The Corporate Enclosure Movement Comes to Ethiopia
Corporate Land Grab in Africa. Free Association (2010-03-27):
Much of the modern world has been shaped, alas, by governments’ grabbing land from peasants and yeomen, whose families had worked it for hundreds of years, in order to give it to the nobility or other privileged interests. As a result, many self-sufficient farmers became tenants of politically created absentee…
No doubt 40 years from now, if agribusiness dominates Ethiopia and the dispossessed majority has to rent their lives away in factory labor or other forms of corporate-controlled mass labor, some “pro-globalization” type will come along to tell us all about the neoliberal revolution and how the market outcome is obviously the result of market efficiencies, the division of labor, comparative advantage, and economies of scale.
In reality, this is just another round of privateering, and a massive, corporate-engineered, government-inflicted violation of poor farmers’ property rights. Carried out largely with the purpose of enriching foreign corporations and the domestic political class, on the excuse that the folks being stolen from are just too stupid to know how to “develop” their own land or the fruits of their own labor. Genuinely free and equal exchange — the consensual social order that would emerge from free trade among working people when they are freed of existing government restrictions and government borders, and also left in possession of their own, without massive dispossession in the name of forced modernization — would look absolutely nothing like the rigged markets we have, and nothing like gigantic screwjob that is passed off as “freedom” by modern neoliberalism.