Brazil has recently undergone a shift from economic growth to recession, as well as from a left-wing, neo-developmentalist politics to one on the far-right, authoritarian and economically ultraliberal. Such an economic and political U-turn touched upon the countryside in contrasting ways. This paper reflects on the politics of the past. It suggests that the road to regression was paved during the tenure of the Worker’s Party (PT), when politics were considered both popular and progressive. And it was under the PT’s rule when the ‘rural world’ mattered the most for politics.
The 2016 death of J. Jayalalithaa, chief minister of Tamil Nadu and head of the ruling party, destabilised a two-party dominated system of elections. How has this led to the political turmoil and new kind of populism that has arisen in the state since?
As Brazil and China become the world’s leading exporter and importer of soybeans respectively, Chinese companies have sought investments in Brazil to wrest greater control over the flows and profits of the international soybean trade from North Atlantic-based transnational companies. While some promote these as positive “South-South cooperation”, many others condemn them as neocolonial “land grabs” that displace peasants, cause environmental degradation, and deindustrialize the Brazilian economy.
At the turn of the 21st century, farmland was still considered an investment backwater by most of the financial sector. Although some insurance companies have had farmland holdings for years, most financial investors found farmland, and agricultural investment in general, unappealing compared to the much higher returns to be made in financial markets.
In February 2012 Economic Land Concessions granted to private companies in Cambodia totalled 2,033,664 ha., and increased to 2,289,490 ha. by June 2013, covering 63 per cent of the country’s arable land. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows to Cambodia grew by 73 per cent from 2011 to 2012. The country, together with Myanmar and Vietnam, is referred to as one of the ‘emerging bright spots of the subregion’.
How does the rise of Islamic populism in Indonesia signal a return of fascist ideologies and practices that use nationalism and religion as political instruments to clear a new pathway for capital accumulation?