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Land Reform as Social Justice: The Case of South Africa
Mercatus Center Working Paper (2009)
  • Karol C. Boudreaux
In his book Law, Legislation and Liberty, F.A. Hayek takes the concept of social justice to task, but argues that when governments (or other organizations) violate people’s rights by imposing discriminatory laws intervention may be necessary to correct the situation. How might such guidance shape real-world policy? As a result of a very long history of discriminatory legislation, black South Africans suffered substantial harms at the hands of past governments. Following the political transition in 1994, the new government implemented land reforms policies designed, in part, to satisfy calls for social justice. This article examines these policies and suggests that a limited land reform programme may, in this case, have been called for. It also suggests that the private sector is helping to meet the goals of the government’s land reform program(to diversify land ownership patterns, to encourage economic growth and promote rural economic development). While critics argue that the market is incapable of promoting land reform, this article points to evidence to the contrary.
  • South Africa,
  • land reform,
  • redistribution,
  • social justice,
  • Hayek,
  • apartheid,
  • restitution,
  • economic growth,
  • equality
Publication Date
October, 2009
Citation Information
Karol C. Boudreaux. "Land Reform as Social Justice: The Case of South Africa" Mercatus Center Working Paper Vol. 09 Iss. 37 (2009)
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