Different systems of land tenure in Ethiopia under Haile Selassie and their history are explained and their economic and social consequences analysed. The centralisation and commercialisation of the economy under Haile Selassie leads to increasing pressures on peasants and kindles growing peasant discontent and protest. The increasing dispossession of peasants inspires the radical opposition of the student movement. The radical land reform of 1975 is explained as a consequence of the suppressed status of peasants and as a genuine liberation. Sadly, it was rather soon brought back under the control of the central authorities which needed access to the resources of the peasants to finance their militarisation of society.

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