Looking Beyond ‘Land’ in ‘Land Grabbing’: Water, Fiscal Resources and Police Power
34 Pages Posted: 16 Jul 2019
Date Written: July 15, 2019
A close analysis to the content of the states-investors land agreements reveals that public-private contracts are about something more than the disappearance of common and traditional land rights and the creation of new private rights. Land concessions are about much more than land. They are about water, a crucial ‘asset’ when it comes to large-scale agricultural production. They are, interestingly but not surprisingly, about taxes and the privatization of public revenues. They are, moreover, about the securitization and the control of the investment, about the power of policing and controlling the area that has been identified and enclosed. Overall, land concessions are about something more than enclosing land and transforming it into a factor of global production . They are tools to implement the neoliberal project, building blocks of an ideological, legal and economic model that transforms the way in which resources are allocated and managed, and funnels common value into private hands.To provide material evidence of the role of concession agreements, this paper relies on a selection of some of the 193 land concessions that are publicly available thanks to the Open Land Contracts database, a collection of state-investors agreements realized by the Columbia Centre for Sustainable Investments which represents a fraction of the totality of land deals concluded in the last decade. The juxtaposition of concessions offers the opportunity to discuss diversity and similarities and engage with the legal, political, economic and social reasons behind each combination of rights and obligations. Lawyers, development scholars and policy makers should thus pay attention to the content and implications of the concessions and engage with their tensions and background conditions.
Keywords: land rights, land, concessions, water, taxes
JEL Classification: K10, K11, K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation