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Land Grabbing: Journeys in the New Colonialism

A shocking exposé of how modern-day corporations and governments are raiding the Third World

To the governments and corporations buying up vast tracts of the Third World, it is ‘land leasing’; to its critics, it is nothing better than ‘land grabbing’ – the engine powering a new era of colonialism.

In this arresting account of how millions of hectares of fertile soil are stolen to feed wealthy westerners thousands of miles away, journalist Stefano Liberti takes readers on a tour of contemporary exploitation. It is a journey encompassing a Dutch-owned model farm in Ethiopia; a conference in Riyadh, where representatives of Third World governments compete to attract Saudi investors; meetings in Rome where the fate of nations is decided; and the headquarters of the Movement of Landless Workers in São Paulo.

Since the food crisis of 2007–8, when the cost of staples such as rice and corn went through the roof, the race to acquire land in the southern hemisphere has become more intense than ever. Land Grabbing is the shocking story of how one half of the world is starved to feed the other.

Reviews

  • “One of the most thoughtful analyses of agrarian capitalism is also one of the twenty-first century’s most gripping travelogues. Liberti’s precise, occasionally wicked, sketches aren’t merely enjoyable for their own sake. They’re a reminder that both the commission of and the struggle against the global food crisis involves real people.”
  • “Exemplary reportage ... accurate, engaged, honest.”
  • “Liberti writes with the curiosity and passion of the great journalists of the past.”

Blog

  • Post-crash economics: a reading list

    Neoliberal economics isn't working and students are demanding more from their course reading than the 8th edition of Macroeconomics can provide. Following the news that Economics students in Manchester have formed the Post-Crash Economics Society and Aditya Chakrabortty's excoriating and controversial commentary on the state of contemporary economics, published in the Guardian this week, Verso presents a reading list of economics titles which challenge the mainstream neoliberal consensus and offer powerful alternative models in contemporary economics.
     


    First on our list, and referenced by Chakrabortty, Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste: How Neoliberalism Survived the Financial Meltdown by Philip Mirowski
    Following the financial crisis, how have banks and the financial services industry manage to stay on top in the political stakes; indeed, how has their recovering led to an upturn in their fortunes? Philip Mirowski explores how financial capitalism has turned the crisis to their advantage, leveraging state power to prop up free market capitalism.

    Another new release from Verso is Costas Lapavitsas' book on financialisation, Profiting Without Producing: How Finance Exploits Us All. Described as "a masterpiece on the financialized capitalism of our age", the book looks at the rise of financial profit as a key aspect of the economy, and the role of financialized capitalism in the current economic crisis.

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