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Duffus, William M. / Report on agricultural settlement and farm ownership. Part I: state loans to farmers

Chapter VII. Farm tenancy in Wisconsin and the need of a system of long-time loans for the tenant farmer,   pp. 130-143 PDF (3.8 MB)

Page 139

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landlord of all farms operated bay tenants and all tenants, conse-
quently, tenants of the state. Third, it may be assumed that
farm tenancy in any form is not only undesirable but unneces-
sary and the state may attempt to break up existing systems
of landlordism and land speculation and to prevent their rise
in the future through the use of systems of taxation designed
to discourage absentee landlordisin and to promote ownership
by the occupier. Fourth, it may be assumed, as in the previous
case, that farm tenancy is unnecessary and the state may rely
on some form of state-aided purchase of land to help the tenant
to become an owner and thus reduce or entirely abolish land-
lordism as a permanent institution.
   The assumption that widespread farm tenancy under a sys-
tem of private landlordism is inevitable shows, in the opinion
of the writer, not only a sad lack of imagination but also a sad
lack of information. Denmark has proven that private land-
lordism is not inevitable and Great Britain is demonstrating to-
day that one of the worst systems of private landlordism that
ever existed-landlordism  in Ireland-is no more inevitable
than private landlordisin in Denmark. Germany has also dem-
onstrated that it is possible to avoid a general system of pri-
vate landlordism. I In the face of these facts it is absurd to
urge the legal fixing of the contract relations between the land-
lord and tenant as a general remedy for the evils of farm ten-
ancy. Such measures are perhaps needed to improve conditions
with reference to the small proportion of farm tenancy which
should probably always be allowed to prevail, but as a solution
for the great social and economic problems of farm tenancy
these measures are hopeless.
    The second method of attacking the problems of farm ten-
 ancy has more to be said in its favor. If the state could retain
 the ownership of all land, as has been urged by some great eco-
 nomists., political scientists and statesmen, and lease it for long
 terms of years at a cash rent fixed at a certain proportion of
 the capital value of the land as appraised say, once in a genera-
 tion, many of the evils of tenant-farming would disappear and
 there would be no evils due to the existence of a landed aris-
    ' The production of tenant-operated farms in Germany is only 14
  per cent.'

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