We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors,
we borrow it from our children.
Together we’ve explored the secret of how business cycles expand and contract, how we cannibalize nature, and how entire societies rise and fall. It is, like all good secrets, an ancient one; it has stood at the threshold of many revolutions, and has been endorsed by great thinkers throughout history. Although it seems almost forgotten today, its power endures: Truth is truth, even when denied, ignored, or scorned.
I spent many years looking for the hidden causes of our economic and ecological problems and then spent several more years researching for and writing this book. It contains wisdom that I believe is critical to the survival of the human race, as well as foundational to our hopes and dreams of leaving behind a better world for our children and our children’s children.
During my childhood certain questions troubled me: Why do most people have so little, when a few have so much? And why don’t the people who have more freely share with those in need? These questions preoccupied me on one level or another throughout my young life, which was why one of my childhood aspirations was to become someone who would share his possessions with those in need. As an adult I came to realize, however, that my youthful aspiration could neither help alleviate poverty on its own nor fill the pain of separation I felt inside. So instead I aimed to fulfill the deeper purpose of my childhood dream by simultaneously developing my own awareness and seeking out endeavors that might somehow help to create a more beautiful world.
After graduating college, I set out to become an entrepreneur to see how society could be improved through social enterprise. In the process, I started paying close attention to the economic dynamics that helped influence the outcomes of my ventures. For example, I once co-managed a healing and community center, so location was crucial to our success; the landlord, however, commanded a substantial portion of our monthly earnings simply because he held a monopoly on our particular location, despite the fact that we were already
paying taxes on incomes, payrolls, and sales. We were willing to pay for the benefits of a good location—just not twice. And since moving to another location would have brought with it the loss of locational advantage, I learned firsthand the extent to which landlords are able our system enables some
to extract unearned incomes from other people’s contributions to society.
Over the years it occurred to me that the economic structure itself influences human beings in far more powerful ways than any single entrepreneurial venture ever could. I began to wonder if the state of the economy might be responsible for the destinies of entire nations. It was a profound realization: If the foundational structure of our economy were altered to better meet social needs, there could perhaps come a time when there would be little need for social enterprise or nonprofit work. The economy itself could become one big enterprise for social good.
My next challenge was to figure out what exactly in our economy needed to be changed, why, and how. I decided not to formally study mainstream economics since I intuited that its proponents had either not yet figured out a comprehensive and time-tested solution to poverty and wealth inequality, or didn’t have the backbone to publicly advocate a position that might be politically controversial. I set about discovering for myself what really
needed to be done in order to eliminate poverty and create a more prosperous world for everyone.
And so began a period of several years in which I researched various aspects of the economy. But my search provided no conclusive answer until I came across the Law of Rent. I immediately understood the essence of this principle and realized that the privatization of land values describes in basic terms how individuals and institutions profit from land at other people’s expense. To learn more about this economic principle, I had to piece together my education from various sources; I couldn’t find a single textbook that explained the entire topic in a comprehensive and simple way that I could understand. And so, over time, I realized that the work of explaining this topic, in a way that someone like me could understand, would fall to me.
I wrote Land
both with the intent to understand and also to offer the world an economic solution that might soothe its many ills. However, the longer I studied this topic, the deeper I came to sense the pervasiveness of our collective ignorance. On a human level, I remain part of a collective story that seems bent on perpetuating the illusion of separation and disunity; my heart continues to be deeply affected when I see the desolate suffering among the homeless or witness financial struggle in daily life. It seemed appropriate to respond with compassion to the suffering we are causing one another and to do my little part to help us conceive of and create new social and economic systems. Consequently, I’ve embarked on the development of the Unitism concept—a sustainable alternative to our current form of capitalism. I’m inviting interested parties to join me in this effort by visiting the Unitism website at http://unitism.com
Perhaps this book will open you up to new ideas on how to think and act to bring about a new humanity where all will thrive. It is my gift to the world. If you appreciate this work, please consider sharing your appreciation of it with others in a way that’s meaningful to you.
My purpose in writing this book has now been fulfilled and the material has found its way into your hands: Take it from here and run with it. I wish you well, my dear fellow traveler on beautiful planet Earth.