Demand Some Rent Or Lose Your Land
Why Land Rights Matter in Cambodia
So much mass suffering at the hands of one's "betters". And the wannabe reformers hope for a political solution, unaware of the economic solution that actually works. We excerpt this 2013 article from IRIN, Mar 15.
by IRINFaced with widespread evictions and opaque private sector deals, activists in Cambodia are calling on the government to be more open and transparent about land concessions, beef up mechanisms for resolving land disputes, and abide by the rule of law.
It is estimated that at least two thirds of Cambodians, many of them poverty-stricken farmers, lack proper deeds to the property they live on. Over the past decade thousands have been forcibly evicted from their homes, while others have fallen victim to land-grabbing.
During this time of rapid economic growth, and with more growth forecast, there has been increasing demand for land in this largely agricultural country of about 15 million people, and rising land tenure insecurity.
The government had designated at least 2,657,470 hectares as ELCs (concessions for agro-industrial development) to private companies as of late 2012 - a 16.7 percent increase on 2011.
Senior Cambodian Peoples' Party (CPP) senator-tycoons are involved in many of the country's most high-profile and controversial concessions. Responsible investors could not compete with those "cutting corners" and disregarding social and environmental concerns.
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JJS: Reformers demand transparency, which would help, but it won’t solve the problem. To do that, reformers must demand a share of ground rent for everyone. Once the right to not just some portion of Earth but also to a share of her worth is part of the public dialog, and understood, and felt, then nobody could claim a greater share without violating law, custom, and public decorum. So, yes, do demand a parcel of land for everyone, but also demand a portion of land rent for everyone, too. Once the rent-share is won, the battles over land won’t be waged.
Editor Jeffery J. Smith runs the Forum on Geonomics and helped prepare a course for the UN on geonomics. To take the “Land Rights” course, click here .
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