2.4.1-3: The Problem of Treating Land as a Market Commodity

Module 2, Section 4.1-3

The Problem of Treating Land as a Market Commodity

4.1 When both land and people’s labour become market commodities, the only way for most people to gain access to land is to pay for it with cash. But land is in limited supply. The “market” cannot create more land. The competition for land combined with the fact that it is now treated as a commodity for speculation and profit further drives up the price.

4.2 While efficiencies in production create a plethora of physical products, wages do not keep up with the costs of basic necessities when there is no longer free access to land from which to make a living. People must pay an ever greater amount of money to pay the price to either purchase – with interest - or rent land and shelter. Lower income people are being crushed. Millions are homeless, even in “rich” countries. Many well-educated middle class people are having a difficult time keeping up, too.

4.3 Students in Nicaragua who have been studying this problem made a simple chart of housing price escalation over a 14 year period. Here is their chart: