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Change in property structure

What´s the problem?

A legal distinction is made between possession and ownership. The main difference between possession and ownership is that possession is requiring physical custody or control of an object while ownership is the right through which something goes to someone. Property rights thus restrict access to things such as resources and housing and create an artificial scarcity that stands in the way of solidary access. This applies both to the means of providing for existence and to the means of acting as a basic need of life. This problem becomes very clear with the phenomenon of land grabbing (appropriation of land in a usually unjust way).


What´s the measure?

Stronger reference to Article 15 of the Basic Law: "Land, natural resources and means of production may be transferred to common property or other forms of public service for the purpose of socialization by a law regulating the nature and extent of compensation."

Severe restriction of income from the ownership of production factors such as land, buildings or intellectual property rights.

Legislation to allow new legal forms that are oriented towards the "common good" as well as "tax and other privileges for common good-oriented economic activities".

The "freedom to shape the law derived from the fundamental right to general freedom of action (so-called "private autonomy") can be used to combine legal figures from contract and company law (organisational constitutional law) in such a way ....] that the saleability of land is permanently excluded and that more open forms of disposal over management and use are made possible."

How can the implementation look like?

  • Restriction of income from property (e.g. rent caps)
  • Criteria for land sales to prevent land grabbing
  • Establishment of criteria for expropriation for the common good, including
    • in case of vacancy or non-use
    • in case of ecological damage
    • in case of disproportionality between profit and social damage
    • in case of speculation
  • legal and financial promotion of → commons


How can climate change be counteracted and how can economic conditions be created that support effective climate protection measures?

The measures ensure careful and sufficient use of resources and provide social security for people in the transformation processes.


References to other measures

Socially just redistribution and services of general interests Promotion of commons and a solidary community Decommodification through free social infrastructure


Problems of social, global and intergenerational justice

  • Application of the above measures to German legal entities abroad.
  • Respect of common rights, e.g. of indigenous peoples or in case of small-scale farming of land, forests, lakes, rivers, etc. by German legal entities abroad, even in case of insufficient legal recognition in the respective national framework.
  • Assumption of responsibility for measures within the framework of compensation for historical expropriations of commons in former colonies.
  • The Federal Government should work for an expansion of the UN Treaties on economy and human rights in the above-mentioned sense.
  • Promotion of commonwealths beyond the national level.


Further literature and sources

Relation between Possession and Ownership: Mayan Shekhar. 2.08.2019: https://www.legalbites.in/relation-between-possession-and-ownership/ (visited on 29.02.2020)

Artikel 15 Grundgesetz: https://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/gg/art_15.html

Bollier & Helfrich: Frei, fair und lebendig. Die Macht der Commons. 2019 https://www.transcript-verlag.de/978-3-8376-4530-9/frei-fair-und-lebendig-die-macht-der-commons/

Meretz & Sutterlütti: Kapitalimus aufheben. Eine Einladung über Utopie und Transformation neu nachzudenken.
2018? https://www.vsa-verlag.de/nc/buecher/detail/artikel/kapitalismus-aufheben/https://www.vsa-verlag.de/nc/buecher/detail/artikel/kapitalismus-aufheben/

Neuling: Rechtsformen für alternative Betriebe. In: Kritische Justiz 1986, S. 309

Bollier: Reinventing Law for the Commons. A Strategy Memo for the Böll Foundation. 2015 https://wiki.p2pfoundation.net/Reinventing_Law_for_the_Commons

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