Land redistribution as a poverty alleviation strategy

Redistribution is one version of land and agrarian reform, but it has not been the most common historically. Many of the major land reforms of the world have been of the ‘land to the tiller’ variety, affecting one dimension of agrarian structure – the ownership of property – but leaving others relatively intact, as former tenants or peasants end up cultivating the same, or somewhat expanded, plots as before.

At a very general level, land reform, like most politico-economic policies, can be said to be driven by considerations of either efficiency or equity, and sometimes both.

Efficiency-biased arguments for land reform are typically driven by notions of economic transformation and are associated politically with well-established regimes whose aspirations go beyond the agrarian sector – this typically implies taking on’ landowners or producers in the agricultural sector, be they feudalistic landlords or peasants: Prussia and Ireland in the nineteenth century come to mind, as do the communist examples of China and the Soviet Union in the twentieth, and the capitalist cases of Taiwan and South Korea.

Efficiency arguments are rarely concerned with equity within the agrarian economy, as their promoters typically have their sights on broader objectives, e.g. extracting food and value for the urban-industrial economy or enhancing the power of the state.

Redistribution is one version of land and agrarian reform, but it has not been the most common historically. Many of the major land reforms of the world have been of the ‘land to the tiller’ variety, affecting one dimension of agrarian structure – the ownership of property – but leaving others relatively intact, as former tenants or peasants end up cultivating the same, or somewhat expanded, plots as before. What has changed is the relationship of the producers to the land and to other classes, with enhanced opportunities for accumulation.

Only in very exceptional cases – such as parts of eastern Europe in the wake of the First World War, and Spain during the civil war – have large productive farms been turned into worker or peasant collectives with little or no involvement by the state, and these have rarely lasted for long after the exceptional conditions that brought them about have passed.

This has since occurred to some extent in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, but usually in the form of ‘accumulation from above’, making it quite different from most historical land reforms in the absence of any claims to equality or poverty alleviation. Lack of clarity around the aims of land reform and a lack of reliable information about its performance, make it particularly difficult to evaluate.

This, in turn, can be traced back to contradictions at the heart of land reform policy in South Africa – that extends to the relationship, if any, to poverty alleviation.

 

 

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source:Griffin, K. 1974. The political economy of agrarian change. London: Macmillan.REDISTRIBUTIVE LAND REFORM AND POVERTY REDUCTION IN SOUTH AFRICA byEdwardlahiffinhttp://r4d.dfid.gov.uk/PDF/ESRC_DFID/60332_Lahiff_Redistributive.pdf

Racial Discrimination in Housing impacts Health & Wealth

The effects of the Wealth distribution can also be traced to the location a person resides and sure enough that place can be identified as predominately residence of a particular race. Dependent on the race and class will have direct effect upon the unequal access to education, employment, transportation and accommodation. This exposes communities of colour disproportionately to environmental hazards and areas likely to experience anti-social behaviour.

 

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The effects of the wealth distribution can also be traced to the location a person resides and sure enough that place can be identified as predominately residence of a particular race.

Dependent on the race and class will have direct effect upon the unequal access to education, employment, transportation and accommodation.

This exposes communities of colour disproportionately to environmental hazards and areas likely to experience anti-social behaviour.

It is also common that those with the wealthy financial heritage are constrained and confined to their choices, which will naturally result in housing, education and employment. This indirectly enables the security of White homes that appreciate in value and generate assets passed down to subsequent generations whilst others are forced to remain limited with aspirations to purchase their own home.

The housing and school segregation for Blacks will most result in ill-equipped building where they are taught by inexperienced teachers and surrounded by classmates from similar backgrounds. The classroom sizes will be overcrowded and many of the children would suffer untreated disabilities.

White communities will have access to parks, playground, fresh food, and community education centres. Black areas most often suffer disproportionate exposure to polluted air, water, food, and neglected and derelict services. People of colour are generally relegated to places which become prime sites for rubbish and toxic-waste dumps, incinerator, motorways and factories.

 

Segregation-related to education inequality, racialised policing strategies, mismatch between the location of employment and the communities’ selection of supermarkets, fast-food outlets and betting shops alike.

 

 

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