Andro Linklater

Owning the Earth

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Barely two centuries ago, most of the world's productive land still belonged either communally to traditional societies or to the higher powers of monarch or church. But that pattern, and the ways of life that went with it, were consigned to history as a result of the most creative — and, at the same time, destructive — cultural force in the modern era: the idea of individual, exclusive ownership of land.
This notion laid waste to traditional communal civilisations, displacing entire peoples from their homelands, and brought into being a unique concept of individual freedom and a distinct form of representative government and democratic institutions. Other great civilizations, in Russia, China, and the Islamic world, evolved very different structures of land ownership, and thus very different forms of government and social responsibility.
The seventeenth-century English surveyor William Petty was the first man to recognise the connection between private property and free-market capitalism; the American radical Wolf Ladejinsky redistributed land in Japan, Taiwan and South Korea after the Second World War to make possible the emergence of Asian tiger economies. Through the eyes of these remarkable individuals and many more, including Chinese emperors and German peasants, Andro Linklater here presents the evolution of land ownership to offer a radically new view of mankind's place on the planet.
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    Аннаmembuat kutipan3 tahun yang lalu
    That was how the system was supposed to work, and it demonstrates the profoundly contradictory nature of Peter the Great’s reforms. To make Russia modern, he saddled it with an administrative system akin to those of Ivan the Terrible and Süleyman the Magnificent. His insistence that possession of land should be linked to government service was not just a disastrous attempt to turn back the clock, it flew in the face of human nature by denying the possibility of even family possession of land.
    Аннаmembuat kutipan3 tahun yang lalu
    They were ready to pay for Britain’s wars—more than a hundred during the century—because they believed them to be not only in the national interest but necessary to protect the particular kind of freedom that went with private property.
    Аннаmembuat kutipan3 tahun yang lalu
    By the early eighteenth century, two thirds of the thirteen million inhabitants of Russia were serfs, with over half belonging to the nobility and the remainder to the church and the state, meaning the tsar

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