6. (2013 July) Opinion: Noam Chomsky: Who Owns the Earth?

In a recent article posted on truth-out.org entitled Who Owns the Earth? Noam Chomsky points out that modern borders were created through colonial methods of divide and conquer, horrific acts of violence that project division and hostility into the present.

“Almost all borders have been imposed and maintained by violence, and are quite arbitrary. The Lebanon-Israel border was established a century ago by the Sykes-Picot Agreement, dividing up the former Ottoman Empire in the interests of British and French imperial power, with no concern for the people who happened to live there, or even for the terrain. The border makes no sense… Surveying the terrible conflicts in the world, it’s clear that almost all are the residue of imperial crimes and the borders that the great powers drew in their own interests.”


Earlier in the article he states:

“If Palestine ever gains independence in something like the terms of the overwhelming international consensus, its borders with Israel will likely erode through normal commercial and cultural interchange, as has happened in the past during periods of relative calm.

That development could be a step toward closer regional integration, and perhaps the slow disappearance of the artificial border dividing the Galilee between Israel and Lebanon, so that hikers and others could pass freely where my wife and I crossed 60 years ago.”

It’s hard not to draw a parallel between Chomsky’s sentiments and the Georgist philosophy, to see the practical application that would uphold everyone’s right to the commons whilst maximizing the commercial and cultural exchange necessary to create peace in the region.

Dan Sullivan explains how LVT would be applicable to extra-national rent sharing in the middle east, comments that are equally applicable to all countries where tensions run high along borders.

“The Jewish National Fund owns 95% of Israel and leases it out (at well below market value, which is why leases sell like deeds, as they do in Arden). The JNF could increase the rents and share those rents with all residents of Israel/Palestine, and this would solve the problem. Palestinians, who tend to hold the least valuable land, would quickly become loyal supporters of Israel.”

-Dan Sullivan (personal correspondence)


1 thought on “6. (2013 July) Opinion: Noam Chomsky: Who Owns the Earth?

  1. In Israel the valuable land is not owned by the JNF, nor is much of the city land leased by this organization. The control of land use (except for some of the most costly privately held land) is in the hands of the Israel Land Authority, who are restricting its use and holding back on its access. This is a very political matter of which land being held by ex-kibbuzim (farming communities, many of which have gone bust, except for their land monopoly) conprise a significant part.
    The minister for the ILA has recently been changed but the policy for holding land unused remains. If only Dan Sullivan’s suggestion were possible it would be GRAND!

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