Category Archives: land tenure

The original Jubilee

In my original article on Jubilee I hinted, by the choice of the name Jubilee (and via a link), that my ideas were inspired by those in the Torah, specifically in Leviticus chapter 25.  On Sunday this week, I spoke at my church about that chapter.  I stayed away from my own ideas about how a modern Jubilee-like system might work (which you can read about here),  focusing instead on some features of the system described in the Bible.  You can listen to what I said, courtesy of my church’s website.

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An explicit social contract and non-coercive law enforcement

why should i obey the law? it's part of the social contract / i didn't sign any social contract / you have to it's the law

In philosophy, the idea of a social contract is one way of justifying the government’s authority over individuals. The idea is that you’ve somehow agreed to submit to the authority of the state in return for the state’s protection of your rights (or at least, those of your rights that you haven’t surrendered by submitting to the state’s authority).

But where can I find the terms of this social contract? What if I don’t want to agree to it? What happens if I break the contract? What happens if the government breaks the contract?

Could we come up with an explicit social contract that answers these questions? Would most people actually want to sign it? Would other people have a meaningful choice not to sign it? I think so. Continue reading An explicit social contract and non-coercive law enforcement

Welcome, visitors from LibriVox!

If you’ve come here from my recent LibriVox recording of Progress and Poverty, welcome! I hope you enjoy the audiobook.

And if you haven’t come from there, check it out; it’s a really interesting book.

A lot of what Henry George discussed in that book chimes with what I’ve written about Jubilee and class servitude. I don’t agree with everything he wrote, but I learnt a lot from reading it. Continue reading Welcome, visitors from LibriVox!

Pacifism in Jubilee

The guaranteed minimum income in Jubilee opens up an interesting possibility for self-defence: If Stolypin (for example) threatens to invade, Jubilee should put up signs along the routes the soldiers are likely to use to approach Jubilee. The signs should be in the languages most easily read by Stolypinites (or their mercenaries), and should say “Jubilee welcomes Stolypinites! We will pay you to live here peacefully.”. And then Jubilee should allocate the new immigrants the same guaranteed minimum income all the other Jubilants get.

Would it work? Continue reading Pacifism in Jubilee

Jubilee in equilibrium

When I wrote about how to establish Jubilee, I appealed to a comparison between Jubilee and another hypothetical town called Stolypin, initially assumed to be like Jubilee in all relevant respects except that land ownership in Stolypin is permanent. I argued that market forces would tend to cause Jubilee to grow in circumstances when Stolypin wouldn’t; essentially, I argued that Jubilee and Stolypin weren’t in equilibrium, so changes would occur to push them closer to equilibrium.

So what would the world be like if Jubilee and Stolypin were in equilibrium? We might try to imagine a situation where residents of each town prefer to stay where they are, rather than move to the other, but such decisions would be influenced by the costs involved in moving, as well as the relative attractiveness of each town. So, we could also keep in mind an immigrant choosing between Jubilee and Stolypin; under what circumstances would the average immigrant be indifferent as to which of the two towns to choose? Continue reading Jubilee in equilibrium

A story of landlessness

There was a young man, just entering adulthood. His father died in an accident while working. His mother had already died years ago of an illness.

They weren’t rich parents, so the young man wasn’t expecting to inherit much. It turned out that his father was in debt, so he inherited nothing at all.

He knew a local landlord, not much older than himself, who owned large estate. He approached the landlord, saying, “Sir, you have inherited plenty of land, and some of it is barely used; I have none. Please let me use a portion of it. I’ll build my own house on it, and grow my own food.” Continue reading A story of landlessness

Externalities and location value per capita

When I wrote about how a profit-seeking entrepreneur might establish Jubilee, I ended by wondering where the extra value came from, to give the entrepreneur their profit. Today, I’m revisiting that question, and hope to describe a way in which it might be answered. Continue reading Externalities and location value per capita

A Jubilee story

You’d heard plenty about Jubilee — the way your cousin Frank enthuses about it, you could hardly have avoided it —, but you hadn’t really thought of moving there until things started getting difficult at work.

Julie, the new girl at work, really winds you up; you’re sure she does it deliberately. You’ve talked to your boss about it, but although she doesn’t exactly take Julie’s side, she doesn’t rein her in, either. She says you ought to be able to cut hair without all this bickering. Continue reading A Jubilee story

The class servitude of landless workers

In my previous article, I defined class servitude as a situation where a class of people largely serve the interests of another class of people. This happens not because no individual can improve their situation, but because (in the case of at least some members of the class) when they do improve their situation, they indirectly make life harder for other members of the class. So each individual in the class can and does improve their productivity to make their lives better, but because everyone does so, no-one is much better off, and their extra work benefits other people.

This article argues that landless workers can be subject to class servitude. Continue reading The class servitude of landless workers

Land-use rights as a currency

Earlier in my series on a (currently) hypothetical town called Jubilee, I wrote about how to allocate land, by issuing land-use rights to all residents of Jubliee, which they can use as a “currency” to bid in auctions for long-term land leases. I put “currency” in scare-quotes then, but what if the residents actually used the land-use rights as a currency for everyday transactions? Continue reading Land-use rights as a currency