Towards the Next Century

The above – abridged – review of the changes in man – land relations that have taken place during the last 50 years presents us with a tool to look ahead at the near future. History, it is true, does not deliver blueprints revealing future developments, but one can draw some conclusions with respect to the likely requirements in the future.

First, changes in man – land relations will continue to take place, and the need to adjust to them will increase in speed because the changes in the conditions will be more rapid. Whereas in some countries old-fashioned agrarian reforms are still necessary, the higher level of the general social and economic development in many countries calls for measures that are more highly sophisticated that can be achieved only by small steps in structural policy. This has to take into consideration:

  • the regional differences within the countries themselves;
  • the different interests and conditions of the various population groups within the countries;
  • the increasing socio-economic changes that can be anticipated with respect to the future, including technological impacts;
  • the increasing urbanization and rural – urban interlacing;
  • the increasing occupational and regional mobility of the population;
  • the society and youth’s decreasing interest in agriculture; and
  • the need to harmonize production, living and the ecology.

This requires

  • the incorporation of man – land problems in the general social and economic development policy;
  • an expansion in policy from land-tenure policy to a broader resource-tenure policy;
  • making such an approach manageable so that it will be possible to implement such a rural-development policy in a regional development approach;
  • aiming at the greatest possible flexibility in man – land relations because there is no ideal land tenure system, but only one in line with the current economic, social, political and technological requirements, and whenever these change, the relations of man to land will also have to change.



Metamorphosis in Man-Land Relations,
changes in Issues, Priorities and Viewpoints
Proceedings of International Seminar on Land Policy and Economic Development, Taoyuan, Taiwan 1999, 20 - 46.