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This is a concept by Thomas Paine dealing with the injustice of the situation with civilisation then (and still now) that there were a lot of 'wretched' people and only some rich. It's very long and very hard to read so I will only give you an overview here!
As always, /msg me for suggestions/corrections/etc.

In a nutshell, he said that humans did not have the right to 'own' land, and until God decides to start up his/her own estate agency, we never will. This is based on the fact that humans did not create the earth and had no legitimate claim over it. Since no one was going to claim the land, then society could. This means that people occupying land should have to pay rent to society. This rent would be worked out for the whole term of the ownership and payed when the land is passed on ie. inherited. Bearing in mind the land was never owned in the first place, you can only pass on what you did to the land - the cultivation, value added to it.
The total rent owed to society can then be used to benefit those that are unable to earn for themselves, the over 50s, the lame and the blind. There would also be a one off lump sum for every person upon reaching the age of 21 so that they would have something to start life with.

What Paine described is the earliest decsription of a benefit system that we all know and love today that I have heard of with pensions and disability benefit. The lump sum given to people upon reaching the age of majority is something that the current Labour Government in the UK has proposed.

It is refreshing that these ideas have been thought out before isn't it!

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