This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

Land

Land cannot be called a commodity for the simple reason that it is not produced by human labor. Land is that which is labored upon in order to produce commodities. It is presupposed by, and is therefore prior to, all economic activities. It can in a limited sense be improved upon or impoverished by human labor, but the notions of production and reproduction break down when applied to it.[1]

If it is to be classified in conventional terms, we could most accurately call it a form of global “capital”; and in fact it is the most primordial form of capital. And although it is possible to price, buy, and sell a piece of land, its unique nature prevents it from behaving as a commodity when subjected to market forces. This is why it has been treated with special consideration throughout history. For example, it is said in the Old Testament: “The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you reside in my land as foreigners and strangers.”[2] Moreover, in the Middle Ages it was the king and the king only, who could be said to “own” any land, and everyone else—dukes, knights, peasants, villains—were only tenants in fealty to the king, who himself was only playing the role (acknowledged as such) of God, who was the true owner.

The tradition of the Jubilee is evidence of the unique nature of land ownership. Moreover, we should also mention another traditional form of land ownership known as the “commons.” This form of community ownership, complemented by an emphasis on the equitable distribution of land amongst individual owners, is constantly re-affirmed in CST.[3] In fact the conscientious re-distribution of land is openly encouraged, especially in countries where the concentration of land results in slavery (latifundium).[4]

[1] Recall here our previous observations regarding ownership of one’s body that we do not “own” ourselves as is commonly supposed. One cannot own as chattel what one cannot create.

[2] Lev 25:23.

[3] CSDC, 180.

[4] PP, 23; CSDC, 300.

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