Summary of "Land Reform and Democratic Development"

Summary of

Land Reform and Democratic Development

By Roy L. Prosterman and Jeffrey M. Riedinger

Summary written by T.A. O'Lonergan, Conflict Research Consortium

Citation: Land Reform and Democratic Development, Roy L. Prosterman and Jeffrey M. Riedinger, (Maryland: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987), 303 pp.

Land Reform and Democratic Development is an argument for the programs and policies proposed by the authors which, they assert, would reduce both world hunger and world population within a generation.

Land Reform and Democratic Development will be of interest to those who seek a perspective on land reform and population control which could avert violent confrontations of people in the Third World. The work is divided into three parts, the first of which examines the roots of development. The link between landlessness and revolution and the relationship among tenure, equity and productivity are explored. The third chapter addresses approaches for classifying countries as developed, under developed or undeveloped are examined. The first approach discussed is the Physical Quality of Life Index (PQLI), followed by the Birth-Death-Based Modernization Index (BDMI). This later includes the infant mortality rate (IMR) and the crude birth rate (CBR). The final chapter, in this first part, examines four paths to development. These paths are represented by models: the family-farm model, the collective model, the populist model, and the incomes model (non-agricultural),

Part two considers the relationship between crisis and development with an examination of: the pursuit of the family farm in South Vietnam, and land reform in El Salvador. The final part is a prescription for future development. The authors offer some guiding principles for land reform. They present development programs which they assert to be compatible with and complimentary to their proposals. The final chapter proposes universalizing a family-farm model as the preferred path to development.

Land Reform and Democratic Development is an extended argument for land reform as a necessary condition for democratic development. The work is systematically approached and logically presented. The author's argument is sound.