Magazine article New Internationalist

The Big Issue: Land Reform

Magazine article New Internationalist

The Big Issue: Land Reform

Article excerpt

A JOURNALIST once asked Joseph Stiglitz (former Chief Economist at the World Bank who resigned in opposition to its policies) what one thing he would do to help developing nations. 'Radical land reform,' replied Stiglitz. In his view, the very high rents charged by propertied oligarchs worldwide, which take on average about half of a tenant farmer's annual produce, were acting as an invisible '50- per-cent tax on poor farmers'.

Brazil is one of the countries most urgently requiring land reform. Just 0.8 per cent of farmers whose farms are larger than 2,000 hectares own 43 per cent of the land, while the 32 per cent of farmers whose farms are smaller than 10 hectares own just 1.3 per cent of the land. Remarkably, there are 262 farmers who own 40 million hectares of land. …

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