South Africa’s communist redistribution of farmland has been a colossal failure

In their 1848 publication Manifesto of the Communist Party, Karl Marx and Frederick Engels wrote:

“The theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.”

In 2009, the people of South Africa elected communist Jacob Zuma to be their new President.

In 2012, Reuters wrote about a black farmer named Koos Mthimkhulu, who was given farmland that the South African government had seized from white farmers.

But perhaps “given” is not really an accurate word, as Reuters reports:

But Mthimkhulu does not own the land, the government does. And in all likelihood, without ownership, he seems destined for the failure that has hit many like him who thought themselves among a fortunate few to get land: ‘I struggled for a long time and I can’t get a loan from banks because I can’t use the farm for security,’ he said in the local Sesotho language.

In 2012, the World Socialist Web Site reported:

“Of the land that has been redistributed to black farmers, 90 percent of farms are no longer productive. “

That’s a horrible track record!

The same article also states:

Some of the rural poor find employment in the mines. Much of their meager income is repatriated to the rural areas in order to sustain families living on the brink of starvation.

Those of us who understand the importance of property rights are not at all surprised by this. A communist government has taken over ownership of the farmland, so of course it’s a failure. What did they expect?

Well, since they’re communists, the people who run the South African government expected that it would be a huge success. They expected this, despite the failure of this same policy every time that it’s ever been tried.

Even just this past decade, communist Hugo Chavez, the President of Venezuela, said of his country’s seizures of farmland:

“The land is not private. It is the property of the state.”

Some of the Venezuelan farmland that had been productive while under private ownership is now idle under government ownership, and some of the farm equipment sits gathering dust. As a result, food production has fallen substantially. One farmer, referring to the government officials overseeing the land redistribution, stated, “These people know nothing about agriculture.”

Likewise, in Zimbabwe, President Robert Mugabe’s government seizures of farmland have resulted in a huge drop in food production. Prior to Mugabe’s seizure of the land, farmers had been using mechanized farming and irrigation equipment to grow huge amounts of food. The country was self sufficient in food production, and grew so much extra food for export that it was known as the “breadbasket of southern Africa.” After Mugabe seized the farmland, 90% of it sits idle, with no crops having been planted. The country now suffers a severe famine.

During the 20th century, government seizures of farmland were disastrous in in China, the Soviet Union, Ethiopia, and everywhere else that they were carried out. One would think that by the 21st century, people would have stopped expecting communist seizures of farmland to be a success. But for some reason, every new communist thinks that “it will be different this time.”

January 3, 2013. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , . Communism.

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