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The Land Grabbers: The New Fight over Who Owns the Earth Hardcover – May 29, 2012
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“Compelling and well-researched ... Dissects the modern rush to acquire land for production, investment, speculation or preservation.”—Wendy Wolford, Nature
“Raises complex and urgent issues.”—Booklist, starred review
“A thorough and enlightening exposé.”—Conservation
“A well-researched, informative and accessible look at important economic and agricultural issues.”—Kirkus Reviews
“This is just what the world has been waiting for—a detailed overview of the land grabs that are the principal manifestation of a new geopolitics of food.”—Lester R. Brown, President of Earth Policy Institute and author of World on the Edge
“The remarkable Fred Pearce has done it again: in The Land Grabbers he opens up vastly important new terrain few of us have even noticed. When the rich and powerful start buying up the planet's fundamental resources—land and water—from the poor and vulnerable, we'd all better notice.”—James Gustave Speth, author of The Bridge at the Edge of the World: Capitalism, the Environment, and Crossing from Crisis to Sustainability
“Wherever on this earth poor villagers, agribusiness magnates, ignorant or corrupt governments, petrodollars, commodity traders and hungry multitudes come together, Fred Pearce is at the nexus, brilliantly reporting on the biggest swindle of the 21st century. With the modern landgrab, the enclosure movement has attained planetary proportions and Pearce is without peer in describing the dire consequences of this ongoing human and environmental disaster.”—Susan George, author, Hijacking America, board president, the Transnational Institute
"In The Land Grabbers, Pearce has produced a powerful piece of journalism that illuminates how the drive for expanded food production is transfomring the planet. anyone who cares where her next meal is coming from should read it."–Washington Post
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Top Customer Reviews
All of this could have been five star material if he had taken more time to build a more focused and balanced book. Unfortunately he has produced a book with many tangents to his main thesis stated in Chapter 1--that land-short food importing countries are buying up land to ensure their food security. Many of the chapters do not deal with food at all but rather diverge into rubber, biofuels, logging, conservation, and private game parks. While they all place demands on land, they are not motivated by food security concerns. And the bulk of the evidence is that food-importing governments finance a relatively small share of land deals involving food production.
Further the book has an overall anti-business and anti-export crop tone. Although Pearce provides glimpses of positive impacts, 90% of the cases in this book dwell on the negative side--admittedly not hard to find.Read more ›
In the book, Pearce appears to see more cons with land deals than I do. Perhaps that's because he saw only bad land deals, or perhaps he associates ALL large-scale agriculture with exploitation, inefficiency and environmental degradation. Any of you who read my paper ("The Political Economy of Land and Water Grabs")* will know that I am annoyed that we do not have a good definition of when a land deal is a "bad" grab or "good" foreign direct investment (FDI). Pearce appears to call ALL deals grabs, but I think there are many well-run, sustainable farming operations that produce profits for the farmer, good jobs for locals, and quality food for markets.
Anyway, here are my notes on the 300pp+ book, which has six parts and 27 chapters covering "grabs" from buy-side and sell-side locations in Europe, N and S America, Africa and SE Asia.
Many grabs convert "fallow" land to industrial-scale agriculture, but local communities often "cultivate" this land in long rotations of crops, grazing and recovery. Their methods are not just sustainable; they are cheaper and more productive for meeting a diverse range of local needs. Nomadic herders have practiced sustainable land management for centuries.
Such methods are also egalitarian. Poor farmers can eat, but poor urban residents will suffer from political corruption and/or favoritism.Read more ›
When I say the conclusion disappoints, I mean in the following way. As the environmental writer for The New Scientist, I would think Fred Pearce would incorporate the findings of climate change scientists into the assessments, but there is very little of this, probably since it wasn't really the focus of the book. But when discussing forests chopped down for pulp, it does matter greatly if a forest is expected to be gone due to increased temperatures, in 50 years, and what conditions will be like in areas of Africa, at this point, models are pretty consistent in forecasts of this kind. Instead of the obvious conclusion, that the rich countries taking land from the poor for food security is an added disaster for most of the world, added to the underlying problem of climate change, the conclusion states that the future looks positive because pastoralists and small farmers can feed the world better. What the--? Talk about dropping the ball. Once again, Malthus becomes the bogeyman in the final chapter, the risible predictions of malthusian disaster something to be clearly stated as impossible. Why is this? How does this conclusion follow in any way?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Outstanding and comprehensive book on the concentration of land and agricultural water holding and the displacement of indigenous people from their traditional farming, pasturing... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Doctor Jean ND
I didn't realize all this was going on. Very interesting and informative.Published 15 months ago by Marlene Mulch
A great contribution on the greatest change in man-land relations and national rights since colonialism; all based on field observations.Published on April 19, 2014 by Wossenu Abtew
Fred Pearch writes about a new global trend in a world where access to land and control of land is becoming an increasingly important commodity you can trade and exchange for... Read morePublished on January 16, 2013 by Dorthe Jensen
Excellent, up-to-date, moving account of a major global trend. Fred Pearce has visited all the places he described and has done the research to back up his analysis.Published on January 11, 2013 by Delmance Moses
Very informative and eye opening. The few rich will inherit the earth if this book is accurate. It makes you wonder who is in charge.Published on July 28, 2012 by Richard Machtay