You don’t seem to have thought any of this through.
Jim Roye

Thanks for taking the time to read and respond to my post! My responses to your comments are below:

And despite what you may think, there is very little land that has “absentee owners”.

This is just patently false. Think of every house and apartment complex being rented out to someone by an owner who does not live there. That is an absentee owner situation.

I doubt you’ll find much support for allowing the dismantling of our State and National Parks/Forests so people can clear cut them and setup strip mining operations.

This is a straw man argument. I never suggested such. In fact, National Parks and Forests — to the degree that they are legitimately held in trust by the government on behalf of taxpayers — would not be affected by my proposal because they are not privately held by landlords collecting rents from tenants.

If there is no government backed guarantee that they would be able to retain all legal rights to that property, why would anyone go build a homestead and invest their time and money into land that can be taken back away from them at any time?

This is a mischaracterization of what I’m proposing. I did not say that land should be “taken back away from [landowners] at any time”. I said that if they abandon the property, then it should be open to homesteading. To elaborate on why National Parks and Forests are not affected by this proposal, it’s in part because they have not been abandoned. They are very much actively used and managed by their owners — the taxpayers who visit and enjoy the parks, and the administrative employees who maintain them.

What would prevent commercial interests from finding whatever land that does exist as “absentee”, claiming that land, stripping it of all it’s natural resources, leaving their waste behind and then abandoning it?

This happens all the time already, often on public lands. Private land is usually very well taken care of, by comparison.

But if some company really does “leave their waste behind”, and it’s their own private property they’re ruining, then who are they really hurting? And if that waste does end up polluting the air or someone else’s property, then they would be liable and open to being sued by those affected. We’re getting off topic a bit here, but the reason companies get away with pollution today is usually because the government gave them a license to do it, or is on the take and conveniently looking the other way.

The issue you bring up about private owners polluting their land is important, but orthogonal to my proposal, which is to decentralize land ownership by eliminating the renting class. Farmhands should own the farms. Tenants should own the apartments and houses. I’m all for the division of labor, but it should be a fair division, not peanuts for tenants and three course gourmet meals for landlords.

(I will reiterate my closing statement from the blog post that this proposal is neither perfectly conceived nor the be-all-end-all, it’s just one small part of the larger conversation about decentralizing capitalism. Your comments help to flesh this idea out and get me thinking about edge cases I might not have considered, so thanks again for your feedback!)

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