Land Reform?

Professor Wolff, I enjoyed your discussion of the real estate business. I would be interested to hear you discuss the radical concept of a government granting a Right of landholding to each citizen or family. There could be different categories for rural and urban land, and all the parcels could be relatively small. Is this or something like it being done anywhere, or has it? Also, I'm interested in the concept of limiting land ownership. If you could only cut down trees and drill oil on the lands you have to live on, then you're less likely to cut those trees and dump that oil in the river, no? What if we put limits on land ownership of individuals, and companies? Have any approaches like this been tried?

Official response from submitted

All of these measures have been tried in history. The European transition from feudalism to capitalism entailed all sorts of government-enforced entitlements to land for individuals/families varying from place to place and time to time. In the Soviet revolution of 1917, Lenin et al distributed land to the Russian peasants in small individual lots which even Stalin later had to enable to endure inside collective and state farms. Land reforms of all sorts in modern Asia, Latin America and Africa have entitled citizens to own land often in small individual holdings. Political struggles determined whether, how, and for how long original land grants survived; likewise "modern capitalist market forces" also shaped those outcomes.

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  • Richard Wolff
    responded with submitted 2016-12-05 12:30:52 -0500
  • Joshua Chambers
    published this page in Ask Prof. Wolff 2016-12-04 18:13:21 -0500