Have land reform movements ever managed to redistribute wealth, to encourage economic development, to improve standards of living, to ensure political stability? This book answers in the negative. Drawing upon land reform movements over twenty-six centuries of history, Tuma develops a hypothesis about land tenure reform that should enable other scholars to evaluate the success of past reform movements and to see the trends of present and future ones more clearly. In the first part of the study, a general definition of land tenure reform is advanced. Starting with the ordinary meaning of reform as "a redistribution of land to benefit the small farmer or landless agricultural worker," this definition is modified so as to take into account various forms of tenure of title to land, patterns of cultivation, terms of holding, and scale of operation. The middle section of the book presents a comparative study of different types of land reform movements. Eight major "case histories" are considered--the Greek reforms of Solon and Pisistratus in the sixth century B.C.; the Roman reforms of the Gracchi in the second century B.C.; the English tenure changes covering the commutations of the Middle Ages, and the enclosures of the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries; the reforms accompanying the French Revolution; the three Russian reforms: the emancipation of 1861, the Stolypin reforms of 1906 - 1911, and the Soviet reform beginning in 1917; the Mexican reform after the 1910 revolution; the Japanese reform after the Second World War; and the Egyptian reform starting in 1952. In sum, the book relates the land reform movements of past centuries to those now in progress in underdeveloped countries. It argues that the land reforms of the last two decades have dealt with symptoms rather than causes, have affected only a small percentage of either the population or the cultivable area, and warns that even if high concentrations of the land-holdings are broken down, reconcentration is likely to recur unless strong preventive measures are taken. This title is part of UC Press's Voices Revived program, which commemorates University of California Press's mission to seek out and cultivate the brightest minds and give them voice, reach, and impact. Drawing on a backlist dating to 1893, Voices Revived makes high-quality, peer-reviewed scholarship accessible once again using print-on-demand technology. This title was originally published in 1965.
Twenty-Six Centuries of Agrarian Reform A Comparative Analysis
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