Humans have always desired to own a piece of land that could be passed on to their heirs. Once they acquired property for homestead or farming, men labored on their land under the assumption that it was theirs to keep in perpetuity.
If you ask the government, land belongs to the proprietor as long as the required taxes are paid in full each year and the government does not confiscate the property through eminent domain or deem it environmentally endangered and in need of protection. If you ask progressives, land belongs equally to everyone and nobody should be allowed to “own” anything, it should be communal property.
The painful lesson in communal property (communism) at Jamestown has been forgotten or never learned. When people worked the land together, some worked harder and some were lazier, yet everyone ate the same. The entire settlement almost starved to death. The following year, when the communal property was divided into individual parcels, everyone prospered.
Humans understood then that individual freedom and cooperation on smaller scale are much more successful than domination by a few in an exclusively government-run society.
The idea of Sustainable Development that emerged in 1987 from a conference by the World Commission on Environment and Development, chaired by Gro Harlem Brundtland, seemed innocuous. It was defined as “Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” It sounded lofty except for the nagging questions: who decides what the needs are, how are they going to parcel out the needs, how are they going to implement them, and who will police the decision-makers?
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