When land becomes a global financial asset: The MATOPIBA case in Brazil
by Philip Seufert, Maria Luisa Mendonça and Fabio Pitta
How can it be that finance centers in New York or Stockholm exercise control over remote lands in Northeastern Brazil? The process of transforming land into a global financial asset requires not only changes in policies and legislation, but also the use of information technologies. This article sheds light on the role of digital land information in the process of dispossessing rural communities from their land, which is subsequently put under the control of distant global finance actors. It draws on the authors’ assessment of the drivers and impacts of agribusiness expansion in the Brazilian region of MATOPIBA, which is part of the Cerrado, a biome consisting of savannahs and forests. The article discusses the challenges posed by information technologies in people’s struggles for their right to land and territory and concludes by identifying issues for further research.