The 25 Biggest Landowners In America
|November 12, 2012||Posted by Staff under Inequality / Concentration|
From where does one get so much money to buy so much land? We trim, blend, and append two 2012 articles from (1) Business Insider, Oct 23, on large landowners by J. Zeveloff and G. Lubin and (2) BBC interview, May 4, of Carlo Nero (son of Vanessa Redgrave) on his new documentary film.
Good old fashioned land has become one of the hottest investments in the world, as stocks disappoint, currencies go to war, and food prices soar.
Luckily for some, America has a lot of land. Especially America’s 100 biggest private landowners.
The top dog on the list is, for the second year running, media tycoon John Malone, who owns 2.2 million acres — more than twice as much land as Delaware. He narrowly beat out fellow media tycoon Ted Turner.
JJS: When one person owns more land than they could possibly occupy or use by themselves, does that mean others own less than they need, or none at all?
And do those wealthy 1% really own all that land free and clear or do they owe banks mortgages for part of it?
Further, from where does one get so much money to buy so much land? Often the source is farming, which means agri-business subsides from the US Government, or logging, which means the same thing, or oil, which again means the same thing plus lots of environmental degradation that the degrader does not have to pay for.
Another source of vast, unearned income (unearned by the recipient, but earned by the non-recipients, whoever they are) is another form of “land” (or nature), such as the airwaves, which the US Government gives away for free.
So, if the US Government did not give away public property and did not subsidize powerful insiders but did charge them for the resources they take and for the damage they do, then would those businessmen be able to concentrate so much wealth in order to amass so much land? Not likely. Then there’d be more land for others at more affordable prices.
Plus, by charging people for the natural values they take, not for the economic values they create, then government would have enough money to either operate its justifiable services or pay the citizenry a dividend or do both.
Not only is such a geonomic system fair and efficient, it has also worked wherever tried, to the degree tried.
While a handful of rich nature hoarders would lose some land in a geonomy, society in general would gain some justice. And some prosperity. And some conversation of natural resources.
Why would requiring people to pay a tax or dues for land motivate them to use less land and use it wisely? Check out the below.
Killing Fields Director Carlo Nero Radio Interview
Director Carlo Nero (son of award-winning actress Vanessa Redgrave) is Interviewed on BBC Radio about his new documentary film, The Killing Fields. The film explores the relationship between wildlife, land taxation, and law. The film documents how the introduction of Land Value Tax would give Value to wildlife and ensure Its protection. The film is presented by economist Fred Harrison and features Peter Smith CEO and Founder of the Wildwood Trust, Dr Duncan Pickard, landowner and farmer, and Polly Higgins, environmental barrister, author and campaigner.
JJS: If we all had to pay land dues to our community — that is, our neighbors, as they would have to pay land dues to us — that would go a long way toward resolving the ownership vs. stewardship dilemma. A couple other major pieces of the puzzle would be to end subsidies to the despoilers, enforce standards for land use, quit taxing people’s useful efforts, and pay a fair share of the recovered rents to the members of society. Grant people a monetary stake in the fate of the earth and watch them turn over a new leaf over night. Humans are materialists, after all.
Editor Jeffery J. Smith runs the Forum on Geonomics and helped prepare a course for the UN on geonomics. To take the “Land Rights” course, click here .