Some of us, among libertarians, are suggesting that territory or land cannot ever be properly owned. It may be due to the spherical nature of Earth, it may be due to the question of “what about the air above it”, perhaps due to often hyper-possessive nature of land ownership and thus restriction of movement even for animals.
I personally hold the contention that all three are valid reasons although I suggest another. Just because someone first inhabited an area and built a wall around it, doesn’t mean that they own it. They can never fully modify every cubic inch of that territory. Thus I don’t think one can properly own any land. Does that mean that one cannot own anything? No. You can own a house or a road on a certain land, but not really land its self. I would consider “land ownership” more akin to care-taking or stewardship.
This way demands much more ingenuity with running things and much more responsibility. Some will object, that in order for that to be practiced, you would need a government or a State. Nay. I do not think that is the case, because that violates the suggested principle, that land cannot be owned, except administered. May I thus suggest something very similar to typical libertarian “privatize everything” argument and add that in the case of land ownership I would not want to see absolute control happen. For one, animals should also be able to survive and live if that is possible, and perhaps shouldn’t be endangered because of roads for example (that doesn’t mean roads shouldn’t be built). At the same time other property rights shouldn’t be blatantly violated. Thus I suggest something akin to David Friedman’s rights enforcement agencies be involved in land appropriation. I would be much more in favor of something like that than a central government. This way one can avoid coercive monopoly, be pro free movement, but not for every reason and every endeavor.
Let me explain. When Muslims started coming to Europe, they damaged private property and destroyed land as well in many places. Rights enforcement agencies should therefore adjudicate proper compensation from such people to the land owner, fix it or even prevent such herds of people moving at all. I wouldn’t however be as strict (if I myself would run one of the agencies) about individuals picking mushrooms or whatever. As long as they respect the nature of Nature its self. Hoarding for example would not be allowed, but something in the lines of “I need to survive and will thus pick veggies and hunt an animal or two” shouldn’t be a problem. Except of course in controlled environments that are fenced. I would take the Alaskan principle of only take as much as you need to survive, and I think it’s capped at certain amount of deer or what-have-you. Again, no central control. If you want to go alone, though, be prepared to defend what you control but I would assume that rights enforcement agency of the other person, if you killed him when he tried to only feed himself, would inflict greater cost unto you than if you were with some agency or what-have-you.
As I said, I don’t think God gave us land to appropriate it, but to take care of it to be it’s stewarts. Furthermore, if land cannot be owned, one cannot prohibit another to build a house somewhere just because he likes the view. Moreover if someone decides to abandon his property on a certain land an agency as described earlier could have rules as to when one can start building his thing on an abandoned parcel or even appropriate and fix the abandoned real-estate.
I hope this makes sense.
(If it doesn’t I can try to elaborate it more in a future post)