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The International Writers Magazine: Opinion

The End of Real Estate - and what can take its place
Josef Graf

Woven within the term "real estate" there lives a hint that the nature of the modern land transaction game has little authentic bearing in the real world (read spiritual realm). The notion to assert that it is "real" arises because, in fact, it has no basis in reality. After all, who ever said one could actually buy land, buy and sell portions of the Earth that, in essence, belong to all humanity, as well as all living beings upon the planet!
It only takes a few moments of sitting in stillness with the question of private land ownership to realize not only that the concept is a fabrication, but a dilemma entailing an extensive web of karmic bondage - for both its victims (all living beings on the planet) and its perpetrators.

Earth Vision holds that to the degree spiritual evolution proceeds on the planet humanity comes to embrace alternate relationships with the land. Further, any acts of profiteering from land transaction entail a transgression against the whole of the living community on a deeply moral level.

Lucid moments of perception - that is, moments when penetrating beyond the material veil - reveal the social and ecological damage that follows on the heels of land profiteering. When, for example, both parents of a family are required to work full time for endless years to sustain adequate shelter, the children of the world suffer.
The more that profiteering entails itself with the essentials of life - food, clothing, shelter - the deeper the karmic condition entwines.

As well, land allocation rendered on any other basis than what is best for the whole of a given ecosystem can only become an entanglement in that same karmic web.

Recent financial market discord is a symptom that greed-motivated speculation has led to a disturbing malaise in the relationship between the human community and land. The time is upon us to rescind all premise to private land ownership.

The game of real estate is a pretense. Land is actually priceless. It cannot be owned any more that can the starlight that radiates on us with its untaintable force. Neither can a nation own land. The purpose of nations and states and provinces has come and gone. At this juncture in time, true nation-hood must comprise eco-zones - or, rather, the world as one nation and its eco-zones as provinces. The Earth Vision project will elucidate this aspect more deeply in a future Current Issue.The modern house as existential burden The typical modern North American dwelling has become excessive and unwieldy, and not only unduly impacts the environment, but requires high initial investment, large cash infusions to sustain and furnish, and endless attention to maintain. Consider for a moment, how the modern "home" of several thousand square feet is actually large enough to house 10-16 people, given that one or two hundred square feet is more than enough for an individual.

When the time comes around to renew the roofing, or painting, or any of a roster of maintenance tasks, the bills are high. Imagine the tiny maintenance costs of a minimal 200 square foot home? Further, once one owns a large house, the natural consequence that follows is to fill it with "stuff" - the environmentally irresponsible raison d’etre of modern society. Shop ‘til the Earth drops. Fill your big space with stuff, and spend the rest of your days paying it all off (or else exploiting others to do so for you).

And so the real estate game continues, the distraction of the masses from a genuine lifestyle, while feeding the cycle of greed that leads to human downfall.

What then, are the alternatives? In what ways can humanity enter into a new and viable relationship with the land? Earth Vision proposes the following approaches to resolve the issue of private land speculation. They are put forward as a starting point, while inviting input from all interested parties to add to the process, which, in turn, can serve to moderate our false economic foundation and help avert impending financial and spiritual catastrophe.Authentic forms of relationship with land- Non-profit, not-for-profit motivations
- co-operative ownerships, versus notions of individual private property
- sustainable communities
- projects of a pure motivation, inspired by spirit
- the return of north-south migration tracts for bison herds upon the prairies (Earth Vision will be addressing a Current Issue related to this in the near future. See "The Return of Bison and Wolf" upcoming.)
- the re-allocation of political/nation/state/provincial boundaries, so that the real boundaries, those of the eco-systems, will prevail - e.g., the Hardwood Forest, the Great Lakes, the Boreal Forest, the Great Plains, etc.
- placing emphasis of ownership on buildings only, while holding an attitude of tenancy toward the land itself.
- The one room cabin concept
- One room on wheels, a small mobile home
- ? (you are invited to expand on this theme.) It should be noted, when reviewing the above concepts of land relationship, that none of the modalities entails a notion of absolute ownership. Because of this, it becomes possible for the status of relationship to land to rise, to evolve into a state of custodial-ship, and to comprise qualities of reverence, gratitude, and a sense of open-ness to the voice of the Earth itself. What does a particular area of land need from the human community to sustain and enhance itself? What other species co-habit, and how can that co-existence be optimized?

Unknown to most people, there have been a few individuals down through time who, aware of the illegitimacy of profiteering from land transactions, and recognizing their relationship with the Earth as one of tenancy, not ownership, have sold their property on the basis of its buildings and improvements only. These people have been successful on a social and spiritual level while avoiding negative karmic meshing. As well, the people on the receiving end of the transaction were able to acquire homes at significantly reduced costs. It is hoped that these people will continue to pass that property on via the same basis. Other spiritually wealthy individuals of a similar vein include those who have willed their land as conservation tracts or wilderness preserves.Toward a New Relationship with the Land
Riding on the epiphany of releasing land ownership, as depicted in the above examples, the Earth Vision project poses this line of questioning: "How can we unwind the devastation of real estate? And what vehicles can be used to begin the healing process?"

The following is a proposed model of deconstruction for the private property issue:
In a bid for true wealth, vs. material wealth, owners of property can sell their land at half the market value, on condition that the new owner will sell, in turn, at half their purchase price and/or bequeath the property to common ownership. Eventually, the price on the land would revert to zero (or, in effect, priceless), and join the common pool.

Such a model would entail a true and lasting gift to one’s children and grandchildren, ad infinitum, as the question of shelter would become, once again, viable and natural. It makes no sense to bequeath private property to one’s heirs, not only on a karmic basis, but also in that, unless those descendants were to relegate themselves to elite status, more and more of their associates would wind up homeless, semi-homeless, or shelter-challenged. To follow the tangent of our present real estate debacle can only lead to deplorable conditions for the common lot.Meanwhile, how do we proceed in a manner that contributes, less and less, to the real estate industry?

A minimalist lifestyle translates into a space of a mere hundred square feet, or so - in effect, a one-room cabin, either on communal land or on wheels, which becomes moveable when needed. Joining a sustainable community resolves the land question in that communal ownership is closer to the everyone-owns-the-land reality. Further, because of communal pooling of funds, the banks, which are the right hand of the real estate industry, get only minimal, if any, percentage of the financial activity. (note that a future Earth Vision Current issue will address alternative banking - in an article entitled, "Where are the Green Banks?")

The reader can refer to the links on the EV website for further information on some of the above options.
Above all, the reader is invited to entertain further resolutions to the land allocation issue, and contribute to the evolution of this article. This is an open-ended article, as is the associated weblog. Feel free to send responses via email to the author, or to enter them on the blog.

Think what you can do with your life, now that you have freed up so much time due to a pragmatic resolution to the question of shelter. . . .

© Josef Graf

See other Current Issues of the Earth Vision project on the Earth Vision website:

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