The question of human rights is very current nowadays. But at no time during the conferencing on them did you see the most important, namely, the right for each human to a place on the earth. Everywhere on earth you must purchase your homesite at a great cost. That becomes more and more an expensive undertaking.
From ancient times the strongest and cleverest exploited the weaker. Firstly they had to work as slaves, but when all land was owned by the stronger, these were able to free the slaves, because they had to work under the terms of the landowners as simple labourers or serfs.
Now everyone is "free" in our countries. But all must buy a homesite or pay a high rent. That implies that they must borrow and pay a high interest directly or by means of rent. Over the years these costs continually increase. In fact, humans today are made into slaves through borrowing money. At times the serfs had to pay 10 % of the harvest to the owner. Now they pay much more to anonymous capital.
MONATO (Belgium), September 1999, page 9
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Ordinarily one does not reflect upon that, because often one can "gain" by a loan of money, but the fact is that by means of that system the rich people and big funds have been made richer and richer, while the great majority are made poorer.
To meet the continually increasing cost of housing, the trade unions claim higher and higher wages; but the consequence of that is only higher prices, and because of tax the higher wages actually do not improve the living standard of the workers.
There has been, however, an increase in living standards for the great majority, but that was thanks to modern techniques. And now the situation is that prices and wages are so high that we [in the rich countries] are not able to compete with poor countries.
The businessmen remove factories to other countries with lower wages, and we are not able to work for each other because of the high prices, so we do "black" work (without tax).
All states borrow money, and they lack money to cover the whole public sector. The cause indeed is that the people pay double tax: firstly they pay to the creditors for their homes, and then they pay the state. That double impost is modern slavery. Everywhere that situation now menaces the modern welfare state. They all borrow so much that the citizens, apart from paying the interest for housing, also pay the interest for the immense borrowings which the state makes.
If we accept the right of each human being to a place on the land, he in fact has a right to his share of the rent of the land. Henry George showed that could occur in practice if the rent of the land were to be paid to the state, which therefore would not need tax from labour and commerce. So each worker would have for himself the full wage of his work, and the state would have the wherewithal to accomplish its social obligations.
In the Communist states they chose the method of state ownership of all the land and all businesses, but by that means the people became state slaves. People work better in the "free" countries. So it is important that we do not abandon that freedom. That is possible if the community bank only lends credit to the people and gives the income to society, while the people can freely buy houses and businesses.
That would be the way to a more just society. -- © Ejnar LANGKILDE, Monato (Belgium), September 1999, p 9. Translated from the original Esperanto by John Massam.
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>Friends, I thank and congratulate you! "Monato" is very good! Please give me permission to copy "Right to land," by Ejnar LANGKILDE, in the September 1999 edition, page 9.
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