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This chapter explores the impacts of recent land reforms on ethnicity and ethnic mobilisation. It examines the ways in which contemporary land reforms address issues of inclusive development and attempt to ameliorate ethnic conflicts or exacerbate ethnic tensions through the intended and unforeseen consequences of policies and policy assumptions. It also examines the impacts of the increasing commodification and scarcity of land on land conflicts. It first examines the framing and rational basis of land administrative reform in the contemporary period, the nature of reforms carried out in specific nations, and the impact of these reforms on rural society. It then identifies the structural relations that generates ethnic conflicts over land and illuminates this by drawing upon a number of case studies in the literature. This is placed within a historical framework, which seeks to contextualise contemporary land policies within the transformation of African societies and the underlying dilemmas that confront land reform.
This chapter considers whether there is a trade-off between growth and equality, as economists sometimes assert, differentiating between vertical inequality (among individuals) and horizontal inequality (among groups). Most evidence challenges the supposed trade-off, suggesting greater equality increases growth, especially sustained growth. Inequality among individuals tends to limit human resources, while inequality among groups can lead to violent conflict, and both constrain growth. Greater equality also supports other desirable objectives, including better nutrition, less crime, and better health. The impact of growth on equality is analysed. This depends on how far earnings are spread via employment; and the redistributionary effects of tax and government expenditure. Labour-intensive activities tend to improve distribution, while capital-intensive ones, heavy reliance on minerals for exports and rising skill requirements tend to worsen it. For horizontal inequality, the impact of growth varies according to group location, economic specialization and policies, illustrated by the experience of Ghana, Peru, Malaysia and Northern Ireland. The chapter surveys policies likely to improve vertical and horizontal distribution, with examples drawn from many countries. Finally, the chapter considers the political conditions needed to support equalising policies.
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