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4. LAND OWNERSHIP AND VALUES

The situation of land ownership was not much different than past history showed, because only a comparatively small proportion of the people owned the majority of the sites on the land. However, what were once regarded as noble, responsible and land-sharing families now became landed monopolists whose domination of large country estates provided opportunities for work for only a small proportion of the population, who as servants and field workers lived close by.

The majority of the workers who were landless, lived in the cities and they were (and still are) dependent on the land owners for the opportunities to earn a living from access to the urban land (and to the invested buildings and manufacturing tools that these owner/capitalists provided). With town development, the land in these regions became very much more productive than in the rural sites. This was due to the concentration of the local population, local investment in the infrastructure of roads, sewers, electrical services, public health facilities, schools and higher education places of learning, emergency services etc. Although the value and higher productivity of this part of the land was due to what the community had provided in tax and kind, the benefit of this greater productivity went to those who had become the land owners. Those land owners who allowed tenants the right of access to their holdings were able to collect the associated ground-rent. In common with other supply variables in our society, the amount of this rent depends on the degree of competition for having the access rights. The forces of supply and demand for access to a site determine the amount of rent that may be collected for its use. In fact the amount of ground-rent is a measure of the site's potential productivity and of its value.

The situation becomes adverse to the working population due to the way that cities tend to grow and the outlaying sites need to be developed. Any land owner who is fortunate enough to have a site in this region will gain greatly from its increase in value. In fact the way this land is managed allows capitalists who seek profitable investments to speculate in the land values. With the help of the banks, who are always willing to lend money when it is clearly backed by something of reliable value, a land owner may buy a site near to a town and hold onto it until the price rises, due to development plans. Corrupt selling of news of the plans for development regions, allows a large proportion of municipal employees to gain from this kind of speculation too, and so the development money from taxation drives many kinds of profit making.

As far as the worker is concerned, land that is being speculated in will mostly remain unused and consequently the opportunities for earning due to the work needed and the closer proximity of living near to the opportunities are lost. It is this immoral situation which is resulting in the reduction in growth and progress of our society, for if more land became available and its cost were lower, then the expenses in production of consumer goods would fall and there would be greater demand for goods, more employment and less poverty.

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