South Africa: Nationalisation Is Not the Answer to the Land Question - Land Is Far Too Valuable to Be Owned By the State

Farmland in the Overberg region of the Western Cape of South Africa
opinion

How do you solve the land problem? Not through nationalisation, not through a land tax, but through a capable state that places at the top of its priorities a fair redistribution of property, starting with the distribution of its own land holdings.

The debate about the nationalisation of property should never have been allowed to happen in the first place.

Smart people had, and still have, no reason to even discuss the possibility of depriving people of the ownership of assets they have legally and justly earned. People with any sense of justice may not deprive those who have legally succeeded in creating and growing wealth for themselves. Such a discussion, among smart people, was never going to be as lengthy as we have allowed it to be. By "land" or "property", I include all economic assets, including shares in companies. Land is too valuable to be left in the care of the state.

Nationalisation would mean transferring ownership of assets to the state. Disaster. That which belongs to the state belongs to everybody. Thus it belongs to nobody. Look at Zimbabwe, where the state now owns all the land. Thus the majority owns the land.

But they have been...

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