Laws on Books Don’t Keep Forests With Natives, From Loggers
|February 7, 2014||Posted by Staff under Land Disputes|
This 2014 excerp of Inter Press Service, Feb 6, is by Carey L. Biron.
The past five years have seen less than 20 percent of global forestland put under community control compared to the previous half-dozen years. Further, far fewer legal safeguards were put in place during this latter period, while those laws that have been passed have been weaker.
The slowdown comes despite a significant uptick in the public discussion over land and indigenous rights, with multinational corporations, national courts, and Western donors increasingly acknowledging the issue’s importance and pledging to strengthen safeguards for forest tenure.
[T]he overriding picture in 2013 remained one of continuing resource grabs by local elites and corporations, aided by governments eager to give away land to investors on almost any terms. Land grabbing has spiked and impoverished countries desperate for an economic boost see forests as a commodity, not as their citizens’ home.
It is no coincidence the global slowdown in reform happened at the exact time that the financial value of land, water, and carbon skyrocketed.
There’s trillions of dollars sloshing around the world looking for a place to go, particularly with global demand for food expected to double by 2050.
Ed. Notes: Presently an owner or investor or lender can profit not so much from their labor and capital applied to land but from the competitive, rental value of the land itself. The latter profit stream — from land — typically is greater than the former stream from one’s work, manual or mental. As long as society allows that flow to be captured by ownership or investment or mortgage, then those forces will enrich themselves and deprive the rest of society.
Yet that value does not belong to any of those three. The worth of Earth, called “rent”, is how much one will pay annually to use some land. This sum is generated not by anyone owning but by society surrounding. Hence ground rent makes the perfect common wealth, morally and practically.
Once reformers win consensus on the right to rent, then land disputes will fade away into our dark past.