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– Private Property –
Lesson 91 – Private Property
Carla Bennett spearheads a campaign to stop activities such as culling and fracking that can adversely affect ecosystems and cause health issues. She has been travelling from venue to venue giving talks about some of the problems she has witnessed and envisions as well as suggests some changes that can be made. Today she is holding a conference at a friendship hall that hosts 200 people. She has a full audience for today’s talk and is very nervous despite being a skilled orator and having done this many times before.
As Carla takes to the podium the audience quietens down and focuses all their attention on her. She takes a sip of water from the glass that had been placed there for her then addresses the audience.
CARLA: Ladies and gentleman, thank you so much for attending this evening. I know that many of you have children at home and have had to arrange a babysitter so you could be here tonight, others have had to battle with the rush hour traffic then find a place to park, which has probably been one of the most frustrating experiences of your life.
(Murmurs and chuckles)
So, you being here means so much to me. I hope to make it up to you all. Mainly, by keeping what I have to say, as short as possible.
(The audience laughs and claps.)
I wish to talk to you today about private property. Private property is a legal designation of the ownership of property by non-governmental legal entities. The term private property derives from the latin, De Privary which means to deprive. The rich Romans would wall off gardens to deprive the poor of their use.
In England, the word “property” did not have a legal definition until the 17th century. It’s predominant use being for property that held some value of production. This was extended to some of the first parks in England, that were walled off by private owners, mostly for the purpose of hunting. Private property access, use, exclusion and management are controlled by the private owner or a group of legal owners. This, together with property rights, which determine how a resource is used and owned, means that property that should otherwise be sustained and maintained as the part of our delicate ecosystem, is being used by individuals, associations and governments in such a way that is damaging to both us and the environment.
Fracking is the newest horror visited upon us in this new age. Due to property rights, associations and individuals can allow companies to drill into the ground and inject dangerous chemicals into the earth, affecting plant life and water. Nevermind that I cannot drink a glass of water from my tap, in case I become frightfully ill. Imagine the damage that this it is going to do the fauna that rely wholly on the vegetation and water so they may survive.
Because of the concept of private property and property rights, big box companies can move into a community and sell their wares at prices that undercut the independent businessperson, butchers, bakers, grocers, all put out of business because the community has no say as to whether they want a new supermarket to move into the area or not.
To challenge this and empower ourselves is no easy feat and I wouldn’t know the exact answer to this problem but what I do want to do is tell you a little about an ideal that has existed before. A socialist named Gerrard Winstanley, in 1649, started a group called the True Levellers, also known as The Diggers. The group’s core idea was born from their attempts to farm on common land, otherwise called The Commons.
The commons refer to the cultural and natural resources accessible to all members of a society, including natural materials such as air, water, and a habitable earth. These resources are held in common, not owned privately. However, while common land might have been owned collectively, by a legal entity, the crown or a single person, it was subject to different forms of regulated usage, such as grazing of livestock, hunting, lopping of foliage or collecting resins. Everyone understood that it was in the best interest of the community to maintain the commons. For each member of the community that wished to use the land, was allowed to work the land to yield as much as each person needed for their means. Overusing the land or dominating ownership would result in the community confronting the guilty party and forcing them to cease overdevelopment and in extreme or repeated cases stop them from using the land altogether.
If such a thing occurred with the Native American Indians, should a member of the tribe kill a buffalo out of season, or take more than they needed, the rest of the tribe would break the offender’s weapons, burn their home and redistribute what was left amongst the tribe, reducing the offender to beggary. Now I am not saying we should go out and set fire to supermarkets or attack farmers guilty of intensive farming. Violence is not the answer! And I hope it can be avoided at all costs.
Many communities have started a skillshare system, known as LETS (Local Exchange Trading). Each person, based on what they can do, can offer their services for a price, though this price is not monetary, rather a substitute. People earn LETS credits by providing a service, and can then spend the credits on whatever is offered by others on the scheme, for example childcare, transport, food, home repairs or the hire of tools and equipment. If only we could utilise schemes like these nationally, we could starve the big businesses of their profits and discourage further companies from investing in private property.
You’ve been a great audience. Thank you for listening!
(Audience clap and cheer)
Interactive Video Comprehension Quiz 1:
Summary Statements Comprehension Quiz 2:
Drag and Drop Quiz 3:
1. To hope is a verb we use when we want something to happen. Normally this idea is supported by a good reason.
1. Wish/If only + Past Simple
With the structure wish/if only + past simple, we express we would like a current situation to be different.
2. Wish/If only + Would
With the structure wish/if only + would we express:
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