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Turning Land into Capital, Turning People into Labour: Primitive Accumulation and the Arrival of Large-Scale Economic Land Concessions in the Lao People's Democratic Republic.

In recent years the government of Laos has provided many foreign investors with large-scale economic land concessions to develop plantations. These concessions have resulted in significant alterations of landscapes and ecological processes, greatly reduced local access to resources through enclosing common areas, and have ultimately led to massive changes in the livelihoods of large numbers of mainly indigenous peoples living near these concessions. Many have lost their agricultural and forest lands, or conditions of production, making it difficult to maintain their former semi-subsistence livelihoods, and thus compelling many to take up employment on the same plantations that displaced them, despite frequently having to work for low wages and under poor conditions. Using two case studies involving large economic land concessions in southern Laos, the author argue that applying the theoretical concept of primitive accumulation is useful for better understanding the political processes and motivations of government officials, including justifications for the rural dispossession that is occurring in a nominally ‘socialist’ country.

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Additional Info

Field Value
Document type Reports, journal articles, and research papers (including theses and dissertations)
Language of document
  • English
Short title (alternative/varying form of title) Turning Land into Capital, Turning People into Labour.
  • Economic land concessions and plantations
  • Ethnic minorities and indigenous people
  • Land
  • Livelihood rights
Geographic area (spatial range)
  • Lao People's Democratic Republic
Copyright Yes
Access and use constraints

The author has given permission to ODM to redistribute this article under our copyright and licensing agreement.

Version / Edition 1.0
License CC-BY-4.0

Ian G. Baird University of Wisconsin-Madison

Author (individual) Ian G. Baird
Publisher New Proposals: Journal of Marxism and Interdisciplinary Inquiry.
Publication date 2011
Pagination 17
General note

Vol. 5, No. 1. Page 10-26

Date uploaded June 27, 2016, 08:09 (UTC)
Date modified December 9, 2018, 08:34 (UTC)