The twentieth century was the period of many significant agrarian reforms in the countries of Latin America. In spite of the fact these reforms were developed in order to address the interests of peasants and landless rural population, in most cases the definite results of these reforms were not associated with the social and economic aspects, but reflected the peculiarities of the political situation in the countries.
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However, to have the opportunity to make certain conclusions about the phenomenon of agrarian reforms in Latin America, it is necessary to concentrate on its peculiar features. This paper will focus on the examination of the positive and negative results of the agrarian reforms for the rural population in the countries of Latin America because each process or phenomenon always has two sides of its representation.
Positive Effects of Agrarian Reforms
The period of agrarian reforms started in Latin America with the Mexican revolution which was developed at the beginning of the twentieth century and ceased with the progress of neoliberal policies in the territories. Providing agrarian reforms, governments were inclined to attract the rural masses and contribute to their political goals.
That is why the question of the agrarian reforms’ positive effects for all the social classes is rather controversial. The poor peasantry was not discussed as the potential force for the progress in the field of the countries’ economy and agriculture. All the accents were made on the capitalist farmers. Their activity was connected with the income distribution. Thus, the opportunities to invest in agriculture and to develop the land market appeared (Gwynne & Kay, 2004, p. 233).
However, the situation changed with the period of neoliberal policies when the governments began to accentuate the importance of privatization land taxes. Thus, the advantages which were acquired by the poor peasantry as a result of the agrarian reforms were incomparable with the benefits which were provided for the developed capitalist farmers.
Negative Effects of Agrarian Reforms
In spite of definite positive shifts in the sphere of agriculture, the majority of the rural population is not satisfied with the agrarian reforms because the main promises are not completed (Gwynne & Kay, 2004, p. 235). Poverty and landlessness remain the main issues for the rural population of the countries in Latin America.
From the social point, the agrarian reforms had not positive effects on the changes in the situation of unemployment and poverty in the territories. From the economic point, many agrarian reforms in the countries of Latin America can be considered as the causes for the development of the further more influential and even dramatic reforms which were the part of the political context.
Peasants remained to be the weakest class in the social system which were also negatively influenced by the implemented land titling projects (Gwynne & Kay, 2004, p. 233). Thus, the agrarian reform in Cuba was closely connected with the revolution and developed in the political field. Moreover, many results of the reforms were rather unexpected for the governors and that is why are difficult to be overcome effectively.
The agrarian reforms of the twentieth century in Latin America can be discussed from the point of their positive and negative effects on the rural population of the countries. The positive effects are connected with the development of the countries’ market, the change of the position according to the global market, and the role of the capitalist farmers. The negative effects are associated with the position of the peasants and the situation of poverty of the rural population which are more influential from the social point.
Gwynne, R. N. & Kay, C. (2004). Latin America transformed: Globalization and modernity. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.