The Diggers Song, with it brilliant line “No one has any right to buy and sell the earth for private gain.” holds the key to an idea of the democratisation of the land.

If we all have a vote by dint of our citizenship, then, as citizens, why should we not own a nominal share of the land and the fruits it bears?  If all land was regarded as owned in common then we could, as a society, tax land use , and pay everyone a citizen’s stipend in proportion.  Then we could have genuinely free markets in labour, because no-one would be compelled to work.  We could still have a system where the hardest workers could enjoy greater luxury – if they wanted to live in a big house on a country estate they’d have to pay more land tax.  But it should be possible for a normal human being to live a modest life on their stipend – freeing them to live their lives, and taking on work because it was work they wanted to do – and as much of it as they desired.

Currently we have a system where a very small number of families have owned the majority of the land for centuries.  we’d all be much better off and lead happier, more productive lives if the fruit of the use of the land were shared among the citizenry.

It’s not communism.  We could still have a merit based economy on the back of that ideal.  But land use would always be by lease from the government.


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