Harvard's land grabs in Brazil are a disaster for communities and a warning to speculators
The world is spiralling into another profound economic crisis. The last one a decade ago, which was caused by a collapse of the financial sector, triggered a global rush for farmland, as pension funds, private equity boutiques and billionaires sought refuge from tanking stock markets by speculating in so-called natural resource assets. Big players like the US pension fund manager TIAA2 and Sweden's national pension plan shifted hundreds of millions of dollars into new farmland funds. But of the many financial houses suddenly looking for farmland, none was more aggressive than Harvard University's US$40 billion endowment fund.