The Peasant Betrayed: Agriculture and Land Reform in the Third World

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The Peasant Betrayed: Agriculture and Land Reform in the Third World

By John P. Powelson and Richard Stock
Oelgeschlager (in association with the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy), 1987
302 pp.
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Professor Powelson has long been an independent-minded, close student of developing countries who tends to come up with documented analyses rather different from those of other people. This time, with the help of studies of 16 countries, he argues that land reform, often undertaken with the best intentions, has mostly been used to exploit peasants. They gain title to the land, but government offices retain control over farming and pricing systems, extract resources from the peasants and pass them to the government where they are often dissipated. The only solution, says Powelson, is for peasants to have enough power and technical know-how to bring about land reform on their own terms and not from the top down.

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