This paper explains how global finance has transformed land and nature into financial assets, driving land grabbing, violence and environmental destruction. It is intended to stimulate a collective, action-oriented reflection among Land and Territory Working Group of the International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty (IPC), as well as other social movements and CSOs about how to oppose and roll back the increasing power of global finance.
Some highlights of the paper include:
Finance capitalism has put a price tag on land and natural resources: The estimated value of the global real estate market is $217 trillion, making land and housing a key target for financial actors.
Banks, funds, asset management companies and ultra-rich individuals use trillions of dollars gambling with land and other natural resources to make a profit. They operate through a small number of tax havens and offshore financial centers to avoid regulation and taxation.
As more than 20 examples contained in the report show, the extraction of wealth from natural resources happens through a broad range of mechanisms, ranging from the expansion of agricultural monocultures to intensive aquaculture, infrastructure projects, real estate development, mining and carbon markets. The common feature is the dispossession of local people and environmental destruction.
Big finance is a key driver of climate change: the current rush for land is fueling deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions at the same time as market-based mitigation schemes provide new investment opportunities, as illustrated by countries like Brazil and Indonesia.
Big data and digital technologies play a key role in opening up new markets and investment opportunities for the global elites and finance firms like BlackRock.
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