Land and the Given Economy
The Hermeneutics and Phenomenology of Dwelling
Imprint: Northwestern University Press
Alarming environmental degradation makes ever more urgent the reconciliation of political economy and sustainability. Land and the Given Economy examines how the landed basis of human existence converges with economics, and it offers a persuasive new conception of land that transcends the flawed and inadequate accounts in classical and neoclassical economics.
Todd S. Mei grounds this work in a rigorous review of problematic economic conceptions of land in the work of John Locke, Adam Smith, David Ricardo, John Stuart Mill, Karl Marx, Henry George, Alfred Marshall, and Thorstein Veblen.
Mei then draws on the thought of Martin Heidegger to posit a philosophical clarification of the meaning of land—its ontological nature. He argues that central to rethinking land is recognizing its unique manner of being, described as its "givenness." Concluding with a discussion of ground rent, Mei reflects on specific strategies for incorporating the philosophical account of land into contemporary economic policies.
Revivifying economic frameworks that fail to resolve the impasse between economic development and sustainability, Land and the Given Economy offers much of interest to scholars and readers of philosophy, environmentalism, and the full spectrum of political economy.
"Mei's ontological analysis of the land does more than just question the nature of our fundamental relation to land: it also questions the fundamental relation humans have to each other." —Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
"Of the many crises of unfairness facing us today, the unequal distribution of benefits reaped from land is one of the most intractable and pressing. It can only get worse, as populations grow and climate changes. In response to the demand for an ethics adequate to the injustices of land ownership and privation, Todd Mei renews radical theses on land taxation. To achieve this, he develops critical readings of modern economic theories through important new interpretations of phenomenology and hermeneutics. His claims for a fundamental human relation to land are timely and testimony to the progressive power of contemporary philosophical thought." —James Williams, Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation
“Innovative and challenging, Land and the Given Economy makes an important intervention into contemporary thinking about land and economy.” —Jeff Malpas, author of Heidegger's Topology: Being, Place, World and Place and Experience: A Philosophical Topography