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Land for People, Not for Profit

by Alanna Hartzok

This article has been published in Green Revolution, Vol.56/No. 4, 1999 and also published on the Bulletin Board website of United Nations Center for Human Settlements' Global Campaign for Secure Tenure.

Summary: This essay makes a clear distinction between the benefits derived from secure title to land and the market distortions caused when land is used as a commodity for investment and speculation. It briefly explores historical antecedents to capitalist arrangements of land tenure and title, taxation and banking systems. Finally, it articulates the rational for land value taxation policy, as recommended by the United Nations Center for Human Settlements Habitat II Action Agenda, and suggests that a Community Land Trust leasehold system may be the most beneficial way to secure land tenure for squatters and landless people.

In the United Nations Center for Human Settlements (UNCHS or Habitat) Global Campaign for Secure Tenure website, under the categorization of Land Ownership, Freehold Tenure is identified with free market proponents and with the use of land as an investment and speculation commodity. In the Bulletin section of the website UNCHS intern Anna-Karin Jatfors of the Land & Tenure Unit Shelter Branch states the