Accepted paper:

Land grabbing and the financialisation of agriculture: the political economy of the current land rush

Author:

Anne Visser (International Institute of Social Studies (ISS))

Paper short abstract:

This paper deals with the phenomenon of global large-scale land acquisitions, commonly known as ‘land grabbing’. This process seems to be at odds with some dominant trends in global capitalism to date. The paper will present an analysis of land grabbing, in particular in post-socialist Eurasia, and intends to discuss some benefits and limitations of a political economy approach in explaining this phenomenon.

Paper long abstract:

This paper deals with the phenomenon of global large-scale land acquisitions, generally called 'land grabbing'. The land rush with the increase of investors' appetite for the primary sector and rural areas which takes place in developing countries and, although less known, developed countries, seems to be, at least partly, at odds with dominant trends such de-industrialisation in the West, increasingly urbanising capitalism, 'flexible accumulation' and sub-contracting, while intimately connected with the trend of increasing financialisation. The paper will analyse field work and macro data on the global land rush, paying attention in particular to post-socialist Eurasia (Russia, Ukraine), widely seen as the re-emerging 'global breadbasket'. The agricultural sector of this region, as will be argued, rapidly moves from a 'backward' sector towards a forefront of global financialisation in agriculture, and therefore, its scrutiny is expected to generate fresh insights into the above-mentioned processes. Furthermore, the paper intends to discuss some benefits and limitations of a anthropological political economy approach in explaining a phenomenon such as global land grabbing.

panel PE39
Capitalism and global anthropology: Marxism resurgent