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Rental Nations

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Nations have, traditionally, had areas of land that they owned (for the most part). The borders of these land areas have been defined by things like coastlines (which are expensive to move) or fences with neighbouring nations, which can only be moved using war.

Like families, nations need differing amounts of space at different times in their histories. Populations expand and contract; people shift from rural areas into cities, then get broadband and want to move back out to the countryside; the ebb and flow of desertification can leave a nation with too little agricable land or too little sand, and so forth.

The solution to all of this is stuningly obvious. Nations should switch from ownership to rental of land areas. Rents would be set by market forces so, for example, the south of what is now France would probably be quite expensive, whereas Wales or Greenland would be a bargain. Africa might be really quite expensive, given its mineral reserves.

The transition from ownership to rental would be tricky to manage. In particular, who would actually own the land, and therefore be the landlord? We'd start by creating an international land ownership organization (ILOO). Then, a round of bidding would determine the market rental value of each block of land (say, 100km x 100km blocks). The current owners of the land would then receive credits from ILOO in proportion to the rentable value of the land they currently own.

After that, nations could decide what to do with their credits. They might opt to stay put, in which case they just pay a yearly rental charge back to the ILOO. Alternatively, they might choose to move, or to expand, by outbidding other nations for particular areas of land.

Rented land (ie, all land) could be rented either furnished or unfurnished, or any intermediate state. "Fully furnished" land would include all buildings, factories, infrastructure and so forth. Clearly, it would be in the general interest for most rentals to be "furnished", to avoid pointless cycles of demolition and reconstruction. However, some areas might be rented unfurnished; in these cases, furnishing the land might add to its rental value, allowing a nation to recoup some of its costs if it chose to move on.

MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 10 2014

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       Looks a bit like an upwards extension of feudalism, but actually I think there could be some interesting benefits to this. Presumably anyone or anything could come up with cash to bid for an area. So, for example, when the South Downs comes up for lease renewal, an anarchist collective could use its secret stored stash of gold and tinned beans as mortgage collaterral, and outbid the English and French governments who have already secretly agreed between themselves not to have a bidding war over it.
pocmloc, Sep 11 2014
  

       But the rental agreement would have all sorts of clauses which might annoy the anarchists, e.g. no pets, no loud music after 10pm, no hanging out washing, etc.
hippo, Sep 11 2014
  

       // The current owners of the land would then receive credits from ILOO in proportion to the rentable value of the land//   

       Presumably these credits would be issued to individual citizens of each country. The citizens could allocate their credits a bit like voting.   

       Over time, the credits would gradually adjust to be equal per capita worldwide, rather than being proportional to population density in a given area.
pocmloc, Sep 11 2014
  

       The rental agreement analogies used here are for residential property, rather than commercial property, which seems like a more appropriate analogue: if there is a single feudal overlord (the ILOO) you can bet yr balls they will insist on the landleases being on a ful repairing and insuring basis, such that the tenant 'nation' is responsible for all upkeep of the premises and, importantly, handing them back in the same condition that they were let in. This poses problems, primarily due to the effects of nature and the finitity of resources.
calum, Sep 11 2014
  

       Hong Kong ;p   

       Oh yeah... & in some ways the British crown system, (technically) it all belongs (or did?) to the Queen.
Skewed, Sep 11 2014
  
      
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