THE IMPORTANCE OF LAND TO THE LEGAL ECONOMIST
AKUA SERWAA ASOMANI-ADEM
Land is defined in the Black’s Law Dictionary as“ an immovable and indestructible three dimensional area consisting of a portion of the earth’s surface, the space above and below the surface, and everything growing on or permanently affixed to it.” To understand why land would be of any importance to the legal economist it is essential to understand what economics is, how it relates to land and the law, and finally, who the legal economist is. Economics is a social science which is mainly concerned with how to efficiently use of resources to obtain full economic benefit from them. Law and economics is a field of study which uses basic economics principles to analyse certain policies, their effect, and make recommendations for these policies where needed. A legal economist could therefore be defined as one who analyses policies and their effect using basic economic principles and makes recommendations for reform. Land is regarded in economics as fundamental to any form of production. Henry George in his article ‘The Irish Land Question’ stated that land ‘is to the human being the only means by which he can obtain access to the material universe or utilize its powers. Without land man cannot exist. To whom the ownership of land is given, to him is given the virtual ownership of the men who must live upon it. When this necessity is absolute, then does he necessarily become their absolute master’. The way in which land is used has a profound impact on the economy of a nation. The legal economist here would look at the policies regulating land ownership and use in Ghana and analyse whether these policies aid in the efficient use of land to maximize production and thus ensure that not only the citizens’ need for food and shelter are met, but also sustainable development. As land is an immovable property, when it is sold the commodity actually sold is not the land but a set of abstract...
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