FondsGoetheanum: Economy growth

It’s time to protect the land

Like air and water, land is a common property. We are responsible for ensuring that future generations can continue to use the land: for agriculture, industry or housing. For this to happen income from this common property would have to fund cultural activities.

Already today there are possibilities and examples of how a future handling of land in favour of the general public could be approached.
Mrs X had often donated to charities or charitable purposes. One-off donations did not have a lasting effect for them. She therefore sought an opportunity to devote part of her assets to the support of initiatives and projects in ways that would have longer-lasting impact.
To this end, she sold a house at historical cost price, but kept the ground on which the house is built. Together with the buyers of the house, she agreed on a monthly ‘rent payment’ for land use, a ground rent. From then on, she herself donated this ground rent – the so-called ‘housing interest rate’ – to non-profit purposes. Over the years she was able to donate much more than if she had sold the land at that time and given the proceeds away.
In order to ensure that this arrangement would continue beyond her death, Mrs X established a foundation whose purpose is to continue to guarantee the way she handled land.
This has fundamentally changed the way she deals with land in two ways. On the one hand, she made her property a ‘source’ of financial contributions to charitable activities; on the other, she made it possible for land to be used independently of its owner.
Mrs. X converted the land use allocation from an economic to a legal and cultural matter, thereby making the land a ‘public good’.

Jonathan Keller