Should the U.S. support Third World land reform?
Krogh, Peter F. (Peter Frederic)
Person InterviewedProsterman, Roy L.
Examines the merits and consequences of land reform programs in the developing world.
In 1986 three out of every five people in the world lived and worked on farmland. Yet more often than not this same land was disproportionately owned by the wealthy -- in Brazil, for example, 2 percent of landowners owned nearly half of the nation’s farmland. For much of the 20th century, agencies such as the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Bank, and U.S. Agency for International Development strongly encouraged land reform programs in the third world, arguing that taking land away from a few rich landowners and giving it to peasants enfranchises the least powerful members of society, giving all citizens a stake in their country’s future. By the mid 1980s, however, land reform was coming under fire from some analysts who argued that such programs skew the laws of supply and demand, reducing incentives and inhibiting economic growth. These experts argued that rather than promoting stability and development, land reform results in economic uncertainty and stagnation. In light of the ongoing debate of the efficacy of land reform, should the U.S. continue to promote reform efforts in the developing world? To examine the merits of land reform and its potential consequences, host Peter Krogh sits down with Roy Prosterman, a professor at the University of Washington School of Law and expert on land reform efforts around the world, and Jude Wanniski, President of the economic consulting firm Polyconomics Inc.
Land reform -- Developing countries; United States -- Foreign economic relations -- Developing countries; Developing countries -- Foreign economic relations -- United States; Aid and Development; International Economics, Trade and Business; Economic Development in the Third World; Effectiveness of Land Reform;
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