Agrarian Justice

Agrarian Justice, written by Thomas Paine, was published in 1797. This work was based on the contention that in the state of nature, "the earth, in its natural uncultivated state... was the common property of the human race." Yet to better cultivate the land, private ownership was established. Thus Paine views private property as necessary, but that the basic needs of all humanity must be somehow provided for by those with property. This in some sense is their "payment" to non-property holders for the right to hold private property. Paine proposes a detailed plan to tax property owners to pay for the needs of the poor, which could be considered as the precursor of the modern idea of citizen's income or basic income.

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