The role of investor countries remains poorly understood in the contemporary“land grab” debate. This book provides a comparative historical-institutionaland politico-economic account of “land grabbing” from a home country perspective.Specifically, the book investigates large-scale land acquisitions fromtwo investor countries: the UK and China. The regional focus is on Sub-Saharan Africa, a major target of such land-consuming investments since 2000.The assessment provides an empirical-analytical account of 40 Chinese andBritish “land grab” projects that occurred during 2000-2015. It also reviews the specific details of the home country’s industrial set-up, development challenges, ideological framing, political economy, and significant events critical to understanding what is happening.The book advances three arguments: Firstly, it shows that Chinese outwardforeign direct investment (OFDI) mentioned in the “land grab” literaturereflects the demands of the country’s resource-intensive and market-dependentmanufacturing industry, and is part of economic upgrading. In the case ofthe UK, large-scale land acquisitions occur in response to reforms in the hostcountries, to international and domestic energy and climate policies, and toreindustrialization efforts.Secondly, the comparative analysis reveals that in spite of their politico-economic differences, both countries share many similarities, such as the multiplicity of agencies, structures, and events involved, the guiding ideology in place, and the institutional framework supporting such OFDI projects. Notably, both countries’ governments consider outward foreign direct investments (of which “land grabs” form a part) as a strategic instrument to pursue particular national development ambitions. These projects allegedly “push the limits” of profitable business and/or social mobility in an increasingly globalized economy, and serve as a tool to “fight the limits” of national development trajectoriesthat cannot provide sufficient (and good) jobs, erode the national resourcebase, and are strongly vulnerable in their reliance on export markets.Thirdly, the book reviews the main features of late 19th century colonialand imperial practices, to be aware of important factors and dynamics in the evaluation of contemporary land acquisitions.
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Götz, A. (2019): Land Grabbing and Home Country Development. Chinese and British Land Acquisitions in Comparative Perspective, (Political Science ; 61), Bielefeld : transcript Verlag, 368 p.DOI: http://doi.org/10.14361/9783839442678
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