I’ve been holding a rather interesting discussion on the prospects for privatized ownership of land and services. Spencer Heath addressed this notion by concluding that society could only outgrow slavery to the state by utilizing land properly through free-market methods. His methods were in opposition of the Georgian ideal that land should not and could not be owned (a collectivist scheme by any other name.)
In the book “Politics versus Proprietorship,” he hinted that political governance was indeed an enemy of the market. The notion of ownership in Heath’s book is much like the stewardship of wealth. “To own was to owe.”
Were socio-economic relations so poor under pre-Norman England? What is interesting is that this conception borders Gandhi’s muse of wealth except takes it to a present day setting (neo-feudalism). The nobility who comes to own the land through natural rights is in effect, servants to the people who wish to live on it. In order to benefit: one must ensure beyond a doubt that the tenants of the land are happy.
Murray Rothbard succinctly addressed this notion:
The Heathian goal is to have cities and large land areas owned by single private corporations, which would own and rent out the land and housing over the area, and provide all conceivable "public services": police, fire, roads, courts, etc., out of the voluntarily-paid rent. Heathianism is Henry Georgism stood on its head; like George, Heath and MacCallum would provide for all public services out of rent; but unlike George, the rent would be collected, and the land owned, by private corporate landlords rather than by the government, and the payment therefore voluntary rather than coercive. The Heathian 'proprietary community' is, of course, in stark contrast to the scruffy egalitarian commune dreamed of by anarchists of the Left.
To better illuminate why this is not a form of tyranny by another name Spencer Heath:
To obviate the essential tyranny (coercion) of political administration the proprietary authority, suitably organized, must extend its jurisdiction, and thus its revenues, by itself supplying police and other community services without coercion, out of its own revenues and properties, and thus raise its own values and voluntary incomes.
In anarcho-capitalism it becomes apparent that fees and dues for police and courts would develop towards specialization. It is obvious that one landlord would be unable to apprehend all the needs of each area of society so thus would rely on a codependent competition. In other words, more lords of jurisdiction would develop, this process eventually creating guilds of competitive for-profit services. This specialization due to its privatization means that private ownership must also accept its losses. Thus why it is hard to take advantage of others as is possible through our current political system. The essential truth is, people are not reliant on the market. The market needs the people.
Heathian anarchism is thus a proprietary community containing multi-tenant properties such as hotels and apartments, shopping centers, places of entertainment such as parks and even educational districts for schools. The concept of multi-tenant property is the opposite of traditional real-estate development. It would be in the landlords best interests to provide community service and other pleasing luxuries in order to hope that people would wish to live on their land and benefit from an active participation in maintaining land value and voluntary rent.
While history is a subjective matter, the empirical information available reveals that there is a growing population and land is limited. The private single-family household is one that is quite new, but also a passing phase. Multi-tenant income property, shopping malls and the like, are a development of the past half-century. This approach should eventually infiltrate the public sector accepting the burden of water, waste management, energy and maintenance. Different jurisdictions of property would compete in a business-like manner on how best to provide protection from crime. This is a distinct improvement over monopolistic government if one understands the fundamentals of the market and service.
And while it is obvious that this build isn’t the standard proprietary zone defense formula, there is no doubt, that needs must be met – and the competing security agencies would develop methods that sell best to the consumer.
It is not enough to look into the means of land and its utilities eventually becoming a servant of the private sector. We must look at the eventual decentralized powers of technology and its inevitable passage to the hands of the common man. It has been the mistake in the past to assume the government would be the only entity capable of controlling technology. But because of the wealth of information available for this argument (and its eventual straying from the origins of the topic at hand) I must continue this at another time – with a tighter focus.