Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Not to sound communistic, but, in many countries, all the land is owned by the people who live in that country. This is true in the U.S.
To use the U.S. as an example, land is obtained in several ways, and then it is "put in trust" for the people by the government. The government then decides who can use the land. The main thing to remember is that the government can take the land back at any time if it wants to use it for some public purpose. In recent years, the courts in the U.S. have been illegally legislating on this issue (illegal because they don't have the right to legislate, but they do anyway) by taking land from private citizens and giving it to private land developers.
Some of the ways the U.S. came to own the land (theoretically in the name of all the people) include
1. Taking it from previous owners by war (war-ending treaties or driving them off the land)
2. Getting it deeded to them by English, French and Spanish kings who owned by control
3. Buying it from previous owners
4. Having the previous owners deed over the land due to various other treaties
The government then begins to parcel out the land as it sees fit: for development, homesteading, putting it in trust for certain purposes (reserves, parks, etc.) or simply affirming private ownership which had already existed. None of this giving or reserving has to be permanent. This ultimate control of the land by the government is known as "eminent domain." The ultimate top government is called the "sovereign lord" from English times.
The U.S. Constitution allows the use of eminent domain ONLY for the purpose of a public good or benefit. It is obvious to all who can read, that the constitution was talking about using land for roads and bridges and dams and the like. In other words, they are not supposed to be able to take your land just to give to a builder to build condos there because more housing may be needed in your town. But they can do that now. You can thank former Justice John Paul Stevens for that ruling. I remember there was a petition drive to confiscate his personal country farm when he retired just to let him share in the blessings of his ruling, but nothing ever came of it.
Large public works projects almost always require the exercise of eminent domain. Many landowners or people living on the land which is needed for the project are displaced (and compensated, in the U.S. version, though such compensation doesn't have to be for any amount the landowner wants.)
What does a person do when he doesn't want to move and let the government take over his land? He finds out in a hurry that the government ultimately owns all the land; he will be forcefully removed from "his" land. If he persists in blocking or hindering the project, he will be imprisoned.