The Price of Land
This chapter examines the economic, social, and ecological consequences of a transformative process that is increasingly characterized by the comprehensive financialization of land, nature, and the environment. It discusses the comprehensive urge to quantify soil has shifted the focus from productive properties of land to speculative functions. The price of land in Johann Heinrich von Thunen’s spatial theory derived from a combination of heterogeneous product types on homogeneous soil is based purely on the logistic utility value of the location. Land is increasingly valued in terms of its financial surplus potential, which can be derived from exogenous price changes. The chapter traces a far-reaching process of societal transformation that has led us from classical spatial theory of earlier agricultural economies to changes brought about by industrialization and modern financialization of land. Land grabbing on a great scale, such as was perpetrated in England, is the first step in creating a field for the establishment of agriculture on a great scale.