Suggestion for decentralised community land rights (licencing) instead of state administered land ownership

How does that work without a state / tax, sorry “levy” enforcement system? Surely anything that’s not voluntary will require this? I’m curious.

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In short, courts don’t need to be run by the state (polycentric law) and punishment doesn’t need to be a stick (fine/agression).

Abuse of license terms can lead to loss of opportunities, shunning from community, etc. Consider the effects of a criminal record, particularly with heinous crimes and extrapolate.

Then consider that demands for excessive rent would be seen as extortion if such a system was adopted. Refusing to comply with such demands would be seen as a civil responsibility, with support from your community.

Here is the link to my previous ramblings/thoughts on the subject:

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To quote myself from a few years ago in he link above:

I’ve been pondering this concept for the last few months and I have mentioned it in a few threads recently, so I thought I would start a dedicated thread on it.

As you know, I’m pro free market anarchism and I try to adhere to the non-aggression principle (I think it is core to a civilised society). This not only puts me in opposition to the state, but also in opposition of any individual who uses violence to take or monopolise something (EDIT: without a sufficient claim on something, such as mixing labour/property with it).

While many suggest that a land value tax is ‘the solution’, I disagree. While I agree with many of the ideas of Georgism, a LVT does not seem to be the best way to deal with this problem. This is largely because:

  1. It requires a centralised organisation which uses taxation to implement. Taxation is non-voluntary and as such requires aggression to implement, which I naturally reject.

  2. It harms those who are not seeking rent at all, as well as those who are seeking rent. To be clear, the important element of Georgism is one of location monopoly - that is, violence is used to allow an exclusive monopoly of a space/location. I have no desire to ‘socialise’ the gains of productive people to those who surround them - I just see the need to compensate those who are displaced by said productive people.

Therefore, I believe we need a mechanism which allows communities to license local locations (read: land), while stipulating that and rent gained via this monopoly, but not from the utility of buildings etc added to the location, should be returned to said community.

In the same way as a GPL software licence is applied to software written by those in the open source community, land could be licensed by those in a physical community.

Equally, as anyone in the community can report GPL licence abuse in the open source software community, anyone could report land license abuses in a physical community.

When a land license is abused, the contract can be voided. This puts the license holder in a position where they could be without a claim to use the land. This is the incentive which encourages adherence, as without a valid claim to use the land, insurers, lenders and security firms are unlikely to provide services to the previous licensee. Without these services, it is difficult to reliably use the land and the community may attempt to reclaim it.

In this respect the service providers associated with land rights may only support the claim if the license was adhered to. This is important, as it allows the market to price land rights - you can either use force or you can negotiate. As the latter is almost certainly cheaper (providing your own insurance, credit, security services etc isn’t cheap), there is a positive incentive to negotiate for a license instead. IMO, this is incredibly important.

There could be a clause in the license which insisted that any rent gained via this monopoly (again, excluding utility of buildings etc, in the spirit of LVT), must be distributed to the local community. Failure to do so, would result in a potentially void contract. [The details on how to distribute are up for debate, but decreasing rates from the centre to a defined radius around the location may be suitable.]

I define rent as either direct, regular rent requests and/or sale price of said land, relative to purchase price (inflation considered). That is, if the land has increased via HPI, this is still a form of rent seeking; it is just less obvious than a BTL.

You could have additional clauses dictating that the land should be returned to the original state after the license ceases and/or compensation should be given if this is impossible (such as when quarrying).

Land licenses could be bought on sold in a free market, just as land currently is. However, the license clauses would still apply after the trade. Instead of trading ‘ownership’ (which is an odd idea with land), people would be trading ‘licenses’ to have exclusive access to the land.

This would provide a distributed land right/usage system, which doesn’t rely on central planning and encourages negotiation (with local communities) over violence. I think both of these are required to improve the current system.

There could be other changes, but I thought I’d run the concept by the clever bods on this forum.

[How to transition is another debate, but I would suggest that the state would replace land ownership rights with community licenses with, say, a 2 mile radius or some such. The infrastructure to help monitor/record the status could spring up around these, allowing the state to withdraw from managing land ownership rights. Ofc, it wouldn’t want or do that… but we’re talking hypothetically here! ;)]

P.S. Sorry for the long post, but I wanted to get all of the core points in the OP, so the debate can flow from here. I’m sure people will find plenty of issues with the idea! :slight_smile:


My first question on this is how do you prevent the formation of local oligarchies, extended families, gangs who are willing and able to use violence in a way that other smaller groups in the local area may not be able to match?

My understanding of most organized crime/criminal syndicates is that they formed in response to a need to enforce essentially contractual obligations that were unenforceable in regular society due to their criminal nature.

A second question is do you allow for mobility in this scenario. If people are able to move from one local group to another freely and easily without proving stake, if you will, in the new community then you could have groups of people move-in and forceout other groups by communally declaring those contracts void. You see this a lot in local elections particularly in Africa, where tribal groups or associations will bus hundreds or even thousands of people from one town or even region to another influenced the effects of local elections.

On the other hand if you do not have mobility then you open the door for even more oppressive local oligarchies like I was talking about before because it becomes very difficult for people to leave their existing community and find a new one.