Sunday, April 17, 2005

Wealth Management

Chapter 25 of Leviticus, the Old Testament guide to the law, in verses 14-17, has this to say about buying and selling property:

14 "If you sell or buy property from one of your countrymen, don't cheat him. 15 Calculate the purchase price on the basis of the number of years since the Jubilee. He is obliged to set the sale price on the basis of the number of harvests remaining until the next Jubilee. 16 The more years left, the more money; you can raise the price. But the fewer years left, the less money; decrease the price. What you are buying and selling in fact is the number of crops you're going to harvest. 17 Don't cheat each other. Fear your God. I am God, your God."

Of course, things were different then. In the same chapter, Levi explains who it was OK to hold in slavery, and what property rights attached to those slaves.

Florida has a reputation for being a strong property rights state, or so I've heard. (Is there a state that grants less property rights? I suppose there could be.) Maybe this will shed some light.

By the way, in the Levite law, a landowner was supposed to plant his fields only in six years of each seven, and in the fiftieth year a Jubilee was held to which attached certain obligations and privileges that could restore ownership of land to its original owner, even if it had been rightfully sold or taken previously. I imagine that the descendants of the Tequesta indians would look with favor on a return to Levitical law. Or would if they didn't thinks as the inland indians did, that land was not something to be owned, but used gently.

What has any of this to do with Key West? Tell me if you know.

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