The right to land

The below is a reply to the above video. It got a little out of hand in terms of size …

One could argue, I believe reasonably, that under “natural” law, every man, woman, or couple of the two together (a family), have the right to own and use an equal share of the land as their own, for free and in perpetuity, only limited by the right of others to the same, and of the common people to travel and live on the land. This is “natural” because ① if we take a people away from a land, and bring them back to that land after it has become natural again (wild and open, without other humans in it), there is nothing more natural and common sense to do, than to give each a place to live, for free.

② If we observe the behavior of all natural creatures, we see in many if not most or all instances that every creature takes up a certain space for itself, sometimes as a group or as an individual. Even the animals who fight among each other, which are most if not all, create territories for themselves, which tend to harmonize with the size of the group.

③ Humans are now a farming species who produce tools made from raw materials in which almost all our survival, strength and culture is rooted and expressed, which is completely unique on Earth. There is nothing else like humanity on Earth, not even the always impressive ant species, whose technology is incomparably more primitive and their only tool is their own body. For our power of survival as a species relative to the other species on Earth, to lie in our creativity and co-operation rather than in the strength of our body as for probably all other creatures, means that our future and strength will be in the establishment of peace on Earth, because peace creates whereas war destroys. One could argue a bit back and forth about that statement (especially with people who possess stocks in the arms industry perhaps), however it should by now be clear how the wars on Earth are an imminent threat to survival of humanity on Earth, as the war technologies spiral out of control with the seemingly unlimited growth of our technological power. If peace is the way to survival, and war is the way to extinction for humanity, this implies we ought not to live as a dog pack where the most strong and ruthless rule by violence over the less fighting fit. For dogs (wolves) that may be the way to survival, it is no longer the way for humans. Our “natural” way of survival now lies in something else, which is the absence of war (peace). The act of farming is about giving one set of living creatures and plants a place which is suitable for them, and another creature or plant another place, to create one harmoneous whole: human society with crops, cattle, and humans. It seems natural for a well understood farming culture, to not only apply the principles of a living space for every crop, animal and even the wild itself, likewise to ourselves, so that every human has their land as their own, for free.

④ If peace is the way for humanity, then “justice”  — fair and reasonable laws and courts, based on principles of equal rights for all — are perhaps like the stones, bends and waymarks upon the way of peace. Such courts are the shield which prevent a disagreement to become violent, it prevents war from breaking out.
⑤ Conversely, we live in societies where the land is not free, almost nobody has their land for free or by right. Those who ended up with the best land, or most of it, have somehow been afforded the right to decide what will happen with more land than they have a “natural” right to (as defined above). This apparently seemed natural, or perhaps just profitable for those involved. However it is a grave mistake, which has born out of both its historical consequences, but it can also be somewhat easily understood by those who bother to understand how economics (trade) functions (what creates “value”). I’ll try to overthrow the opposing arguments.

Why should someone who already “owned” more land than his natural right as an equal to all others, decide what will happen with that land once he no longer wishes to use it ? Why should he be allowed to sell it to whom he pleases, thus furthermore ensuring the land will not be owned by those who have a natural free right on it ? It seems that the answer to this lies in the concept of domination. Someone who owns a lot of land, tends to be rich, and he dominates the others. Those who do not own their land as they should have, it simply doesn’t occur to them that the land is theirs. The one who buys it, thinks he has the right to do so, because he payed for it. Land is being treated as a commodity, which is a grave mistake. It is a hard mistake of logic, as wrong as 1+1=5. Unfortunately most people just don’t have the brains to understand it, it seems, which brands them as fools I’m sorry to say.

Value is created by work. The economic system balances prices, by allowing an increase in people producing a certain good (product or service), if the price of it rises. By the increase of people in that market, the price drops down. How much does the price drop down ? Until people say “I could enter that market, but I would have to work so and so hard there for such and so many money, that I rather try something else for now”. The whole price mechanism in an open and dynamic market, especially one in which all have their soil, depends on the perception / reality of the effort one would have to engage in. In other words: all value is effort. This is easily demonstrated by an example. How much would 10 liter of fresh river water cost in the desert, and how much would it cost on the river bank ? The difference in price is the effort it takes to “produce” it. All value is in effort. Why does breathing air cost nothing and nobody bothers to sell it, while it is arguably the most valuable good on Earth since the absence thereof produces death quickly ? Because the effort to “produce” a breath of air for the consumer thereof, is as easy as taking the air in around them, and there is nobody who can match such a low (cheap) effort. Breathing air however suddenly gains market value, there where breathing is difficult or otherwise impossible. All value is effort. Land is not the product of human effort.

Land is not the product of human effort.

Land does not function in a market. You cannot produce more of it, according to market demand (and not even in the Netherlands does the argument that you could stack up, as I write this from below sea level, because the essence of it is “the place”, the value thereof is basically incalculable). Land belongs in a system of justice, which produces peace for equal human beings in a dynamic free and open market, rather than a dog eat dog pyramidal society of violence, domination and centralization of all power. This centralization of power which we see ever clearer today, seems to be rooted in this great failure of all of our countries to treat land as a commodity. It is a problem which spirals out of control, because those who have too much will gain more thanks to it, and those who have little will be squeezed out of it over time. The result is the Feudal system, slavery to a tiny clique of usually wicked great land owners.

The root of the mistake has been, so to say, to deny the next generation who came into the new land the right to their own land by freedom and right, equal to the land of their peers in that generation. The mistake has been to fixate land ownership as too powerful a right to an individual in one sense, as if he could do with it as he pleased and assemble more land at will, and the result of this misunderstanding about how land works has been that this too great a right then turned around and created the too little a right for the great many, who either had too little or none at all. They became the landless serfs, who build the palaces for the few who owned The World. One can argue that under a “natural” concept of law, the land as such, the Sovereignty over the land, rests with the people at large, because only the people at large can conquer lands. An individual cannot conquer land, at least not from another Nation. An individual is not Sovereign (misuse of the word Sovereign seems to spread, also in above video; Sovereignty means “you can do whatever you please, break any law and principle without any consequences”). An individual can be free under reasonable and fair law, especially if they have their land (essential economic freedom), but a people at large are the Sovereign, who should establish laws and reasonable limits on personal freedom (such as: neither steal nor murder). The common people as a group, are the Sovereign by natural law, because it is the force of the common people who cannot be resisted by anyone, and “anyone” tends to be a small part of a greater people and thereby subject to their power. No Government or military is going to be able to resist the power of the overwhelming majority of their own Nation. The land ultimately falls under the Sovereignty of the entire Nation. To say there are individual rights to land which are above the Sovereignty of the population at large, is an artificial construct, and thereby one could argue it does not fit a concept of “natural law”, or does not fit it all too well. As with everything, reasonable and fair limits can and should be imposed by the Sovereignty over the land, which rests with the people at large who live there (if we can finally agree on something, that is ;-).

The point of this probably far too long story (sorry), is that the problem we face at the root, may well lie in the absence of this economic right from our cultures, leading to slowly creeping centralization of all economic wealth and power, until the centralized economic power becomes so great as to overwhelm even the law, the State and finally the people. I think we are more or less seeing the final chapters of this occuring, which is not the first time. See the Feudal system and the middle ages, which collapsed and caused a form of a reset in their own right. That reset of sorts was as explicit as the wars of our people against the monestaries and nobility, whose lands where taken and then resold to many small farmers. This mistake at the close of the middle ages more or less, set the table for what is occuring now centuries later: all land is being centralized. Other Nations than the Netherlands may have seen different mechanisms at play, with similar results.

I would like to argue that we get things right from now on, that we choose peace and not war, justice rather than centralization of wealth and ownership, a free and open market of equals under the law. The change into a new system should be done with the utmost of care, involving simulations and experiments on what kind of system we would like to use. Since I already have given it some thought at least, one interesting method is to give the right to those now using the land to find people from whom they can subsequently rent the amount of land which is not their right (anymore), and to in general afford the right to the current user of a rented land (rented from an individual that is, not from the Government) to find a new owner of that land if the one he is renting it from wishes to change the terms of the contract. This sounds quite strange at first, I can imagine, however it seems to me that this can work. You have to think it through carefully, and I’m not going to put all the details here because this is already becoming much too long. The benefit of such a system is that it leaves as much as can be of the current economy going and doing their thing, so that the economic shock is lessened, without compromizing people’s natural right to their land any longer.

If “natural law” is to be our form of Justice, than I submit the above for common ratification (Thanks for reading! I did try to make a formal system of law (link) for the freedom of land on my completely free website.)

P.S. Isn’t Bill Gates a big trouble maker in society ? He certainly always was in the computing industry. Now he is said to own most of the farm land in his home Empire. What is wrong with that picture, what is wrong with the system of land ownership in that Empire ? Everything is wrong, becoming worse and more opressive by the decade. The whole thing is producing a terror. They call it freedom ! Do they know what freedom is ? Can you dig the soil and sell your work, are you free to do so ? Seriously and on the scale of a life, rather than in a pot behind the window or a small strip up to the road, either rented or under a heavy mortgage claim.

Almost nobody has such freedom, and I think that this lack of freedom produces a population which is dumbed down, no longer growing much or at all. They just fester in life, following orders day to day, and at the end of their lives, many end up as toothless fools with little advice or wisdom to offer, little guidance to offer in terms of the life of a Nation, or the life of a human. Who goes to the old people home to get lessons in wisdom, when was the last time our society saught out the old and frail to listen to them. You won’t get much there, next to nothing. A few may have some wisdom to share, but in the main those of old age are just old, and that’s that. What can you learn from a life as someone else’s tool ? Is that life, following orders, only becoming less and less ? I hope we can do a little better. Our old people should have the dignity their rich and creative lives should have afforded them, with guidance to share with the young and often foolish, warnings for the politicians about mistakes already having been made, shortsighted selfish motives driving careless policies which could hurt their grandchildren in their old age.

It may seem to be a challenge to have a free life. In the end, a life as a slave is a punishment few like to endure. Shouldn’t life be a challenge, if you are to go away from here as better, improved or somehow wiser than the way you came ? The fear of freedom seems to be a factor in keeping this great error in land ownership alive. Perhaps the near future will teach the people what is more to fear: slavery or freedom, going along with the masses, or fighting against the tyrants. While Justice is satisfied with the scales in a balance, the masters of slaves are never satisfied for long. Slavery is war, denial of our land is slavery, denying each other the right to land is unnatural, it goes against the science of economics, and it has been a proven historical failure.

Don’t get sucked into the usual straw-man arguments, as if owning land by right implies you will be a subsistance farmer living in a hole in the ground. It mean the precise opposite in fact, especially if technology becomes more and more powerful. Why are the masses becoming redundant to economic production, in waves since the mechanization of agriculture, the industrialization and now the robotization in the factories ? Because they do not own the root of the economic process, and that root is land.

Land is the root

P.P.S. Is land ownership versus Common Law (Corona crisis) a different topic: nope. Land centralization is at the root of economic power centralization, and that is what it is all about. Land centralization leads to Capital (money) centralization leads to debt centralization (debt games) leads to the merger of corporations and the State, leads to political power centralization … It is all one thing, and the root is the soil you stand on, but you don’t see it. People think the problem is far away, and while they think it, their feet touch the ground, and they don’t realize what that means. The problem and the solution are so close to you, that you don’t seem to be able to focus on it.

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