3.1.1-3: Brief Review of Modules One and Two
Module 3, Section 1.1-3
Brief Review of Modules One and Two
1.1 In Module One – “Land Rights and Poverty” – you learned that the ownership and control of land is highly concentrated worldwide and that the human right to land and natural resources is seldom to be found in human rights documents. Democratic institutions have not affirmed the human right to the planet as a birthright, even though land is a gift of nature and without it we cannot live. Module One drew your attention to the injustice of so many people living in poverty when there is land available from which they could make a simple livelihood – if only they had access.
1.2 Module Two –“ Land Price and the Law of Land Rent” – gave a deep historical context (albeit a European one) to our current land problem by describing how land, formerly viewed as a commons, was ruthlessly privatized and enclosed for the exclusive use of a few, resulting in the impoverishment of vast numbers of people. European colonization, which began as internal colonization, spread to vast reaches of the world as this same process of land and resource grabbing continued under the guise of “improvement” and “development.”
1.3 You learned that when land is treated as a commodity for profit and speculation, land prices eventually rise faster than wages of working people. Careful study of the “law of land rent” shows that this problem is the root cause of the maldistribution of wealth. Now just a few hundred multi-billionaires have more wealth than half the population of the planet. Those who have no or few capital or land assets must then borrow and pay interest for housing mortgages or pay high rents relative to wages for the rest of their lives.