US Corporations a Driving Force Behind 'Unprecedented Wave' of Global Land Privatization: Report
by Julia Conley, staff writer
"Unfettered capitalism has brought us to this disaster. We must halt and reverse the privatization of the commons to protect and nurture these natural resources for future generations."
A study released Tuesday by the Oakland Institute details an "unprecedented wave of privatization of natural resources that is underway around the world"—one that is largely being driven by the United States and its allies.
According to the progressive think tank's report (pdf), "Driving Dispossession: The Global Push to Unlock the Economic Potential of Land," governments around the world—particularly in developing countries—are often put under pressure by financial institutions and Western agencies to open up land for so-called "productive use" by miners, agribusiness interests, and other corporate entities intent on exploiting natural resources for profit.
The U.S. in particular, the report says, is a "key player in an unfettered offensive to privatize land around the world."
With deforestation and fossil fuel extraction helping to fuel the climate crisis, governments are being pushed in a direction that's "just the opposite of the drastic shift we need to win the struggle against climate change,” Frederic Mousseau, policy director of the Oakland Institute and lead author of the report, said in a statement.
"Most of the land on our planet, especially in the Global South, is public land or land held under customary tenure systems [and] is seen as an obstacle to exploitation and economic growth," Mousseau said.
The Oakland Institute included in its report six case studies in Ukraine, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Zambia, Papua New Guinea, and Brazil, finding that global land privatization is often directly driven by U.S. interests.