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The Land Grabbers: The New Fight Over Who Owns the Earth

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The Land Grabbers: The New Fight Over Who Owns the Earth Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

“Raises complex and urgent issues.”—Booklist, starred review

How Wall Street, Chinese billionaires, oil sheiks, and agribusiness are buying up huge tracts of land in a hungry, crowded world.

An unprecedented land grab is taking place around the world. Fearing future food shortages or eager to profit from them, the world’s wealthiest and most acquisitive countries, corporations, and individuals have been buying and leasing vast tracts of land around the world. The scale is astounding: parcels the size of small countries are being gobbled up across the plains of Africa, the paddy fields of Southeast Asia, the jungles of South America, and the prairies of Eastern Europe. Veteran science writer Fred Pearce spent a year circling the globe to find out who was doing the buying, whose land was being taken over, and what the effect of these massive land deals seems to be.

 

The Land Grabbers is a first-of-its-kind exposé that reveals the scale and the human costs of the land grab, one of the most profound ethical, environmental, and economic issues facing the globalized world in the twenty-first century. The corporations, speculators, and governments scooping up land cheap in the developing world claim that industrial-scale farming will help local economies. But Pearce’s research reveals a far more troubling reality. While some mega-farms are ethically run, all too often poor farmers and cattle herders are evicted from ancestral lands or cut off from water sources. The good jobs promised by foreign capitalists and home governments alike fail to materialize. Hungry nations are being forced to export their food to the wealthy, and corporate potentates run fiefdoms oblivious to the country beyond their fences.

 

Pearce’s story is populated with larger-than-life characters, from financier George Soros and industry tycoon Richard Branson, to Gulf state sheikhs, Russian oligarchs, British barons, and Burmese generals. We discover why Goldman Sachs is buying up the Chinese poultry industry, what Lord Rothschild and a legendary 1970s asset-stripper are doing in the backwoods of Brazil, and what plans a Saudi oil billionaire has for Ethiopia. Along the way, Pearce introduces us to the people who actually live on, and live off of, the supposedly “empty” land that is being grabbed, from Cambodian peasants, victimized first by the Khmer Rouge and now by crony capitalism, to African pastoralists confined to ever-smaller tracts. 

 

Over the next few decades, land grabbing may matter more, to more of the planet’s people, than even climate change. It will affect who eats and who does not, who gets richer and who gets poorer, and whether agrarian societies can exist outside corporate control. It is the new battle over who owns the planet.

Review:

"In the latest by environmental journalist Pearce (When the Rivers Run Dry), politics and human rights take center stage. Bouncing around the globe, Pearce analyzes the practices of 'land grabbers' — outsiders contentiously acquiring large-scale land rights — and exposes their often heavy-handed tactics. Whether in Tanzania, Australia, or Kenya, Pearce shows how land grabbers displace natives who have lived there for generations and who receive little or no help from national laws. Through personal interviews and stories, Pearce reveals how governments often work on the side of big corporations, with a 'casual indifference to people's rights.' As he makes clear, it's dangerous to pretend that big commercial farming has any interest in feeding the world. His survey also extends beyond land grabbing, such as in a chapter dealing with the Chicago Board of Trade, which focuses on the evils of market speculators and day traders. While readers will find the lives and tribulations of uprooted natives captivating and troubling, the fact that these incidents are not localized to the Third World is part of Pearce's message. Unfortunately the narrative becomes repetitive, resulting in the feeling of reading the same story over and over again. Agent: Jessica Woollard, the Marsh Agency." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Synopsis:

“Raises complex and urgent issues.”—Booklist, starred review

How Wall Street, Chinese billionaires, oil sheiks, and agribusiness are buying up huge tracts of land in a hungry, crowded world.

An unprecedented land grab is taking place around the world. Fearing future food shortages or eager to profit from them, the world’s wealthiest and most acquisitive countries, corporations, and individuals have been buying and leasing vast tracts of land around the world. The scale is astounding: parcels the size of small countries are being gobbled up across the plains of Africa, the paddy fields of Southeast Asia, the jungles of South America, and the prairies of Eastern Europe. Veteran science writer Fred Pearce spent a year circling the globe to find out who was doing the buying, whose land was being taken over, and what the effect of these massive land deals seems to be.

 

The Land Grabbers is a first-of-its-kind exposé that reveals the scale and the human costs of the land grab, one of the most profound ethical, environmental, and economic issues facing the globalized world in the twenty-first century. The corporations, speculators, and governments scooping up land cheap in the developing world claim that industrial-scale farming will help local economies. But Pearce’s research reveals a far more troubling reality. While some mega-farms are ethically run, all too often poor farmers and cattle herders are evicted from ancestral lands or cut off from water sources. The good jobs promised by foreign capitalists and home governments alike fail to materialize. Hungry nations are being forced to export their food to the wealthy, and corporate potentates run fiefdoms oblivious to the country beyond their fences.

 

Pearce’s story is populated with larger-than-life characters, from financier George Soros and industry tycoon Richard Branson, to Gulf state sheikhs, Russian oligarchs, British barons, and Burmese generals. We discover why Goldman Sachs is buying up the Chinese poultry industry, what Lord Rothschild and a legendary 1970s asset-stripper are doing in the backwoods of Brazil, and what plans a Saudi oil billionaire has for Ethiopia. Along the way, Pearce introduces us to the people who actually live on, and live off of, the supposedly “empty” land that is being grabbed, from Cambodian peasants, victimized first by the Khmer Rouge and now by crony capitalism, to African pastoralists confined to ever-smaller tracts. 

 

Over the next few decades, land grabbing may matter more, to more of the planet’s people, than even climate change. It will affect who eats and who does not, who gets richer and who gets poorer, and whether agrarian societies can exist outside corporate control. It is the new battle over who owns the planet.

Synopsis:

The Land Grabbers is a first-of-its-kind exposé that reveals the unprecedented land grab taking place around the world. Fearing future food shortages and the over-financialization of the stock market, the world's richest countries, corporations, hedge funds, and individuals have spent the last few years buying and leasing vast swaths of foreign soil—including parcels as large as the state of Massachusetts. From the plains of Africa to the jungles and prairies of South America, author Fred Pearce has traveled the globe to investigate the full scale and effects of the land grab, resulting in a larger-than-life cast of characters that includes Wall Street speculators, Gulf oil sheiks, Chinese entrepreneurs, big-name financiers like George Soros, and industry titans like Richard Branson. Along the way, Pearce introduces us to the people who actually live on, and live off of, the supposedly vacant land that is being grabbed, from Cambodian peasants, victimized first by the Khmer Rouge and now by crony capitalism, to African pastoralists confined to ever-smaller tracts. Corporate and governmental promises about the benefits of development, Pearce shows us, are often illusory, masking environmental and social destruction and the massive transfer of wealth out of host countries. This is investigative journalism at its best, taking the reader beyond the abstract claims in corporate reports to shed light on the human realities that underlie the land grab.  

About the Author

Fred Pearce is an award-winning former news editor at New Scientist. Currently its environmental and development consultant, he has also written for Audubon, Popular Science, Time, the Boston Globe, and Natural History and writes a regular column for the Guardian. He has been honored as UK environmental journalist of the year, among other awards. His many books include When the Rivers Run Dry, With Speed and Violence, Confessions of an Eco-Sinner, and The Coming Population Crash.

Table of Contents

Introduction

Part One : land wars

Chapter 1 Gambella, Ethiopia

Tragedy in the Commons

 

Chapter 2 Chicago, U.S.A.

The Price of Food

Chapter 3 Saudi Arabia

Plowing in the Petrodollars

Chapter 4 South Sudan

Up the Nile with the Capitalists of Chaos

Part Two : White Men in Africa

Chapter 5 Yala Swamp, Kenya

One Man’s Dominion

Chapter 6 Liberia

The Resource Curse

Chapter 7 Palm Bay, Liberia

Return of the Oil Palm

Chapter 8 London, England

Pinstripes and Pitchforks

Part Three : Across the Globe

Chapter 9 Ukraine

Lebensraum

Chapter 10 Western Bahia, Brazil

Soylandia

Chapter 11 Chaco, Paraguay

Chaco Apocalyptico

Chapter 12 Latin America

The New Conquistadors

Chapter 13 Patagonia

The Last Place on Earth

Chapter 14 Australia

Under the Shade of a Coolibah Tree

Part Four : China ’s backyard

Chapter 15 Sumatra, Indonesia

Pulping the Jungle

Chapter 16 Papua New Guinea

“A Truly Wild Island”

Chapter 17 Cambodia

Sweet and Sour

Chapter 18 Southeast Asia

Rubber Hits the Road to China

Part Five : African dreams

Chapter 19 Maasailand, Tanzania

The White People’s Place

Chapter 20 South Africa

Green Grab

Chapter 21 Africa

The Second Great Trek

Chapter 22 Mozambique

The Biofuels Bubble

Chapter 23 Zimbabwe

On the Fast Track

Part Six : the last enclosure

Chapter 24 Central Africa

Laws of the Jungle

Chapter 25 Inner Niger Delta, Mali

West African Water Grab

Chapter 26 Badia, Jordan

On the Commons

Chapter 27 London, England

Feeding the World

notes on sources

index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780807003244
Author:
Pearce, Fred
Publisher:
Beacon Press (MA)
Author:
PEARCE, FRED
Subject:
Environmental Studies-Environment
Publication Date:
20120531
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
26 MAPS
Pages:
336
Dimensions:
9.28 x 6.28 x 1.24 in 1.38 lb

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Related Subjects

Business » Business Plans
Business » General
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Featured Titles » History and Social Science
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History and Social Science » Social Science » Developing Countries
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The Land Grabbers: The New Fight Over Who Owns the Earth Used Hardcover
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$19.50 In Stock
Product details 336 pages Beacon Press - English 9780807003244 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In the latest by environmental journalist Pearce (When the Rivers Run Dry), politics and human rights take center stage. Bouncing around the globe, Pearce analyzes the practices of 'land grabbers' — outsiders contentiously acquiring large-scale land rights — and exposes their often heavy-handed tactics. Whether in Tanzania, Australia, or Kenya, Pearce shows how land grabbers displace natives who have lived there for generations and who receive little or no help from national laws. Through personal interviews and stories, Pearce reveals how governments often work on the side of big corporations, with a 'casual indifference to people's rights.' As he makes clear, it's dangerous to pretend that big commercial farming has any interest in feeding the world. His survey also extends beyond land grabbing, such as in a chapter dealing with the Chicago Board of Trade, which focuses on the evils of market speculators and day traders. While readers will find the lives and tribulations of uprooted natives captivating and troubling, the fact that these incidents are not localized to the Third World is part of Pearce's message. Unfortunately the narrative becomes repetitive, resulting in the feeling of reading the same story over and over again. Agent: Jessica Woollard, the Marsh Agency." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by , “Raises complex and urgent issues.”—Booklist, starred review

How Wall Street, Chinese billionaires, oil sheiks, and agribusiness are buying up huge tracts of land in a hungry, crowded world.

An unprecedented land grab is taking place around the world. Fearing future food shortages or eager to profit from them, the world’s wealthiest and most acquisitive countries, corporations, and individuals have been buying and leasing vast tracts of land around the world. The scale is astounding: parcels the size of small countries are being gobbled up across the plains of Africa, the paddy fields of Southeast Asia, the jungles of South America, and the prairies of Eastern Europe. Veteran science writer Fred Pearce spent a year circling the globe to find out who was doing the buying, whose land was being taken over, and what the effect of these massive land deals seems to be.

 

The Land Grabbers is a first-of-its-kind exposé that reveals the scale and the human costs of the land grab, one of the most profound ethical, environmental, and economic issues facing the globalized world in the twenty-first century. The corporations, speculators, and governments scooping up land cheap in the developing world claim that industrial-scale farming will help local economies. But Pearce’s research reveals a far more troubling reality. While some mega-farms are ethically run, all too often poor farmers and cattle herders are evicted from ancestral lands or cut off from water sources. The good jobs promised by foreign capitalists and home governments alike fail to materialize. Hungry nations are being forced to export their food to the wealthy, and corporate potentates run fiefdoms oblivious to the country beyond their fences.

 

Pearce’s story is populated with larger-than-life characters, from financier George Soros and industry tycoon Richard Branson, to Gulf state sheikhs, Russian oligarchs, British barons, and Burmese generals. We discover why Goldman Sachs is buying up the Chinese poultry industry, what Lord Rothschild and a legendary 1970s asset-stripper are doing in the backwoods of Brazil, and what plans a Saudi oil billionaire has for Ethiopia. Along the way, Pearce introduces us to the people who actually live on, and live off of, the supposedly “empty” land that is being grabbed, from Cambodian peasants, victimized first by the Khmer Rouge and now by crony capitalism, to African pastoralists confined to ever-smaller tracts. 

 

Over the next few decades, land grabbing may matter more, to more of the planet’s people, than even climate change. It will affect who eats and who does not, who gets richer and who gets poorer, and whether agrarian societies can exist outside corporate control. It is the new battle over who owns the planet.

"Synopsis" by , The Land Grabbers is a first-of-its-kind exposé that reveals the unprecedented land grab taking place around the world. Fearing future food shortages and the over-financialization of the stock market, the world's richest countries, corporations, hedge funds, and individuals have spent the last few years buying and leasing vast swaths of foreign soil—including parcels as large as the state of Massachusetts. From the plains of Africa to the jungles and prairies of South America, author Fred Pearce has traveled the globe to investigate the full scale and effects of the land grab, resulting in a larger-than-life cast of characters that includes Wall Street speculators, Gulf oil sheiks, Chinese entrepreneurs, big-name financiers like George Soros, and industry titans like Richard Branson. Along the way, Pearce introduces us to the people who actually live on, and live off of, the supposedly vacant land that is being grabbed, from Cambodian peasants, victimized first by the Khmer Rouge and now by crony capitalism, to African pastoralists confined to ever-smaller tracts. Corporate and governmental promises about the benefits of development, Pearce shows us, are often illusory, masking environmental and social destruction and the massive transfer of wealth out of host countries. This is investigative journalism at its best, taking the reader beyond the abstract claims in corporate reports to shed light on the human realities that underlie the land grab.  
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