Wednesday, October 06, 2010

What Follows the Consolidation of Landholding? (Answer Below)

Kedrosky reports on a major land deal--apparently another landowner trying to increase his already-large personal holdings.  It's an important story in its own right, but he might have noted the one seemingly inevitable consequence of latafundia--banditry.  In his bravura short essay on the subject, E. P. Hobsbawm showed how the bandit is  more or less inevitable consequence of a certain social order--i.e., huge landholdings, a rentier class, a population decentralized and unsophisticated, if not downright ignorant.  "Banditry" is one way of understanding what we're witnessing along the Mexican border, in a society long afflicted with this sort of disconnect.  I should think it only a matter of time--though perhaps a longtime--before land consolidation leads to the same sort of phenomenon in the United States.

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