Chapter 53 - The Usury of Land

Land is fascinating stuff. Humans did not create land. Land existed before humans. Humans cannot exist without land. Land is needed to grow the food we need to exist. Since we invented civilisation, we have developed methods of apportioning land to humans. Most of the methods involve finance which means debt. Those without the ability to contract debt from the creators of money, become homeless. We borrow bank credit to obtain our fair share of the land that was freely created before humans existed. We purchase from those that claim they have a title to the land using money created by those that lend money they create in computer registers. We work very hard to pay off debt to banks so that we can call a piece of land our own. Yet, we were born free with equal rights to all other humans, but the right to a share of the land is not automatic. We must pay in a restricted market. Although better than a sword fight, the system does allow a level of security and safety, once one starts making repayments to those that create the money in society.

When we purchase land we claim that we own the land but what does ownership represent? We only own down to a certain level and how much of the air above the land do we own? In most cases, we are highly restricted as to what we can do with the land. You cannot make a lot of noise. You cannot put ugly features on your land. You must get permission to build and the buildings must be of a certain style and colour and not exceed a certain size. You may not be able to run a business. Ownership of land does give you some rights:

You have permission to use the land.

You have the right to exclude others from the land.

You have the right to re-assign ownership by sale.

The land remains the land of your nation. Land seems to be exceedingly popular, wherever the land has a use. So the value of land is high in areas where there is employment. The value of the land rises to a value so that the interest takes a large portion of the income of the purchaser. The value of agricultural land increases in proportion to the productivity of the farm such that a good proportion of the income from the toil of those farming goes in interest to the loaning entity. And here is the rub, the entity making the most money from the farm is likely to be the bank rather than the toiling farmer. In the event of a crop failure, it is the hard-working farmer that loses his farm to the bank and maybe his life to suicide. So who has the upper hand on the land? The farmer or the bank? We need to consider land and what gives it its 'value in dollar terms'. What is ridiculess is that we need the food the farmer produces but the sustainability and viability of the farm depend on bank interest which depends upon its value and its value depends upon its ability to produce. So we have a landlordism of money that makes farming problematic. If the output falls to half, in a bad year, the farm is unviable, even though we need the reduced output more than ever. We need the food, but the farm goes 'belly up' because it hasn't produced as much food as forecast during its valuation.

Land effectively belongs to the nation. Man did not create the land. It has existed for all time. Land was created by nature to be shared amongst all life forms including humans. Some would say that it is a gift from god. We pass it on to future generations. Future generations need to live on it and so it is beholden to us to leave it in a usable state. Thomas Jefferson said strong words to this effect in 1816: "every generation coming equally, by the laws of the Creator of the world, to the free possession of the earth he made for their subsistence, unencumbered by their predecessors, who, like them, were but tenants for life." [530] Irrespective of legal tenets, we are, but, temporary tenants of the land. It is beholeden upon us to use it in an equitable and sustainable manner.

Land did not naturally have lines drawn upon it. Some system of apportioning land to citizens is required so that it is used fairly by all and contributes to the wellbeing of society as a whole. If a farmer wishes to grow food, it is quite sensible to give the farmer land so he can grow food for us to eat. To deny the land is to starve the community. Currently, land is apportioned on the basis of the citizen most able to pay. The money to pay for the bulk of the land, dwellings and factories is generated by banks using Double Entry Accounting. This greatly increases the selling prices of land. Effectively, the bank creates $1 million in credit to purchase the land and creates $1 million of debt at the same time. No transaction occurred at the central bank. Interest is then payable on the debt. So the apportioning of land in countries with banking systems is done on the basis of 'who can get the greatest loan'. The land moves to those with the greatest access to Bank Credit and a small amount to those very few who were previously wealthy. The size of the loan depends on the income of the applicant almost in a mathematically direct relationship. The result of this is that the banks receive the total financial benefit of this system of apportioning land. The asset backing for the loan is the land. The bank effectively owns the land of the nation by the very act of creating entries in bank ledgers. When banks arrive in a freshly created nation, the act of creating loans effectively means that the bank instantly owns most of the land in the nation. Most land is purchased using bank loans created by creating money by ledger entries. The value of the land is such that a high proportion of the wage and business income of the nation is taken as interest on money created out of thin air. We have replaced a feudal landlordism of land by a landlordism of money.

If we are to use a financial means of allocating land, it would be much better that the financial benefit of this system went to the community for community projects. When land and property is in mild short supply, the citizen will borrow as much as he can, to obtain the land effectively bidding up the price of land. There will be a constant upward pressure on land values that is highly dependent on the amount that the bank is prepared to loan. It would be more appropriate for this to go to local councils or the government of the area. One such system would be to have much higher rates and land tax. Financially this would make little difference to the citizen, as a citizen will still bid the land price up to take the bulk of his/her income. However, the benefit to the community would be massive. The result of this system would not affect the payments citizen make for the use of land but would much improve facilities. Taxation, in the form of rates and land tax, would allow sales tax and income tax to be greatly reduced.

Humans, when they changed from being hunter-gatherers to farmers, have learnt to apportion land to those that need it to live. This was often achieved on a family and community basis. Someone that was keen to grow food for the community would automatically be apportioned appropriate and suitable land. Never forget that we need to eat food. The land would revert to the community if the farmer ceased farming and re-allocated to another person to farm. Then someone drew lines on a map and created the land-title system. The land-title system gives the so-called owner of the title various rights including the right to exclude others from the land. The land title system also gives the right to sell the title. The selling may be questionable but the selling process gives monetary value to the title. The land title system is quite clever as it gives people exclusive use of the land but at a heavy cost. What then determines the value of the land? If the land is popular or productive the value rises. Where is the money coming from to purchase the land? The money mostly comes from a mortgage loan. This loan is created by the bank by using Double Entry Accounting. A positive entry is recorded in the digital bank account of the seller and a negative entry is made in the account of the purchaser. If the bank did not exist and was not creating money for the purposes of land purchase, land would sell for whatever money was available in society. In newly created states, land is freely granted to those prepared to use the land. This all changes when banks arrive in the nation. The value of land then depends on what a bank is prepared to create out of thin air, which is dependent upon the income of the purchaser or farmer. The value of the land is almost completely dependent on the income of the purchaser and the interest rate at the time. The bank is effectively saying that 'you can have the land if you give us most of your income'. The land then fairly accurately aquires a value that reflects its income potential. The interest effectively becomes a private tax to the banks. The bank reaps all income above a survival income for the occupants. If the income of the temprary tenants falls, the land is foreclosed and recycled to new tenants. To add to the madness, when interest rates fall, the so-called value of land increases. This is nonsense. The value of land does not suddenly change because somebody changes the interest rate, it changes because of the affordability of the interest repayments. So the value of land is entirely dependent on its debt carrying ability. The value of land effectively capitalises all the future rent earning ability of the land. The next thing to notice is that the so-called purchaser does not actually own the land. It is, after all, a mortgage. If there is a missed payment, the land title is passes to the bank. The bank has the first claim on the land until the mortgagee has made the last payment. So we might as well say that the bank owns the land until the last payment is made. By deceptive wording, the purchaser is led to believe that he is the landowner, when in fact he is a mortgage note holder. The purchaser does not have the full title of the land until the last payment is made to the bank. So we have another interesting observation, that by creating accounting entries in bank accounts, the bank can effectively own all the land in the nation.

This was explained to me by a homeless Mexican in a covered public area in New York last year. He had worked in the real estate industry and described it as follows: The bank uses deceptive language by suggesting that the purchaser is the landowner, when, in fact, the purchaser is only a mortgage note holder. The bank likes you to have a loan period of thirty years. Sometime during that thirty years, you will have a financial problem or possibly a marriage problem or you will move. Thus, the mortgage will terminate. The land is appropriated and the bank will keep all your payments up to that time and the property will then be recycled to the next mortgage note holder. I sometimes say that we've gone from landlordism where we rent the land from a landowner to a system where we rent the money for a similar purpose. Both systems take the advantage out of living in an area and transfer money to those that make money without toil. This has the effect of making a nation inefficient. There is an interest burden on almost every activity we take. Various calculations by a few wise economists suggest that around 30% of everything we spend goes to banks as interest. I have done a thumbnail calculation for Australia and again I came up with the figure of about 30% of everything we spend goes to banks as interest. Every level of production tends to have an interest component and the sum of all the interest expenses of a product comes to 30% of the final sale price.

If you wish to run a factory operating under this land title bank mortgage system, you have to pay high wages so that the employees can afford to live in the area. You have to pay a high price to purchase the land on which to build your factory. What is ironic is that it is your factory that is creating the work and paying the wages that causes the land prices in your area to appreciate. Thus, it is the usurious bank lending system that makes our production inefficient. It eventually makes the manufacturing process so uncompetitive that the manufacturing collapses. Go visit Detroit to see what it looks like.

Adam Smith 1776

As soon as the land of any country has all become private property, the landlords, like all other men, love to reap where they never sowed, and demand a rent even for its natural produce.

Paul B. Gallagher 1995

In Italy itself, these bankers loaned aggressively to farmers and to merchants and other owners of land, often with the ultimate purpose of owning that land. This led by the 1330's to the wildfire spread of the infamous practice of 'perpetual rents,' whereby farmers calculated the lifetime rent-value of their land and sold that value to a bank for cash for expenses, virtually guaranteeing that they would lose the land to that bank. [540]

There were various practices that enabled us to move from a life as hunter-gatherers to a civilised way of life. I have so far listed these as:

We developed a system of agriculture such that food came to us rather than us going to the food.

We developed a set of rules which were tied into vairous belief paterns that suited the human way of thinking. The practicioners were called religious people. The concept of heaven and hell enabled control without immediate physical punishment. Punishent or privalege arrived after death.

We tied on man to one woman which harnessed the energy of males to the good of society.

We invented money tokens that enabled circulation of money to overcome the inefficiency of barter. The whole concept of money is plagued with inadequacies and misuse. Of interest, nothing collapses society faster than a collapse of the money system.

We developed new methods of apportioning land to groups and individuals.

In small village life in sparcely populated regions, land would be apportioned by village elders on an as-needs basis for the benefit of the whole village. A farmer would be given appropriate land and protection so that food was available for all. As capitalism took hold and the land title system developed, land was available to those able to purchase a title. You may have noticed the homeless sleeping on the steps of a vacant building. The needs of the home less are trumped by the search for capital gains by the wealthy. The illogic accepted by most is that they should 'get a job', even though there are only jobs available for 95% of the population and the so called 'owner' borrowed bank credit for the purchase. The homeless person had no money to purchase the property, but nor did the affluent purchaser until he borrowed money that did not exist until the bank created it. We have developed a system of private ownership of land that:

enables astronomical profits for banks.

makes business unprofitable.

apportions land on the basis of affluence rather than need.

Frithjof Kuhnen

Private ownership of land is a Western concept that was first introduced into many developing countries by Europeans. It arose under a specific legal order by original acquisitioning of land (occupying and making the land arable) or changes in ownership (conquest, contract, inheritance). Until today, some societies have still not developed any forms of personal, private rights to land that would grant a right of disposition. Instead, the individual is allotted land for his own usage that reverts to the hands of the group (tribe) as soon as it is no longer used. [531]

How the Money Power busted the Landed Aristocracy (Anthony Migchels 2014)

In Medieval Europe, say starting around the 13th century, when urbanization started and the first Kings managed to forge the basics of the Nation States, Usury was already on board. Lending to the Kings, not even at interest, but in return for concessions. Taking over sources of income from the State.

Providing the Landed Aristocracy with mortgages (who would then default), slowly but surely started centralizing Land in the hands of richer and richer Plutocrats. The Protocols extensively describe this process. They boast how they managed to make the Kings believe that borrowing was in their interest, while at 5% already after 20 years the whole principal was paid in interest, without even denting the debt itself. While the Kings could have taken everything in taxation from their people directly.

They also report on slowly but surely pushing out the Landed Aristocracy, both through Usury and marriage. They point at the French Revolution as the coup de grace for the Aristocracy as a political force. They remained a problem, because their land holdings allowed them and their people to at least live freely from their own lands, allowing them real sovereignty. This issue was finally settled in the 19th and 20th century by taxing land holdings.

While 1789 settled matters in the West, the Protocols predated 1917, which destroyed the old arrangements in the East. Even in America the basic conflict is visible, with the Landed Plutocrats framing the Constitution, while the Bankers established control in the early 19th century through Hamilton. [532]

The issues and ideologies concerning private ownership of land are quite contentious. I don't wish to push any particular viewpoint. However, all people born in a region should have reasonable access to a fair share of the land of that region without an unnecessary burden to any organization, private or public. Land and facilities at present are currently available to those with the ability to pay (or borrow) rather than those with need. In areas of increasing population pressure, usually due to the availability of work, the economically weak, lose their land and the land becomes concentrated in the hands of those with access to money or loans. In this case, money has allowed exploitation. This was particularly noticeable towards the end of the Roman Empire as peasants were moved off the land to make way for the large landowners. The peasants became fringe dwellers and subsistence dwellers in Rome. This also happened in America. The Indians were pushed off the land to make way for the invaders with their European farming techniques. Australia was similar. The government enforced land title system displaced the original Australians from the land that gave them their sustenance. The social costs of this are still being felt. In my city of Perth, I can see horse studs and mansions appearing in local arable farming areas as the ability to purchase trumps the need to create the food on which civilization relies. As I travel arround the world, I often see empty land or buildings held purely for specualtive gain. In Sri Lanka, there was overgrown coastal land, fenced off to keep the locals out, purcased for speculative financial gain. Its price had been affected by the sunami. Fishing communities lived further back form the coast and had to walk to their fishing fleets. Yet the speculators eat the food generated by the displaced farmers and fisher-people. Financial issues take precidence over society's need for food.

Land was freely created by our maker to be used by all living things. It is a free resource like the ocean, the rain, the clouds and the air we breathe. Nobody owns the air. Nobody owns the sea. Nobody owns the birds in the trees, nor the fish in the sea. All these resources are to be used by all living things. Any use of these items beyond reasonable use is restricted. Any activity that damages any of these is restricted. One exception is Fracking, which has the potential to permanently damage the land, permanently damage the water supply all for a short term financial gain.

Some thought needs to be put towards a system where land is used appropriately in a manner that is sustainable into the future and is available to those that have a functional need for the use of land, whether it be to raise a family, to create products or grow food. A heavy rent, in the form of interest, to the creditor class is very counter-productive to the overall efficiency of our society.


There was a big high wall there that tried to stop me;

Sign was painted, it said private property;

But on the back side it didn't say nothing;

This land was made for you and me.

Woody Guthrie (American folk singer)

Usury leads to escalating rents (Anthony Migchels 2014)

Usury not only allows for enclosure of the Commons, it also allows for higher rents. For instance: to buy some land, most people will need a mortgage. A mortgage costs 150% of the principal in Usury over 30 years. Landlords pass these costs on to tenants. Even when the mortgage has been paid off, and there is no cost for capital to pass on anymore, there is the wholly artificial idea of 'opportunity cost'. The money invested in Land could have been profitably invested elsewhere and the 'loss' of this 'opportunity' must be 'compensated'.

Nowadays about 75% of rents for housing are Usury or 'opportunity cost' passed on by the landlord. [532]

A Petition against Usury 1376

Further, the commons of the land pray that whereas the horrible vice of usury is so spread abroad and used throughout the land that the virtue of charity, without which none can be saved, is well-nigh wholly perished whereby, as is well known, a great number of good men have been undone and brought to great poverty. [533]

Richard Posner 2014

The ownership of resources vital to human survival is nothing less than the theft of the commons. These are things that belong to everyone, like the air we breathe. No individual or group of individuals has any right to their ownership. [534]

Professor Alan Nasser

From the late fourteenth to the eighteenth century vast areas of land held in common by local communities and used by villagers on a shared basis were enclosed by landlords and turned into private property. Fences were erected and the courts were given the function of issuing title deeds. [535]

Andy Chalkley  The enclosure of commons over several centuries has deprived most of the people of Europe access to land on which to make a living. Land has been progressively privatised. When I talk to the young as I travel through many countries, I often ask: "Can you buy a house in the city where you were brought up." The answer is always negative. I then ask: "Don't you think that is wrong?" We are depriving our young of access to land and property that was freely created for all living things.

The Scottish Land Action Movement

Look at our political structures, our economy, and our land, and you'll find a fundamental lack of democracy.

Our focus is land. Who owns Scotland? Very few. Just 432 landowners have 50% of the privately owned land. That's a mere 0.008% of the population. ...

Soaring land values and monopoly control are what drive housing shortages, deprivation, urban blight. Our city centres are full of half-empty hotels, stalled developments, overpriced and ugly student housing.

Meanwhile rural communities decline further under - often absent - landowners; and vast swathes of the Highlands are set aside as playgrounds for the world's richest, with troubling ecological and social consequences. ...

Land reform is as much about building a sustainable housing sector as it is about sporting estates. Privately rented housing in Scotland suffers from short and insecure tenancies, with an abundance of rogue landlords and overinflated rents. ...


1. A land information system

Currently only 26% of Scotland's land is registered in the land register. To find out who owns what, we demand a mandatory system that is up to date and available to the public.

2. A Land-Value Rating (LVT)

There is no taxation on just land itself. We demand a move towards a more progressive tax, that takes into account the value and use of the land.

3. A cap on the amount of land any one private individual or beneficial interest is eligible to own.

Huge private estates leave the land empty and barren. We would like them community-owned or broken up through the establishment of a National Land Policy, and updated laws of succession.

4. Greater powers for communities to buy and own land. ...

10. Common Good lands

We demand that Common Good Lands be safeguarded, their management be democratic and modern, and information regarding Common Good lands and funds be readily available and up to date. ...

Common Good land refers to land and property managed by local authorities that traditionally belonged to the burghs of Scotland, and is hence owned by the community. [536]

Gavin R. Putland 2012

Because most of the rental value of land is not collected for "the king's tribute", it is capitalized into a selling price, which can then be mortgaged to lenders. And because the rental value is increasing, the price/earnings ratio can be much higher than that of a constant income stream; that is, the rental yield of land can be much lower than the going rate of interest. If the rental yield is equal to the lender's interest margin, and if the loan-to-value ratio is 100%, the lender gets the entire rental value of the land under the guise of the interest margin. [537]

The Scottish Land Action Movement

Land Value Rating

We believe working towards the implementation of a Land Value Rating will offer Scotland a fairer and more progressive taxation policy in regard to the value of land, which would ultimately replace Council Tax and Uniform Business Rates. However, Scotland is currently not in a place where it could implement LVR (LVT). This would depend on the following:

1. The registry of all land ownership in Scotland

2. The valuation of all land in Scotland - split into actual value and improvement value. ...

Tenant farmers who live on privately owned land often exist at the whim of the landlord and have few legal rights. Farmers can be subject to rent hikes, or can even be evicted, with very little notice. There is also no automatic right to buy option for tenant farmers as there is with crofters. This leaves many farmers in an extremely insecure position, which can lead to unscrupulous landlords taking advantage of CAP payments and various other grants that should rightly go to the worker of the land. Although demanding separate legislation, we believe that fighting for greater agricultural tenancy security is an important part of the land reform debate. [536]

Andy Chalkley  Land Tax

Land Tax is an interesting tax that would encourage owners to put their land to best and most productive use. It would tend to discourage speculative hoarding of land in the expectation of future gain. It would also allow the reduction of Income Tax and Sales Tax, both of which tend to damage the real economy.


Land tax is the fairest tax on earth

Tenants' Union of NSW Blog

We've discussed recently how land tax done right encourages economic activity, reduces the tax burden on work and enterprise and makes housing more affordable.

Land tax is fair because it treats land specially, and land is a special asset. Land is unlike other assets: no person made it, and there's not any more of it being made.

For this reason, ancient societies understood land to be a gift of the gods that should be kept in the common ownership of society and its succeeding generations. The current wisdom, however, is that we should allow land to be owned by individual persons ...

It's one thing for individual persons to enjoy exclusive, perpetual ownership rights in relation to things that they have made, or that some other person (back along the chain of ownership) has made: it might be said that if it were not for those rights, the thing would not have been made and so would not exist.

But you cannot say that of land, which has always existed and would exist regardless of ownership rights. The private ownership of land involves no making, but instead a taking - a private taking of something that would otherwise belong to the whole of society. ...

Where private ownership of land takes something valuable away from the whole of society; land tax makes some space, at the expense of land owners, for government spending, and so effectively returns to society some of that value. [541]

Chris 2015

Apart from land tax, it may be appropriate that your industrialist also pay for the right to use the natural environment as a toilet. This charge may vary according to how much the industrialist pollutes. These costs may encourage the industrialist to minimise pollution, or they may make the project unviable. [538]

Robert LeFevre 2010

Land has been owned both collectively and privately. The evidence reveals that in earliest times, before men learned to establish cities, they laid claim to hunting and foraging territories, establishing a kind of collective control over the area. This is collective ownership, for it excludes the private owner and presumes that all items of value found in the claimed territory are to be used for the good of the group. Primitive tribes forbade private exclusiveness in land. [539]

Robert LeFevre 2010

In early Russia, under the mir system long in vogue, each young man as he reached maturity was ceded a certain number of acres for his own use and that of his family. These acres were taken from the collective mir and exploited privately. ...

This "husbandry" is generally viewed as "private" property and to date, in Russia, produces proportionately far more food crops than the huge collective farms. [539]


The Chinese government, however, is making many wise moves - such as taxing land to freeze out runaway land speculation. [542]

Thailand - A coup is not always a bad coup

It also focuses on land reform and in particular, the enforcement of land renting schemes designed to prevent exploitation and debt, as well as heavier taxes for land left unused by wealthy speculators.

The plan also calls the localization of agricultural processing, including warehouses, marketing centers, distribution and even fertilizer production to be done within villages to cut out middlemen who have traditionally sought to purchase produce from farmers for the cheapest price possible and sell it to consumers for the highest price possible, making themselves incredibly wealthy at everyone else's expense.

Cost cutting is where organic agriculture comes in. Both the production of fertilizers locally and the control of weeds and pests will be accomplished by training farmers through national programs focusing on organic methods.

This framework is based on the Thai King's "New Theory" or "self-sufficiency economy" and mirrors similar efforts found throughout the world attempting to break the back of the oppression and exploitation that results from dependence on a globalized system dominated by multinational corporate monopolies.

The self-sufficiency economy hinges on the precepts that families should farm first to sustain themselves through organic polyculture - rather than the dangerous and dependency-inducing monoculture championed by big-agri suppliers and big-retail distributors. Extra land and resources they will have should then be used to produce a variety of crops to hedge against market fluctuations and natural disasters. The income should be used to sustainably expand a family's operation, including through investment in technology to improve efficiency, process crops for sale, and even diversify economic activity away from strictly agricultural pursuits. [543]

Sacred Land vs. the Origin of Land Ownership 2014

Where societies levy a land tax, or a property tax which contains the land tax, having to pay for land on an ongoing basis makes it not profitable to be a middleman. So the grasping landlords who had too much sell off their excess and speculators don't even bother to accumulate an excess of land. [544]

[530] Thomas Jefferson in a 1816 letter to John Taylor condemns the system of banking as 'a blot' on the constitution, as corrupt, and that long-term government debt was 'swindling' future generations. As quoted at Retrieved 2016-01-10

[531] Frithjof Kuhnen at

[532] How Usury Encloses The Commons by Anthony Migchels 2014

[533] Usury and the Church of England by Rev. Henry Swabey

[534] Richard Posner 2014: The Gold Myth and Commodity Money: Ancient Scams of Historical Proportions

[535] Alan Nasser is Professor Emeritus of Political Economy at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington

[536] Retrieved 21/08/2015


[538] Tenants' Union of NSW Blog Retrieved 21/08/2015

[539] Robert LeFevre 2010 Chapter 8, The Philosophy of Ownership

[540] How Venice Rigged The First, and Worst, Global Financial Collapse by Paul B. Gallagher from the Winter 1995 issue of FIDELIO Magazine.

[541] 'Brown Couch' retrieved 2016-04-11



[544] Sacred Land vs. the Origin of Land Ownership, The Progress Report 2014-01-13 from a 2013 excerpt of the Hampton Institute by Jeriah Bowser.The full article appeared at Truthout, 2014-01-12.