, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 21-40

Agriculture, ethics, and restrictions on property rights

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Abstract

The argument in this essay is twofold. (1) Procedural justice requires,in particular cases, that we restrict property rights in natural resources, e.g., California agricultural land or Appalachian coal land. (2) Conditions imposed by Locke's political theory and by dense population require,in general, that we restrict property rights in finite or non-renewable natural resources such as land. If these arguments are correct, then we have a moral imperative to use land-use controls (such as taxation, planning, zoning, and acreage limitations) to restructure land ownership and land use in a far more radical way than has ever been accomplished in the past.