Systems of Land Ownership

By: EconomyWatch   Date: 21 April 2010

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The Systems of Land Ownership govern the relationship that exists between the land and the people who work on that land as well as the people who are empowered to distribute the land among the farmers and fix their wages. It guides the policies through which a farmer owns his land legally. Precisely, it is the right of the people to utilize their land. Owning a land in the rural area of any country is very important for one to retain his prestige and social position and power. But unfortunately the amount of land cannot be increased therefore it is essential to distribute the land among the farmers equally so that no one remains dependent on any one else. Land is the basis of sustenance for the people in the rural area. They earn their living through the land, their source of entertainment is also the land which they possess.

Types of Rights

There is the existence of two types of rights pertaining to the land. The rights are as follows:

  • The right to land disposal
  • The right of using the land

The right to land disposal belongs to the owner of the land. The owner decides what to do with the land. He can sell, bequeath, lease out the land as per his will. The farmer who occupies the land possesses the right to make use of the land. If a farmer family owns the land then in that case they can use the land or do whatever they want to with the land. If a tenant occupies the land then that person only has the right to cultivate the land.

History of Land Ownership

The system of land ownership was first introduced in Europe. This system was brought into effect under a specific legal order. The order was regarding the acquisition of land and regarding changes in the possession of land. The main drawback of such a system is that it does not allow any personal right to dispose the land. No individual is empowered to dispose a land as its utility is over instead as soon as the land loses its utility the right to dispose the land passes over to the groups specially a tribe. The laws governing the rights of the land is not a unanimous one since the government laws and the tribal laws are different.

The Private Ownership of Land is a complicated issue since it has resulted in the accumulation of land in the hands of few people and the economically weak ones have lost their land to the poor. Therefore, it can be deduced that the private ownership of land should be abolished because it causes inconvenience to half of the population. There can be two types of private land ownerships.They are:

  • Small Holdings
  • Large Holdings
Kinds of Land Ownership

There are different kinds of land ownership systems which are implemented throughout the world. These systems are dynamic and not static. The systems are:

  • State Ownership of Land- This system was followed in the socialist countries. Due to various reasons like conquest, buying a land, gifting it have resulted into state ownership of lands. The biggest example would be USSR where most of the land is owned by the state. This step was taken to prevent the population from exploitation which was a resultant force from private ownership of land.
  • Land Grants- This system is in vogue in the Muslim countries. They donate land for educational and religious purposes. The profit is digested by the beneficiary and the government intervenes in case any problem arises about the land.
  • In this type of system the land is owned by the members of the family or a political group. This system was long being practiced among the tribes of Africa. There the tribes are considered to be the be all and end all regarding any decision on the land. The tribes consider themselves to be the proprietors of the land.
  • Farm Tenancy-Many land owners have decided to lend land for the purpose of earning and others on the other hand have taken to farming in the plot of the owners. Specially in countries which are experiencing population explosion this is practiced broadly.

Three types tenancies are found in the world. They are:

  • Occupational Tenancy- In this type of tenancy the farmer pays his rent in order to occupy the land.
  • Cash Tenancy- In this system the tenant shoulders the risk of plowing the land. He pays a fixed rent in order to cultivate the land. He receives the profits for his own land.
  • Share Tenancy- This type of tenancy is practiced in the developing countries in which the gross profit is shared among the owner and the farmer of land.
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