On Liberty and Earth Ownerhip

Investors like Blackrock are rapidly buying up the earth. Is it inevitable that our children will never own a house or some farmland and newer run their own little businesses, or is there a reasonable alternative? That is what my little book On Liberty and Earth Ownership is about. It has a bit of the look and feel of a children’s book and there are beautiful drawings in it.

Nature provides us with some things for free, such as air, water and land. These days, smart investors can make sure we charge a high price for our place on earth. If they could, they would extend this to the air we breathe. We can see the consequences of this every day. Housing is unaffordable. Starting your own business is extra difficult because it is impossible to find affordable retail space or a workshop. Mobile home owners are driven from their campsites by unscrupulous investors. And those who want to live on a boat have nowhere to dock. People accept this because they think the only alternative is socialism.

My booklet outlines a third option besides capitalism and socialism and suggests what a truly free world could look like. This approach can help us better address problems like unaffordable housing, work pressures, the demise of small businesses, climate change, exploitation and mass migration. Huge government and mass surveillance are not the best way to make our world a better place.

Geoism is the name for the understanding that all people are equally entitled to what nature gives us. Not only is this a beautiful idea, but there is also an economy based on this premise. It combines equal rights to the earth with the indispensable benefits of the free market. A number of well-known economists, such as Nicolaus Tideman and Joseph Stiglitz are proponents of this type of economy. Some use the term Ethical Economy for this.

It is not inevitable that the world will become less and less free. In recent years, there are more and more regulations and an ever-increasing government keeps a closer eye on us. Small businesses are collapsing, so that salaried work for a big company is gradually becoming the only option for many people. Many fun things, like building your own house or refurbishing a big old ship, are almost impossible these days because of regulations. More and more ports are chasing occupants away from ships. Even in the port where I lived on a ship for 10 years, this is threatening to happen.

A large proportion of young people will have to rent accommodation for life. And those looking for a place to build a tiny house will have to search endlessly. Many people think these developments are necessary to solve all kinds of world problems such as inequality and climate change. And many people think that there is no decent alternative to a society in which large corporations, banks and property investors together with the government call the shots.

It is not surprising that people are reluctant to change the system of land ownership. Many alternatives are worse than the current system. We are only free when individuals can own their own piece of land and decide as much as possible how to use their land. That is something quite different from reintroducing Sovchos and Kolchos. So not only do we need to make some changes, but we need to do so in the right way.

I am an optimist. I believe in freedom, thriving small businesses, affordable housing and access to natural resources for all. But to make that a reality, we need to think differently about a few things. Reading my booklet can be a first step for this.

Order my booklet your bookstore, Boekenbestellen.nl, or Amazon. Or if you live in Europe e-mail me, and I will send you one.


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