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Not The Normans

High house prices? Inequality? I blame the Normans | Paul Kingsnorth | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk

According to the author Kevin Cahill, the main driver behind the absurd expense of owning land and property in Britain is that so much of the nation's land is locked up by a tiny elite. Just 0.3% of the population – 160,000 families – own two thirds of the country.

Now Kevin may say that, but the linked website, doesn't only that lots of rich people own lots of land.
It is, of course, complete bollocks. It isn't because their Noble Lordships refuse to sell off building plots; most would welcome an influx of the readies. It is because land only becomes building plots when the man from the council gives planning permission. Blame the bureaucrats, not the Normans.

Comments

The Normans had those as well.

Hear! Hear!

People who make arguments like '0.3% of the population own two thirds of the country' rarely consider that a very skewed distribution of real estate ownership might actually be a good thing, and inevitable in a free society. As (I think) Robert Nozick pointed out, it takes a tyranny of the worst kind to preserve a stable distribution. If we have a revolution and give everybody their two acres of Britain, or whatever it is now, after a short time the status quo will reassert itself as people buy and sell and succeed and fail - unless a rigid communist dictatorship freezes everything in place, or revolutionary anarchy makes land ownership impossible. Another point: the basis of property rights is that they protect everybody, whether or not you think they have an unfair share, just as freedom of speech protects those who offend us.

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