Joseph R. Stromberg on Land Grabs in the Developing World


A new book by an environmental journalist offers a wonderful primer on the newest manifestations of an ancient form of plunder: the seizure of other people's resources and destruction of their livelihoods. Today, allegedly "unused" or "underused" land in Africa, Latin America, East Asia, Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Australia, and elsewhere is being seized for international corporations, both private and state-owned. As Joseph Stromberg notes in his review, the land grabs aim at enriching privileged companies and their political allies, who see no reason to respect sitting owners and resource users, whatever their rights under customary law or postcolonial statutes.