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The Forum > Article Comments > The great land grab > Comments

The great land grab : Comments

By Peter Curson, published 8/1/2009

A new form of neo-colonialism is emerging whereby some countries are snapping up vast tracts of agricultural land in developing countries.

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This kind of Big Biz mafia grab was predicted over 10 years ago when I was taking study groups with the Mandurah University of the Third Age.

Not that there was overmuch interest by many of the so-called students, many just saying that it was something to do in our dotage, anyhow.

However, there was the odd one like myself who preferred to work as advised through a university, after I'd got a Post-Grad including a degree with Honours, thus working mostly through Murdoch Uni'.

Anyhow after '001, I managed a very interesting course called The Changing Global Political Economy, recommended for both social science and busines students.

And a course incidently still going, certainly hoping to get hold of a copy of the latest course literature.

Having still got the older written courses and checking back, it is so interesting that one side of the research predicted pretty well what is happening today.

And as I have already recently notated in our OLO discussions, it was not only predicted with neo-colonial business grabs in the Third World but also right here in WA, where Saudi interests are after large grain farms.

Certain farmers might want such to happen, but in the long run as predicted, most farmers sons will just turn into contractors or waste away in the cities.

Cheers, BB, Buntine, WA
Posted by bushbred, Thursday, 8 January 2009 1:38:35 PM
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State in Excile: The The Sahrawi people, confined to a desert refugee camp - water and food brought in from UN while we buy their Phosphorus from an illegal source.

Australia ignores the issues where it could work - educate and help make the difference.

Peak Phosphorus: the sequel to Peak Oil; find my links to the information below

For example: Would farmers of Australia knew the story behind the superphosphate they routinely apply on their lands, they would have to wrestle with a difficult moral dilemma do they continue using it or boycott this vitally needed commodity?

In Western Sahara, Moroccan authorities consider all opposition to their rule of the disputed territory as illegal attacks on Morocco's "territorial integrity," and use this as a basis to ban or disperse peaceful demonstrations and to deny legal recognition to human rights organizations. The problem goes well beyond repressive laws, however: police beat peaceful pro-independence demonstrators and sometimes torture persons in their custody, Human Rights Watch said. Citizens file formal complaints about police abuse that the justice system routinely dismisses without conducting serious investigations, reinforcing a climate of impunity for the police.

Problems we would like to solve but it needs us all to think and want to understand and, act on what we truthfully know.
Posted by miacat, Thursday, 8 January 2009 3:47:12 PM
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Sorry Miacat, but I was only arguing from a selfish Western farmer's point of view.

But reading the Palestinian/Israeli problem you have supplied, must say I am with you 100 per cent.

As also a historian with a good knowledge of ME problems, must say that what is needed is Immanuel Kant's original idea of a union of democratic nations from which the League of nations was figured out.

The problem is that while the League of Nations was ruined mostly by British-backed international greed, the same has happened with the United Nations, with America determined to remain global top dog.

Furthermore, to try and discuss such historical scientific philosophy with most of our younger OlO's, seems hopeless, while many of us oldies have pretty well given it up as a lost cause.

Also Miacat, must say that a letter in last Tuesday's West Australian, does give me hope.

The editor has made good use of it, with a heading notated - WAKE UP TO THE MIDDLE EAST SOLUTION.

Written by a John Falconer of Mt Claremont, he tells how in 1947 he was a member of Britain's Palestinian Police Force.

He goes on to say that the original plan was for the Palestinians to have their own designated territory similar to the Israelies, the Israelies to stay within the planned borders of May 14, 1948.

It is a very long letter, Miacat which I am sure the West Australian editor will supply it, if you need it.

In fact the editor has also published a similar letter after it, apparently written by a veteran with a similar argument on the same topic.

I was even wondering whether the editor should receive some sort of thanks from our OLO sponsors.

Best Regards, BB, WA.
Posted by bushbred, Thursday, 8 January 2009 6:31:54 PM
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Thanks for raisng this vitally important issue.

This could well happen to aboriginal land as a consequence of the introduction of the stupid freehold land system.

I heard a few years back that most Vanuatans are now landless as wealthy foreigners, mostly Australians, have been allowed to buy up their land.

This issue is covered in Naomi Klein's "The Shock Doctrine" of 2007

Chapter 19 chronicles how the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami was exploited as an excuse to evict coastal fishing communities in Sri Lanka, Thailand and the Maldives in order to make way for luxury coastal hotels.

The hotels were built with funds earmarked for reconstruction whilst the former inhabitants of the coastal areas now languish in resettlement camps in the case of Sri Lanka. In the Maldives, they have simply been moved into the crowded cities.
Posted by daggett, Friday, 9 January 2009 3:59:56 PM
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I read this article with mixed feelings.

Knowing of the injustices and sometimes even horrors of the world’s colonial past it’s natural that we reject any thought of return to those bad ole days.

But is that what is posited?

Colonialisation was just that: complete re-genesis of certain countries into colonies of another power and thus the imposition of foreign law and dominion. It was this imposition of law and ownership which allowed the disenfranchisement of the original inhabitants and their relegation to a marginilised sub-class.

The paragraph beginning “Historically one only has to think of how white Europeans dispossessed the Maori in New Zealand, the native Indians in North America or the Zulu in South Africa….” guides us perhaps, into an emotive rather than an objective mind-set.

Because this situation is not really comparative at all. Marching into a different country, planting one’s flag, and claiming that country as being completely under the jurisdiction of a foreign law and culture is nowhere suggested. Neither is the outlawing of the language, culture or religion of the host country.

As the article also points out: “African countries are either actively courting possible suitors or reacting to requests from Asia and Europe.” That’s one huge difference. No-one “courted” the British to move in and destroy the Raj. Cecil John Rhodes did not “request” permission from Zimbabwe to turn it into a “little part…that is forever England”.

Numerous interviews with African trade and economic leaders I’ve watched and listened to put forth cogent reasons for their encouragement of these plans. One of the reasons for their support of, for example, China’s presence in Africa is because that country has no colonial past.

Anyone who has ever lived in Africa or India and seen the poverty, starvation and hopelessness there would, I think, hesitate to take a completely negative stance on this issue.
Posted by Romany, Saturday, 10 January 2009 11:53:36 AM
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