GUATEMALA’S MARKET-LED AGRARIAN REFORM: A FAILURE IN ITS OWN TERMS
Davidson, Melissa J 1988-
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Inequitable land ownership has been, and continues to be, an enormous problem confronting Guatemala. Since it was first perceived to impede ideals and conceptions of progress, the ways in which land concentration has been problematized have evolved and expanded to include a variety of concerns. Consequentially, a variety of attempts have been made throughout Guatemala’s history to distribute land more equitably. One of the most recent attempts has been through the implementation of a Market-Led Agrarian Reform (MLAR). This model of agrarian reform emerged in the 1980s out of criticisms of previous, state-led reforms and the growing neo-liberal rationale that resources are most efficiently and peacefully, distributed through market forces. Since the 1990s, the MLAR has gained prominence and has been widely implemented with the support of the World Bank (WB) in countries such as Brazil, Philippines, Colombia, and Guatemala. Although the inadequacy of the MLAR model and its objectives is well-documented, it is less clear to what extent the model has been able to achieve its own goals, however limited they may be. The following examines the outcomes of Guatemala’s MLAR in light of its justification and objectives and argues that the MLAR has largely failed in its own terms. Instead of improving access to land and alleviating poverty, the reform has resulted in massive beneficiary indebtedness, increased poverty, and the re-concentration of land.
DegreeMaster of Arts (M.A.)
CommitteeSmith-Norris, Martha; Horwitz, Simonne; Deonandan, Kalowatie
Copyright DateFebruary 2017
The World Bank