Dr. Martin Hash Podcast

Politics & Philosophy by Dr. Martin D. Hash, Esq.

458 Adverse Possession


What about the situation where billionaires buy up huge tracts of land, millions of acres, and turn it into their own private natural reserve? Ted Turner owns 2 million fenced off acres, containing his 14 ranches and 4 girlfriends he visits on a rotating schedule. In fact, of the 2.3 billion acres of land in the United States, government owns 37%, Indian reservations are 3%, leaving 60% to private landowners, of which the top 10 private landowners together own almost 15 million acres, and The Nature Conservancy has tied up another 21 million acres. Considering The West was settled by offering a family “40 acres and a mule,” there's no longer any reason to raise mules.

Adverse Possession is the legal principle that a person can gain legal title to land simply by occupying it for some amount of time; so-called “squatter's rights.” The concept descends from Roman law that allowed someone who was in possession of land to become the lawful proprietor if the original owner did not evict them in two years, and it was held as traditional English Common law after that. In the U.S., the length of time varies State by State, anywhere from 5 to 40 years. Of course, it doesn't work against The State because “no time runs against the king,” nullum tempus occurrit regi.

The Utilitarian philosophy that the most efficient ownership of goods goes to the maximum utility seems to rely on who's defining what the “maximum utility” is. If a squatter stakes out a little homestead on some Playboy's private savanna, that seems like a high utility, to the homesteader anyway, but the Playboy may want to build another ranch there, making room for a couple more girlfriends. I'm thinking Adverse Possession and Playboy billionaires are going to come to loggerheads in the future.

Categories | PRay TeLL, Dr. Hash


Filetype: MP3 - Size: 2.66MB - Duration: 2:54 m (128 kbps 44100 Hz)