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Is Land Overused or Underused?

Many environmentalists dislike private property because they think it is overused, too prone to development for narrow economic purposes. At least some prominent Latin American revolutionaries think differently.  Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez is a case in point.  He believes that private property is too prone to under-use.

The Chavez government recently created a National Agricultural Commission charged with ending the scourge of under-use of land. According to this report:

This Commission will have a "constitutional mandate" to incorporate the land it considers "idle, abandoned or underused" into "the productive process of the country," according to the Decree on the Reorganization of the Ownership and Use of Land Suitable for Agricultural Use. The land so considered will be handed over to groups of the population and organized communities for its productive, sustainable use.

Perhaps on average both groups, environmentalists and tinpot dictators, are right and private property generally is neither overused nor underused.


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