Land Inequality Trends and Drivers | Land Portal

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Date of publication: 
April 2020
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© 2020 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article.

Land related inequality is a central component of the wider inequality that is one of the burning issues of our society today. It affects us all and directly determines the quality of life for billions of people who depend on land and related resources for their livelihoods. This paper explores land inequality based on a wide scoping of available information and identifies the main trends and their drivers. A wider conceptualization of what constitutes land inequality is suggested in response to shifts in how power is concentrated within the agri-food system. Land inequality is the difference in the quantity and value of land people have access to, the relative strengths of their land tenure rights, and about the appropriation of value derived from the land and its use. More data gathering and research needs to be done to better understand and monitor land inequality. Despite data limitations, what can be seen globally is a growing concentration of land in larger holdings leaving the majority of farmers, along with indigenous people and other communities, with less land. As importantly, elites and large corporations are appropriating more of the value within the agri-food sector, leaving farmers and workers with a shrinking proportion of the value produced. A framework is offered to explain the self-perpetuating nature of land inequalities that involve the mutually reinforcing concentration of both wealth and power. This is an unsustainable situation that can only be effectively addressed through challenging the fundamental drivers of accumulation by the few.

Authors and Publishers

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

Wegerif, C. A. Marc
Guereña, Arantxa


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