The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Imperialism and Anti-Imperialism

Living Edition
| Editors: Immanuel Ness, Zak Cope

Agriculture from Imperialism to Neoliberalism

Living reference work entry



World agriculture is marked by extreme imbalances that are among the most durable economic legacies of European imperialism. Many of the world’s poorest countries in the tropics are net food importers despite having large shares of their labor force engaged in agriculture and large amounts of their best arable land devoted to agro-export commodities. This commodity dependence has deep roots in waves of dispossession, the establishment of plantations, and the subjugation of peasantries to increasing competitive pressures at the same time as they were progressively marginalized in landscapes. On the other hand, many of the world’s wealthiest countries, including Europe and other temperate regions with heavy European settlement, supply a large share of all agricultural exports despite having extremely small shares of their labor force engaged in...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.GeographyThe University of Western OntarioLondonCanada