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Leslie Budd on... theft or investment?

Updated Thursday, 24th June 2010

For some, it is an outrage to even consider it; others, it's the one true holder of value. Is property theft or investment?

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Leslie Budd

If you look at the roots of all financial crises, you can see one central cause - property. Of recent memory from the East Asian crisis of 1997, to the subprime one a decade later.  In the United States, over 90% of net wealth is in the form of real estate, so its use and management is important to all businesses and services.  Indeed, the 19th Century writer and politician Henry George proposed there should only be one form of tax, and that is on land.  More visibly, in an area of digital trading, wider international financial firms continue to crowd into the world’s leading cities, and while they still remain patrons of global signature architecture.  Well, changes in the value of property is a crucial part of their balance sheet, whether it’s bought and sold, leased, or rented, and it’s important for them, these firms to put their personal mark on the city scape.  The French anarchist Proudhon stated that property is theft, but without property rights, a market economy would flounder and its agents would be stealing from themselves if they didn’t recognise its global utility. 

 

That’s my view; you can join the debate with the Open University.

 

(1’36”)

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