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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 61

The Land Tenure

The Land Tenure.

All writers on political economy are agreed in stating that there is nothing exercises so marked an influence on the commercial and social condition of the people as the ownership and occupation of the land. It is, therefore, very desirable that we should closely study everything that can affect it.

If I am right in my contention that the chief agency at work in massing the people in the large centres is the unfair and pernicious system of levying the transit charges, it is also clear that it is the principal agency in preventing the proper growth of population in the country. At any rate, from whatever cause it may arise, there is no questioning the fact that the growth of the population of the great cities is out of all proportion to that of the country districts.

It is population that gives value to land; consequently, if population moves in the direction indicated, it is clear that land in the great centres must increase in value far more rapidly than in the country districts. Indeed, country lands must and actually have declined in value.

The great capitalists and controllers of the means of transit are well aware of this fact, and have not been slow to work it to their own benefit. They know that they hold in their own hands the means of raising or depressing the value of any district, and therefore it matters nothing to them what happens—they must make money and win in any case.

This constant drain of population from the country districts has reduced the value of land there, and so enabled the large capitalists to buy it up.

Let me give you an instance of how these people work.