The principal regions Foweraker covers include the northern Amazon state of Para, the Mato Grosso and the western half of Parana in the south. Here poor peasants arrive in search of farmland. But because of a confusion over land titles, some dating back to the colonial period, the peasants' claims are contested by powerful businessmen and farmers, particularly after the peasants have cleared the land and increased its value. The conflict leads to violence. Backed by the state, the security forces and private guns-for-hire, big capital is able to acquire a monopoly of land and a surplus of cheap peasant labor, a situation which, in this essentially Marxist analysis, reflects the social and economic structure of the rest of Brazil.