Science, People & Politics: eCOVER | This issue

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Science, People & Politics, issue 4 (Oct.-Dec.), VIII (2012).

Buyer beware: biodiversity, food, pensions, hedge funds and trade.
By Helen Gavaghan

The Land Grabbers, The new fight over who owns the Earth.
by Fred Pearce
Hardback. Beacon Press. Boston. Paperback to be published March 2013.

In the chapter on Cambodia I, like Pearce, was cross that anyone should be scraping by on nothing so that I could have food sweetened. In Patagonia I liked the report of the born-again environmentalist, a non-Christian adjective selected by me, who was a US-born land owner, who rams Japanese whalers, and calls Greenpeace eco-warrior wimps. I once had a science editor who worked for Greenpeace before he worked for me. I imagine he would be intrigued.

In Liberia I had a sense of what the political classes under Ellen Johnson Sirleaf might be trying to do, but hoped they would construct economically viable small holdings, and rethink their New Town planning.

This is a substantive book, with arcane sub themes nestled in the big picture, and the arcania might one day provide an alternate big picture to that of land grab red in tooth and claw. For example, though the book is about land grab, Pearce reveals in his reporting political power in defence of the State, political power at the mercy of ignorance, and political power at the mercy of greed, and of macroeconomics, at the mercy of regional trade policies, and political power in defence of powerful individuals' visions. The book begs the question of when mass migration in response to climate change, anticipated climate change, or social, economic and political realities becomes the land grabbing described in some of the examples in this book. The book underlines for me why we need democracy, empowered by robust legal systems and enforceable land rights, if we are to evolve as societies. The alternate is to be conquered as human beings and nations by special interest groups.


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Keywords: Land, Dispossession, Agribusiness, Commodities, Biodiversity, Trade, Agribusiness, Commodities, Biodiversity, Land, Agribusiness, Agribusiness, Commodities, Biodiversity, Commodities, Biodiversity, Title, Trade, Land, Agribusiness, Commodities, Biodiversity, Title.

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