William Ogilvie of Pittensear

Another Proto-Geolibertarian

Progress & ConservationšŸ”°
2 min readMay 2, 2024
Agrarian Paradise, generated using AI

William Ogilvieā€™s essay, An Essay on the Right of Property in Land, edited by Peter Gibb, offers a profound examination of land ownership principles and their implications. Ogilvie, who lived from 1736 to 1819, challenges the prevailing European land tenure system, advocating for a shift towards a model where property rights are based on occupancy or labor, ensuring each individualā€™s natural entitlement to an equal share of the earthā€™s resources.

Critiquing current land laws, Ogilvie argues for a balance between general occupancy rights and those derived from labor and cultivation. He suggests that agrarian laws could achieve this equilibrium but notes their historical failure due to a focus on limiting property acquisition rather than addressing the nature of property rights.

Economically, the essay dissects land value into original, improved, and improvable components. Ogilvie asserts that while the improved value belongs to landholders, the original and improvable values are communal. He proposes a land tax as the fairest form of taxation, reflecting communal ownership of the landā€™s original value.

Ogilvieā€™s work advocates for land policy reform to ensure fair taxation and prevent land monopolization. He envisions a future where agriculture is liberated from land monopolies, leading to prosperity for all nations. Overall, Ogilvieā€™s essay serves as a critical call for land reform, promoting equitable distribution of land and value, and stands as a significant contribution to discussions on property rights and social justice.

The full text of his essay can be found here.

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Progress & ConservationšŸ”°

Buddhist; Daoist, Stoic; Atheist, Darwinist; Mystic, Critical Rationalist; advocate of basic income, land value tax, and universal healthcare.