Neo-Colonialism 2.0

Land grab, because the Global North needs it to fuel the financialization-of-everything system since the mortgage thing is all busted up:

“Hedge funds are behind “land grabs” in Africa to boost their profits in the food and biofuel sectors, a US think-tank says.

In a report, the Oakland Institute said hedge funds and other foreign firms had acquired large swathes of African land, often without proper contracts.

It said the acquisitions had displaced millions of small farmers.

Foreign firms farm the land to consolidate their hold over global food markets, the report said.

They also use land to “make room” for export commodities such as biofuels and cut flowers.

“This is creating insecurity in the global food system that could be a much bigger threat than terrorism,” the report said.

The Oakland Institute said it released its findings after studying land deals in Ethiopia, Tanzania, South Sudan, Sierra Leone, Mali and Mozambique.

It said hedge funds and other speculators had, in 2009 alone, bought or leased nearly 60m hectares of land in Africa – an area the size of France.

“The same financial firms that drove us into a global recession by inflating the real estate bubble through risky financial manoeuvres are now doing the same with the world’s food supply,” the report said.”

And this should be a source of embarrassment but will not be:

“Harvard and other major American universities are working through British hedge funds and European financial speculators to buy or lease vast areas of African farmland in deals, some of which may force many thousands of people off their land, according to a new study.

Researchers say foreign investors are profiting from “land grabs” that often fail to deliver the promised benefits of jobs and economic development, and can lead to environmental and social problems in the poorest countries in the world.

The new report on land acquisitions in seven African countries suggests that Harvard, Vanderbilt and many other US colleges with large endowment funds have invested heavily in African land in the past few years. Much of the money is said to be channelled through London-based Emergent asset management, which runs one of Africa’s largest land acquisition funds, run by former JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs currency dealers.”

In addition to climate change damage, this is a source of failing local agriculture and famine in the Global South, especially Africa, and a perfect illustration of Amartya Sen’s entitlement thesis where the Global South’s entitlement of the poor become the Global North’s rents. And another form of colonialism where value is extracted out of the periphery and transferred to the core.

2 thoughts on “Neo-Colonialism 2.0

  1. Africa will never become a prosperous continent if foreign countries allow their corporations to conduct their affairs in this way. It may become very dangerous when the corrupted leaders of some African countries start to win elections on the basis of the opposition to foreign interventions.

    • The thing is that they haven’t had much choice. The IMF and the World Bank imposed conditions on them, forcing them to open up their markets to foreign investment, to remove all price support for agricultural products (while the US and EU subsidize their agriculture like nobody’s business), hence the collapse of local farming. And hence the ease of land grab.

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