Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Accumulation by dispossession

Financial Times:

One little-recognised aspect of the rural [China] story is the monetisation of agricultural land – a trend with the potential transformational force to rival the privatisation of the nation’s housing stock from the late 1990s.

The "monetization" of agricultural land -- a trend with the potential transformational force to leave your ass without any land, especially when your best practical options are to "sell" or to "borrow against." Americans know too well how badly the scenario can turn out; one can only imagine the challenges faced by rural Chinese.

This is a good example of what David Harvey calls "accumulation by dispossession," the transfer of productive public assets into the private sphere.  For Marx, the process was central to making people dependent on wage-work for survival, since they were "alienated" from the means of their own self-sufficiency -- the means of production.


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