Some of those notions show up in a recent web posting of an article in the Valley Reporter, in which the editor (thats the byline) writes that the Waitsfield Planning Commission had an interesting and candid discussion about; and use, prime agricultural lands, and the perceived notion of a speculative right to a financial return on land. Note the pejorative spin in the final phrase, and never mind that theres not an acre in Waitsfield which would be considered prime ag soils in comparison with Corn Belt land in Indiana or Illinois.
The editor continues: Part of the discussion by planners this week had to do with the notion of the land, specifically the prime agricultural lands by which we are fed, being an asset that needs to be held in trust for all the public. This notion has ancient roots, going back to royal ownership of the kingdom parceled out to barns and earls whose serfs actually worked it, to the more recent Karl Mark prescription that the means of production must be owned by government and managed in collectives.
The same notion of collective ownership showed up in the first years of the Jamestown colony 400 years ago, but was abandoned for private ownership after a few years when everyone came to realize that land owned by, supposedly, all was actually worked poorly by a few, and there wasnt enough food produced to feed not only the few producers but the many non-producers as well.
Now, the first inklings of a movement toward collective ownership are showing up in
Waitsfield. I suppose its not surprising, considering Vermonts remarkable leftward shift in political philosophy in the last few decades. But I was surprised anyway. Maybe thats because Im nowhere near as forward-thinking and progressive and idealistic about the superior few governing the inferior many as the majority of Vermonters today, the old-timers with their nobodys goin to tell me refrain having long since self-silenced, moved away, or died off. Anyway, I wasnt smart enough to predict whats now happening in Waitsfield.
My excuse is that, as New York Yankees 1950s-era Yogi Berra is reputed to have said, Its tough to make predictions, particularly about the future.