Land before capitalism

As late as the fourteenth or fifteenth century there was no such thing as land in the sense of freely salable, rent-producing property. There were lands, of course—estates, manors, and principalities—but these were emphatically not real estate to be bought and sold as the occasion warranted. Such lands formed the core of social life, provided the basis for prestige and status, and constituted the foundation for the military, judicial, and administrative organization of society. Although land was salable under certain conditions (with many strings attached), it was not generally for sale. A medieval nobleman in good standing would no more have thought of selling his land than the governor of Connecticut would think of selling a few counties to the governor of Rhode Island.

— Robert Heilbroner, The Worldly Philosophers (6th ed.), pg. 28

Advertisements

%d bloggers like this: