Complex legacy of Latin America & apos;s agrarian reform

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Abstract

With the spread of neo-liberal policies throughout Latin America in recent years it is argued that the era of agrarian reforms which started with the Mexican revolution at the beginning of this century has come to a close in the continent. It is thus opportune to attempt a general overview of the causes and consequences of the agrarian reforms which were implemented in most countries of the region. The agrarian reforms are evaluated in terms of their impact on agricultural production, income distribution, employment, poverty, gender relations as well as from a social and political perspective. Governments have often underestimated the complexities of transforming the land tenure structure. They have also misjudged the complex dynamic processes set in motion by the agrarian reform which frequently had unexpected and unintended consequences. Agrarian reforms often provoked dramatic counter-reforms and neo-reforms following the social and political struggles they unleashed. Thus the outcome of Latin America's agrarian reform has been varied and has given rise to a more complex and fluid agrarian system. While initially some agrarian reforms were intended for the benefit of the peasantry, the predominant outcome has favoured the development of capitalist farming. The recent shift to neo-liberal economic policies as well as land policies has given an additional impetus to capitalist farming while further marginalising peasant farming.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationDen Haag
PublisherInternational Institute of Social Studies (ISS)
Number of pages34
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1998

Publication series

SeriesISS working papers. General series
Number268
ISSN0921-0210

Series

  • ISS Working Paper-General Series

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