I want to buy me some land..

“I want to buy me some land..”. This a continuous joke between myself and good friend of mine. Say this is South Texan accent and you got the gist of it!

In South Africa however, land is huge issue. Generations of Africans have had the land take away from them through Apartheid or feel the cost of land now is prohibitively high as economic rents take advantage of premium land close to highly developed areas. Much like playing the game of monopoly, the lucky incumbents exploit their position and slowly annex smaller or less valuable properties from the other players.

This argument has come to head now with the still leading political party in South Africa arguing that Land with compensation is the way forward. The trajectory seems to be focused on the African or black perceptive on this issue as this the dominant population and the one where the pain is most felt. Unfortunately there is also a growing disenfranchised white population which I have even experience first hand here in Brits (South Africa).

Now I can see through the fool hardiness of this argument because I no longer own land and feel that land should not be owned to anyone. This is because my inclination to feel we should live our lives rather as free spirits much like the Red Indians of America and take lessons from their respect for nature. Nevertheless let me focus on the current issue.

Let me first start with the point that the Chinese are not allowed to own land. There are many limitations of owning land in China because of the problems with high populations. So land access must be gained though a form of leasehold: https://www.quora.com/Can-I-own-land-in-China.

I am not an expert on the Chinese real estate market, but let me digress the main principles of mankind relationship to land that need to managed under a system of non-ownership:

  • Buy and selling of land should not be allowed as this will result in economic rents.
  • Land licensing should be democratically controlled.
  • There should be easy to use smart contracts do that voters can institute the desired land contract with the appointed user.
  • There should be a maximum time period that any user or licensee has to the land.
  • Ongoing versus once-off usage of land must be licensed differently i.e. mining is a once of use of the land whereas farming or residency can be ongoing.
  • All rents or license received should form part of a basic income to paid out to mankind.
  • Fair enough, but there is a still an issue around the land that needs to be repatriated.

    Some answers on this issue:

  • Economic rents should not be compensated – people are arguing that market value should be paid for land repatriated. I disagree. The cost should be (plus perhaps an interest factor for currency devaluation) refunded and all previous economic rents paid to previous sellers deemed as illegal.
  • Improvements to land can be negotiated. For example if a tea farm was developed on the land, this can be reimbursed but on this condition that the continued productivity of the land is insured or assured.
  • The land could be re-leased to the existing users of land but based on a reasonable lease.
  • Anyway, I do hope you find this article interesting. Please contact me if you would like to discuss further.

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    March 6, 2018