anyone else.

      1. Ya I’m not sure I agree with this:

        ” I don’t really buy into the indigenous people having special rights to the land thing.At some point in history their ancestors probably killed someone for it.”

        That just seems like a never ending road to go down and it has to stop somewhere. I don’t think that is a good excuse for taking or selling the land. Somehow I doubt you, or me, or anyone on here is using the land we are on for the best or the most efficient purpose, and it sure was taken by force at one point.

  27. LOL< must be Nigerians, thats what they do best, steal!

    Zeo
    http://www.fbi-logfiles.int.tc

  28. OFF TOPIC: My response to an article in my local newspaper this morning regarding downtown security cameras.

    There’s nothing that can make you feel as safe as being under the watchful eye of the police. I suppose, if you are not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about, right?

    Thank you, Big Government, for protecting me, from the criminals, the terrorists, drugs and the evil corporations. But wait, I still have some freedom left. If I give you a little more, will you protect me from the illegal immigrants who want to steal my job, and my taxes to collect Welfare and get an education? Will you protect me from the big banks and credit card companies that want to charge me too much interest, because I just can’t say no to a sale, or read fine print? And will you protect me from my neighbor? I know there’s something that’s just not right about him. I know he’s up to something. Protect me. Please, protect me.

    Believe it or not, it is possible to be safe without having to sacrifice freedom.

    The city is in the process of downtown revitalization, and restoring an old movie theater. They need to place security cameras in the parking lots of the surrounding area, so visitors will feel safe.

    [Mayor] Romano said the point to installing the cameras downtown — a project both former mayors Perry Barse and Harry Curley also wanted — is to make the area safer, especially with the opening of Landis Theater this May.

    “A lot of residents are concerned about safety in the downtown,” Romano said. “I think, psychologically, people will feel more safe.”

    Romano is a former city police lieutenant, and former head of the drug enforcement task force. Dick.

  29. I’m a georgist on land, its common property and should be used by those who can use it the most efficiently

    Define “efficiently”.

    Good luck.

    1. I can define “most efficiently”

      most dollars profit per square kilometer

  30. But I bet there will be plenty of people here at Reason who will demand that we have “free trade” with these government/corporate plantations. Just like they demand that we have “free trade” with corporations owned and run by the Chinese People Liberation Army and with Dubai Ports Inc a corporation owned 100% by the Dubai government.

    Who is “we”? Individuals should have the right to trade with anyone, even if you think it is an immoral choice to do so. It is not your business who people trade with until such time that it somehow infringes your rights (and, unless you are Chad and consider the inherent interconnectedness of the universe as an excuse to be a fascist, it doesn’t).

    1. It does interfere with my rights since you are attacking the right of property ownership and I don’t think I will wait until you accumulate sufficient wealth to buy the ability to attack my property. You are an outlaw in my mind and have already broken the non-aggression principle. Since you don’t respect my rights, I don’t respect yours. Go ahead and trade with your thieving murdering trading buddies and count your blood money

      1. you break the nonaggression principle through trade? How is that so?

        It does not interfere with your rights at all. Put it to you this way: would you ban trading with Bruce Ratner and the New York Knicks? Property was stolen on their behalf by government as well…so should it be illegal to trade with them?

        Right now, you are basically saying that if an act of oppression exists somewhere in the world, and somehow, someway someone profits from that oppression and injustice, all of it should be illegal. This is not the business of the United States and it damn sure is no business of yours.

        There are people out there who, for whatever reason, buy fair trade coffee and make sure their diamonds are certified as “not blood diamonds” and all kinds of other trade groups and awareness organizations that you can tap into to make sure you never trade with these companies. That is outer limit of this being your business – your morality should not be the basis for law.

        1. “”””you break the nonaggression principle through trade? How is that so?””

          By trading in stolen goods

          If you were to knowingly buy a car of mine that had been stolen are you not engaged in theft against me?

          And since you have paid the thief you now make the thief more capable of stealing even more. Maybe next he will steal my house or maybe he will steal me and make me a slave. And I bet you will still buy since you think that trade absolves you from responsibility

          “””‘This is not the business of the United States and it damn sure is no business of yours.””‘

          It is the business of both the United States and me if that stolen property is brought to the US.

          1. “It is the business of both the United States and me if that stolen property is brought to the US.” Culpability should include allowing US funds to be used in such enterprises.

      2. It has to do with being inspired by objectivists more than anything else. Most libertarians here don’t think that way but there’s the the knee-jerk “Making money makes it pure” attitude left over from having read “Atlas Shrugged” one too many times.

        When it comes to the rich using government to screw the poor it’s:”Uh..yeah…that’s like…uh…bad, ya know?” When the poor use government to screw the rich it’s:”ITS.TEH.SLAVERY!!!!REVOLT.NOW!!!”

  31. So, like I said, are we going to outlaw trading with Bruce Ratner and the New York Knicks?

    Are you going to patrol the borders, ensuring that even the tiniest blood diamond never makes it into the United States?

    you get the idea.

    If you were to knowingly buy a car of mine that had been stolen are you not engaged in theft against me?

    Yes – but that’s not what is happening here, is it? The land is owned by the Ethiopian government – a fact of life I do not like any more than you do, but it is what it is.

    Anyway, again, you’re both making the all-too-common error in thinking that just because I do not think there should be laws against corporations doing this sort of thing means I somehow think it’s moral. DJF, you want your morality to be the law because somewhere, somehow, there’s an injustice going on, and you think that if there’s an injustice somewhere, there “oughta be a law”. That just is not how the world works, nor should it be.

    1. “””‘So, like I said, are we going to outlaw trading with Bruce Ratner and the New York Knicks?””‘

      No, just put him in jail where he belongs and strip the New York Knicks of all its government granted privileges and subsides.

      What do you think should be done in the case of Ratner and the Knicks?

      “””‘Are you going to patrol the borders, ensuring that even the tiniest blood diamond never makes it into the United States?””‘

      So just because we can’t stop every thief or return all the stolen goods to their owners then we should do nothing? In fact we should do the opposite, we should facilitate the thieves and the transport of their stolen goods?

      “””Yes – but that’s not what is happening here, is it? The land is owned by the Ethiopian government – a fact of life I do not like any more than you do, but it is what it is.””

      But if its owned by the government then how could trading with it be part of the free market? Since you say its government owned that automatically takes it out of any free trade situation.

      “””‘Anyway, again, you’re both making the all-too-common error in thinking that just because I do not think there should be laws against corporations doing this sort of thing means I somehow think it’s moral.”””

      So if Goldman Sachs shows up and steals your house then we should not have the government get in the way because we should not have laws against it.

      “””DJF, you want your morality to be the law because somewhere, somehow, there’s an injustice going on, and you think that if there’s an injustice somewhere, there “oughta be a law”. That just is not how the world works, nor should it be.”””

      Its far more the just injustice I worry about, I worry that the thieves in other countries can gather the wealth and power to start attacking me personally. Especially considering the apologists like you who will not only allow them to trade here but to move here and practice their thievery and worse here

      1. No, just put him in jail where he belongs

        Why does he belong in jail? The government gave him the land, legally, I might add. I don’t agree with the decision, but he didn’t do anything illegal. See now you want your personal morality to overrule the law and make your personal preferences rule. It does not work that way. I hate eminent domain laws and what happened in Brooklyn is rotten, but throwing Ratner in jail…for what?

        So if Goldman Sachs shows up and steals your house then we should not have the government get in the way because we should not have laws against it.

        We already have laws against theft. Ethiopia is a sovereign nation, and is directing its own affairs. The United States should not be the world police.

        In fact we should do the opposite, we should facilitate the thieves and the transport of their stolen goods?

        What facilitation? Is the United States government actively subsidizing these companies? ummmmmm…no.

        1. “””Why does he belong in jail? The government gave him the land, legally, I might add. I don’t agree with the decision, but he didn’t do anything illegal. See now you want your personal morality to overrule the law and make your personal preferences rule. It does not work that way. I hate eminent domain laws and what happened in Brooklyn is rotten, but throwing Ratner in jail…for what?””‘

          Receiver of stolen goods. He’s a fence. Also he is not just an innocent bystander who just happened to be handed this land, he is the one who planned the theft.

          If we put a few Ratner’s in jail then eminent domain abuse would drop significantly

          “””We already have laws against theft. Ethiopia is a sovereign nation, and is directing its own affairs. The United States should not be the world police.””‘

          Never said anything about world police, but we do have police power over what enters the US and that includes the stolen goods you want to import.

          “”What facilitation? Is the United States government actively subsidizing these companies? ummmmmm…no.”‘

          Yes they do, for one the US provides police protection of those goods even though they are stolen. How about if we remove the police protection from the thieves and people like you who trade in stolen goods and allow the Ethiopian people who had their goods stolen take them back. Maybe they will show up at your house and demand their property back and without the police protection of the US government you might be persuaded to return it

          1. You really are an absolute nutcase. So is a GM car stolen property? Is a GM paycheck stolen?

            You need to come back to reality.

            1. “””‘You need to come back to reality.””‘

              You are the one who thinks that trading in stolen goods and trading with governments is “free market”. That is far from reality

              1. There is “stolen”, “not stole” and then there are levels of connection and, conversely, attenuation. Someone who sells GM cars is not a thief or a trafficker in stolen goods.

            2. “So is a GM car stolen property? Is a GM paycheck stolen?”

              At this point – yes. GM should be bankrupt and no longer producing cars or paychecks.

    2. “The land is owned by the Ethiopian government – a fact of life I do not like any more than you do, but it is what it is.” Do you think the graft money is deposited in banks under the name The Government of the People of Ethiopia?

  32. It has to do with being inspired by objectivists more than anything else. Most libertarians here don’t think that way but there’s the the knee-jerk “Making money makes it pure” attitude left over from having read “Atlas Shrugged” one too many times.

    Coming very obviously from someone who’s never read AS or any other Ayn Rand works, or, if he claims he has, obviously did so superficially. There were all kinds of government takings and corporate favoritism in AS, and it was all done by what were obviously the bad guys. Better to remain silent and be thought of as ignorant than to open your mouth and remove all doubt, CZ.

    1. I’ve read AS through 3 times TAO. The question is have any of her followers read it. Or understood it?

      1. Clearly not, otherwise you would note that John Galt could have made a lot more money cooperating with the authorities rather than “shrugging” – the fact that this fundamental point escaped you leads me to believe you are not being truthful about having read the book, let alone understanding what you claim to have read.

  33. DJF, let’s see how your interconnectedness theory plays out, shall we?

    1. Any use of force for the benefit of another, at the expense of someone else, is wrong.

    2. Anyone who trades with the beneficiary of such force is enabling the thieves and, therefore, violating NAP.

    3. GM was bailed out, and therefore benefitted, by the United States government through taxes.

    4. Taxation is taken by force.

    5. So, by, according to two, anyone who buys a GM car, and therefore profits from said purchase, is enabling the thieves and their partners and is violating NAP.

    6. Anything that violates NAP should be illegal.

    7. Any trade with GM should be illegal.

    QED

    Did I get that about right? So, anyone who makes cars for GM, and who sells cars for GM, and works for GM dealerships, and buys cars and sells parts and sells tires to GM…is a thief or an enabler of thieves.

    1. Of course its theft. Do you disagree?

      You seem to claim some expertise in Ayn Rand, would John Gault think it is theft?

      Do you think it is a legitimate role of government to take from the taxpayers to give to a business just to prop up that business?

      1. Stop engaging the TAO you wish were here and engage the actual point I made. Of course I do not think it a legitimate role of government to prop up businesses. However, that does not make working for GM, or even GM’s acceptance of that money, thievery, no more than the use of corn syrup makes one a thief.

        So, again, should trade with GM be illegal? I made my point very clear, and logical enough to follow, so stop dodging and answer the question.

        1. Try reading the first line I wrote in reply.

          If that is too difficult I will repeat it in big letters “OF COURSE IT IS THEFT”

          1. That does not answer the question. Yes or no, DJF: Trade with GM should be illegal. Trade with anyone who receives favortism from the government, including legal privileges (like protection for Armed Forces Members and affirmative action) to tax breaks, should be illegal. People are also morally wrong for buying, working, or trading with GM.

            Is that a “yes” to all of those statements? Just say it.

              1. Though i don’t understand this, it makes no sense “like protection for Armed Forces Members”. I assume that you meant something else

                1. Actually corporations are required to hold jobs open for mobilized reservists, under penalty of law. Credit card companies and banks are required to reduce interest on all loans to service members to 6%, if said service member is deployed to a war zone, under penalty of law. Service members are legally entitled to break any lease and rental agreement when they are deployed, under penalty of law.

                  I don’t believe in any of this, but I do not blame those who trade with Soldiers. But according to you, those Soldiers are thieves, no?

              2. So, you, who undoubtedly use electricity that was forcefully formed into a cooperative by state and local government, and no doubt get your water from infrastructure that is probably administered by government, which subsidizes and maintains it through force…you, who probably get your trash picked up at the expense of your neighbors…you, too are immoral? The roads you drive on are subsidized at the expense of those who do not need them…that makes you a monster as well, no?

                See what your foolish pride has gotten you. Just admit you were wrong.

                1. But you ignore the proper function of government. Roads have long been considered to be a proper function of government. In fact no large network of roads have ever been created without government.

                  On the other hand rewarding one company with taxpayer money and which gives them a special advantage over other companies is not a legitimate function of government.

                  I am not an anarchist, I simply don’t want the government to turn a blind eye to your trafficking in stolen goods even if you jump across borders to hide your support of thievery.

                  1. According to Ethiopian law, the goods are not stolen. Do you want some kind of international law and governing body to enforce your morality now?

                    1. No, just US law which only applies to what happens in the US and that includes what enters the country.

                    2. OK, so how are these goods stolen, according to US law? Remind me.

                    3. Actually, good news! Only the land was “stolen”, and I can assure you that it will never enter the United States.

                    4. But you cannot produce food without land and food is what the imports into the US will be. If you steal the means of production you also steal the production.

                    5. So, your solution is to ban imports of “stolen” Ethiopian food, despite the fact that Ethiopians are being hired to work at these places? Why do you hate Ethiopian workers? What good do you think banning peaceable trade, no matter how odious the genesis thereof, does for the world?

                    6. DJF reminds me of John when he rants about teh evil American soldiers.

                    7. Its not peaceful trade if its based on outright thievery.

                      Free market needs free people. Slaves, serfs and people disposed of their property are not free people. And giving money to the thieves just perpetuates the non-free market

                    8. Yes, I agree that the free market requires free people, but you’re blaming the player and not the game.

                    9. There is no game unless the players play.

                      As long as the players fence the stolen goods then it is profitable to steal and the stealing will go on and on.
                      So the stealing of the land will be profitable for the thieves since they will export their cheap food and make lots of money and the theft will be considered a success and will be repeated.

                    10. The game existed before the players started playing; it’s called the state.

        2. “However, that does not make working for GM, or even GM’s acceptance of that money, thievery, no more than the use of corn syrup makes one a thief.”

          Corn syrup is made from corn which is subsidized using stolen loot to pay for the subsidies. Use corn syrup and yes you are a thief.

          1. Good luck avoiding using corn syrup, big man.

  34. Let me just add that I don’t think there is anything wrong in principle with corporations buying and leasing land in Ethiopia to grow food for export. It just needs to be done legally, with respect to the current land holders.

    It’s entirely likely that many farmers are willingly selling or leasing land because *it pays better* than growing the food themselves. In which case, a lot of Ethiopians can buy the food they aren’t growing and have money (and time) to spare. The notion that you can’t export food at a profit from a country with a food shortage is wrong headed. Free trade baby. If Ethiopia can make more money selling coffee than they would growing wheat, then there’s no reason they shouldn’t trade the coffee for wheat.

    But, the leftist will reply, it’s the corporations who get to keep the profits!

    Well, are they really? If the farmer *chooses* to lease his land rather than farm it, because he makes more money that way – then the farmer is turning a profit too.

    So, we should make it clear the the problem is land being *forcibly* expropriated. Not the (likely beneficial) phenomenon of agribusiness moving in itself.

    1. Farmers can’t sell or lease land in Ethiopia. It’s all “owned” by the state, they are mere tenants (A relic of Ethiopia’s communist past).

      See? See? There’s no expropriation going on here, just the state choosing a different set of tenants that pay more than the current tenants. It’s the free market, baby, get with it.

      1. So, what’s the alternative? Keep it communisitic?

        1. Its just as communistic when the tenets are corporations as it was when it was small farmers.

          The non-communist alternative is for the land to be owned by individuals and partnerships

          1. Well, maybe we should ask God to come down and determine what’s just – that will take care of it.

              1. whichever god you think the received wisdom of justice comes from. After all, you seem to think it would somehow be legitimate to turn the land over from government ownership to “individuals and partnerships”, but not to “corporations” (which, last I checked, are partnerships, but never you mind your head about that).

                1. Not just any individuals and partnerships. Those individuals and partnerships that are the rightful owners of the land.

                  1. Given that Ethiopia has communist for, what, almost fifty years, I would gather that would be a difficult achievement.

                    1. Considering the people who work the land the rightful owners would be a good default. (John Locke agrees)

                    2. Oh, and it would definitely be better than giving to the pre-communist feudal landlords. They aren’t rightful owners either.

        2. Give the land back to the people and communities that the commies stole it from?

      2. Ahhh. I see.

        Yeah. There you go, collective ownership means soonor or later the “collective” will decide that your not a useful enough ant and stomp on you.

        The only true justice comes from individual rights.

        1. The first step is selling the land…which is what’s happening under much of this movement here.

          1. I disagree. The land was “collectivized” at somepoint, and hence expropriated from it’s rightful owners. The correct thing to do is to title the people living on it, and then let THEM sell it, if they choose.

            For the state to wholesale sell the land outfrom under them ignores the reality than the state at some point simply artibtrarily abolished existing property rights. And within the lifetimes of many of the people currently living there. It’s entirely possible that the original owners are the same people living there today.

            1. This is my solution. title it to the farmers and let them decide what to do with it. I’m sure they can make a better decision than the Ethiopian government.

              1. Well, that would be optimal, sure. I guess we’ll just have to settle for the creation of titles and hope against exerperience that Ethiopia honors those titles instead of slaughtering the golden goose, as many backwaters are wont to do.

    2. “If Ethiopia can make more money selling coffee than they would growing wheat, ”

      Then the Ethiopian government will steal all of the coffee, give a pittance to the farmers, and keep the profits for itself. To help the farmers of course. Everyone applaud the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange and this brilliant maneuver that makes the best part of waking up the stolen coffee in your cup!

  35. It just needs to be done legally, with respect to the current land holders.

    That’s the rub, is it not? It is being done legally in accordance with Ethiopian law. What else should we go by?

    1. Well, we can point out that the apparant injustice of it due to the lack of property rights in Ethiopia. Ergo, property rights are essential for a just market.

      1. Well, yes, but morally speaking, what do you think of those who are engaging in this sort of thing? That is, those leasing the land for a dollar a year for 99 years (which is legal code for “gift”)? And legally?

        1. It’s morally questionable, but something more for boycott campaigns than outright sanctions.

  36. Make it stop, please.

    WASHINGTON, March 13 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama, already battling for healthcare reform, jobs and financial regulation, said on Saturday he was also about to push forward on a major overhaul of U.S. education.

    Obama said he would send a blueprint to Congress on Monday to update the country’s elementary and secondary schools

    Here

  37. More: Obama said improving education was vital to ensuring wider national success.

    I agree with this one hundred per cent, in principle; unfortunately, I have zero expectation of any sensible or effective proposals being put forth by the White house.

  38. FYI:

    The Obama White House has finally laid out its most thorough, reasoned rebuttal to arguments for marijuana legalization ? countering a campaign that is gaining alarming momentum at the state level.

    The president’s tough position was delivered in early March by his “drug czar,” Gil Kerlikowske, in a private talk before police chiefs in California ? which is ground zero for this debate.

    “Marijuana legalization ? for any purpose ? is a nonstarter in the Obama administration,” said Mr. Kerlikowske, a former police chief himself.

    Christian Science monitor

    Surprised?

    1. LIAR AND HYPOCRITE!

  39. This is perfect proof of my theory that Libertarianism cannot truly exist unless it is on an international scale, and the freedoms are shared by all people in all countries, equally.

    1. Thats what they say about communism too.

      1. And it’s just as likely, in either case.

    2. I think some form of something really close to actual Libertarianism could easily exist in a single country.

  40. Wow. Glad this small post by reason got people talkin so much. I like.

    1. These are ‘people’ talking?

      1. I’m not sure what else I should call them(us?)….. suggestions?

  41. 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.

    Names?

  42. “Individuals should have the right to trade with anyone, even if you think it is an immoral choice to do so.”

    So if, the 40’s. the US passed a law barring any individual from dealing in goods produced in Nazi concentration camps, you’d be opposed to that law? And you think barring trade in child pornography (apart from its production) is wrong too, eh?

    OHHH-KEE-DOOO-KAY! TAO, no offense, but your arguments were better when you were gone…

    1. Child porn and a Godwin. This is the state of the modern “progressive”.

      1. No substantive reply even attempted when the direct implications of a hyperbolic, absurd generalization is tossed out as a principle.

        This is the state of the right-leaning “libertarian.”

        1. Given that you put “libertarian” in quotes (generally meaning “alleged”), perhaps you can formulate the correct libertarian response, and then counteract it with your own. I am sticking to the principle, and I do not see your examples as undercutting it in any way. Of course, they were deliberately chosen to justify your totalitarian impules…care to address that?

  43. It’s really bad to steal the locals’ land.
    Unless we find unobtainium there, in which case, have at it.

  44. This sucks not just for Ethiopia, but because ignorant folks will start incorrectly blaming this on the free market and using it as an example of how the market is “failing” us.

    You started out talking about the free market and somehow shifted to just “the market” before the end of the sentence. It certainly would be unfair to blame the free market, since the transactions taking place aren’t taking place on the free market. But it seems like this is a very useful example of how the market is failing us–you know, the market that’s actually functioning rather than the free market of our dreams.

  45. And that, my friend is why we refer to them as ignorant.

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  47. Why these foreign companies are arriving and depriving people of land they have used for centuries.

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