An Overview of Global Transnational Land Trade: It is Legal but is it Ethical?


  • Ramesh Shrestha


Humans have an intrinsic relationship with land. Land, with its variety of natural resources, is the source of life on earth and cradle of human civilisation. Similarly, every State has an inherent relationship with land. People fight for their ancestral land. Countries go to war to protect its territorial integrity. Humans have advanced scientifically and technologically without limits. But a heavenly reality is that people’s link and countries' affiliation with land can never be erased. In recent years our capitalist economy is rising exponentially with global trade. Capitalism has put a monetary value on every object, and are being traded. In recent decades, the invisible hand of capitalism has extended its trade to land for transnational business with a low key approach. It is largely targeting arable lands and forestry resources in low- and mid-income countries for cultivating and mining benefits of the rich countries. The land once sold, people and countries lose ownership of their land for good. The transactions are all conducted legally but a larger question is, is it ethical? Its implications are that many of these countries have food security issues. Leaders everywhere talk about equity, equality and rights but seem mute on issues of land rights.