Rent the Payment for the Use of Land 1

ore, tenants, lease, system, royalty, tons, country, united and value

Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6

From-this state of affairs, so graphically stated, it is a far cry to that in New South Wales, where the tenants on the crown lands are both lease-holders and freeholders. Almost every form of tenure is to be found. The government administration in 1912 favored the lease-hold as compared with the freehold system, for two main reasons : (1) the administration opposed private ownership of land, on the ground of high public policy; (2) privately owned land tends to concentrate into large holdings. Under the new act the homestead farm may be held by lease, in perpetu ity, at a rental of 2.5 per cent of the capitaliied value of the farm. The value originally accepted is not changed for twenty-five years, but after that period it is changed evely twenty years. In Ireland, Den mark and other lands provisions are made for the commuting of rents and for the purchase of the land by tenants.

3. A typical November, 1906, the newspapers commented widely upon the high price paid for ore under what was known as the Great Northern Ore lease. According to the agreement in this contract, the Oliver Alining Company (the min ing branch of the -United States Steel Corporation) agreed to pay $1.67 per ton for ore delivered at the Lake Superior docks. Of this amount, 80 cents was for transportation and 85 cents for the ore. With each year the royalty paid for the ore was to be in creased 3.4 per cent per ton until 1917. The lease provided for a minimum output of 750,000 tons in 1907, to which there were to be added 750,000 tons annually until the output should reach 8,250,000 tons, in 191'7. The ore on the property was estimated at 500,000,000 tons. Before the lease expired, however, the leasing corporation found the burden too great and-gave up the lease. The case is a notable one and marks the high tide of iron-ore royalties. This ex ample raises the question, What is a royalty ? In open-pit mining, with every turn of a windlass or scoop of a great steam-shovel the deposits left in the earth by na ture are steadily lessened. Every day the value/of the mine declines, and in the end there is nothing but the galleries, shafts arid surface equip ment for the owner to claim. A royalty paid by the lessee is supposed to return annually to the owner, in varying sums, the value of the materials in the ground. In addition, the accessibility of the mine, the geological content and the ease with which the mining can be done, point to the payment of a real rent for these advantages. Hence, a royalty covers both the value of the ming, on what mio-lit be termed an annuity basis, and a rent for its use. How im portant this consideration is in thThnited States is shown by the place that this country has come to occupy in the mining industry. In the output of

minerals the United States holds first place, produc ing more than a third of the coal, more than half of the petroleum, and nearly all of the natural gas, in the world ; it is also first in the production of the great industrial metals, iron, copper, lead, zinc and phos phate rock, and is well toward the front in the output of gold, silver, mercury and minor minerals.

4. Land policies.—The Torrens system was first introduced in Australia; it has spread to other British colonies, notably to the various provinces of the Do minion of Canada, and has been incorporated into the legislation of several of the states of the United States. It provides for the registration of land titles in a government office. When the registration is accepted the title is thereby insured and can be upheld against all claimants. The advantage of the system lies in the simplicity of registration and the indefeas ibility of the title. It gives to wealth represented by land, a mobility which it does not possess under the traditional systems.

Just what conditions of contract are exacted by owners of land depends upon the social environment. In a new country, the owner can ask but a nominal rent, since many land-owners desire to secure the same tenant. _Moreover, the tenant is able to make very satisfactory contracts to cultivate the soil for others. In a densely populated country, the land owner is in the position of a quasi-monopolist, able to demand a much larger sbare than he could secure in a newer country. In both instances the renter is free to make his contract. His position, in being able to change occupation if need be, is in marked contrast to the situation of a renter in the period when the cultivator was held to the soil. Such a system of feudal dues had the advantage of holding the popula tion to the soil, and establishing an assurance that there would be a surplus of products sufficient to meet the needs of the people.

In the United States the land policy of the govern ment has encouraged the widest ownership of land, and even indirectly stimulated speculation in land values. But such tendencies are a hindering factor in the movement to change tenants or laborers into home owners. The census of 1910 showed that 37 per cent of the farmers in the United States were tenants, tho many of them are on their way to owner ship. With the growth of population, the price of land is sure to rise and, as it does, newcomers will find it difficult to purchase. Under such circumstances, they become tenants to the owners, who will move to town and live on their rent. In this way a condition similar to that in Europe is gradually being built up, and the land question and the problem of rent are of great importance.

Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6