Thursday, July 01, 2010

Agri Econ 5: Land Reform Without Timetable is Wrong

A number of people commented on the new Philippine President's inauguration address that he did not mention about land reform, that land reform is mandatory for social and economic development.

I countered that land reform with no timetable is junk. Land reform in the Philippines was first initiated by the government in the 60s. Then a "new" land reform was implemented in the early 70s during the Martial Law period. Then another "new" land reform was implemented in 1988 when the new government took over from the dictatorship that ruled the country for 20 years.

The 1988 land/agrarian reform law, or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL) has a timetable, that land redistribution should be over by 1998. By 1998, under another administration, the law was extended to end by 2008. By 2008, another extension was made. There is only extension to an extension.

The land socialists do not realize it. Try developing even 10 hectares of idle and grassland into a productive fruit orchard. After several years, when the land has become productive and you begin harvesting the fruits to recoup your effort, time and money, some bureaucrats from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) will come to say, "we will redistribute your land to landless workers." It happened to a number of my friends. That is why land reform without timetable is formula for uncertainty. Land reform should have final-final timetable, zero extension.

Land socialists think it is a crime to own an agricultural land even 5 or 10 hectares out of their hard work and years of savings. That is why they believe that the government should confiscate those lands and give to the landless. They really believe that it is wrong and a crime to own some productive "means of production."

Japan, Korea and Taiwan land reform was successful because it was done in one sweep. Just a few years and it's over. Not 30 or 50 years as in the case of the Philippines, and still no real timetable.

See also:
Agri Econ 1: Food Prices and Government, April 13, 2008
Agri Econ 2: Rice Laissez Faire vs. Subsidies, May 06, 2008
Agri Econ 3: Dr. Samran Sombatpanit and WASWC, July 03, 2008 
Agri Econ 4: Government Agricultural Interventions, October 21, 2008

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