Page:The Complete Works of Henry George Volume 3.djvu/229

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OPEN LETTER TO POPE LEO XIH. 37

it for grazing cows or growing potatoes that you would found the title to the land now covered by the city of New York and having a value of thousands of millions of dollars ? But your contention is not valid. Industry expended on land gives ownership in the fruits of that industry, but not in the land itself, just as industry expended on the ocean would give a right of ownership to the fish taken by it, but not a right of ownership in the ocean. Nor yet is it true that private ownership of land is neces- sary to secure the fruits of labor on land ; nor does the improvement of land create benefits indistinguishable and inseparable from the land itself. That secure pos- session is necessary to the use and improvement of land I have already explained, but that ownership is not necessary is shown by the fact that in all civilized coun- tries land owned by one person is cultivated and improved by other persons. Most of the cultivated land in the British Islands, as in Italy and other countries, is cultivated not by owners but by tenants. And so the costliest buildings are erected by those who are not owners of the land, but who have from the owner a mere right of possession for a time on condition of certain payments. Nearly the whole of London has been built in this way, and in New York, Chicago, Denver, San Francisco, Sydney and Melbourne, as well as in conti- nental cities, the owners of many of the largest edifices will be found to be different persons from the owners of the ground. So far from the value of improvements being inseparable from the value of land, it is in indi- vidual transactions constantly separated. For instance, one-half of the land on which the immense Grand Pacific Hotel in Chicago stands was recently separately sold, and in Ceylon it is a not infrequent occurrence for one person to own a fruit-tree and another to own the ground in which it is implanted.

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