Sunday, April 22, 2012

I humbly submit

Please see the revised document.

Beyond Earth
A Settlement Charter

Be it known, unclaimed land exists in the universe and the members of this legally binding agreement will make reasonable individual claims by possession of this property and defend those claims. The members of this agreement are those that make a claim in accordance with its terms.

We imperfect humans desire freedom including the freedom to live where we may. We claim certain natural rights of life, liberty and property and the responsibility to defend those rights.

The terms of this charter are that members may make a single individual claim in an orderly manner from a registry of claims that shall be established. These claims will be made by possession (physical presence) in front of two witnesses. Individual claims shall be one square kilometer in area and separated from other claims by a perimeter road. Individuals shall have absolute property rights to this claim (including all mineral rights) and can sell or lease it in whole or in parts, developed or undeveloped, as soon as the claim is registered. Any part sold must transfer all property rights and have access to the perimeter road either directly or by road within the property. A road must be of reasonable width as determined by the local community.

In addition to individual claims, a company claim of 1000 square kilometers that must not surround any individual claim or deny passage across the company claim, may be made for every individual person that is provided free transportation by the company so the individual may possess and has registered their own individual claim. The company claim must identify the unique individual claim that authorizes the company claim. A company may make multiple claims under this provision.

Freedom requires consent. Consent must be true and not a fiction imposed by others. Absolute property rights means that no others may impose a tax (by any name) on a property owner without their true consent or with threat of force. Where true consent exists, services may be provided for a fee upon property owners by contract. The service contract and fees must have terms for dissolution.

Property may not be taken from its owner (including those that inherit) by force or threat of force.

All members, by their honor, agree to join in defense of this charter against any attack.

Update: To avoid some of the problems that might arise from a 1000 sq. km. company claim; We might add the provision that only one sq. km. of the 1000 can be claimed at a time (with the perimeter road requirement) and the next one sq. km. from the 1000 allotment can be claimed only after the first is entirely sold. So if a company brings a dozen people to mars and they all make their claims, the company would be able to claim 12000 sq. km. but only one sq. km. at a time.

If the company wants to develop land, they would buy it from a colonist (in order to continue making their own claims.) Buying from a colonist could include swapping land with the colonist or colonists. If the colonist wants more land, they would buy it from the company or other colonists. This would help to mitigate the problem of land being taken out of use for a long periods of time or communities being isolated by vast areas of undeveloped property.

Now suppose you need more than one sq. km. for a development? In that case the part of the perimeter road between two adjacent areas just becomes part of that property. Internal roads can follow whatever pattern makes sense and allows subplots access to the remaining perimeter road of the combined regions.

Update 2: Some have said a one square kilometer individual claim is too much because a community need to be close enough to each other for mutual support. The value of land will vary depending on its location so some claims are worth more than others. That's true. However, nothing prevents members of a community from swapping some land so they can live closer together. The reason for a good sized claim is because these pioneers are risking their lives so should be rewarded with a big enough claim to provide them with a lifetime of income with careful management. One use of their claim would be to divide it up into 27 (100m x 320m) sections separated by roads which could further be divided into 16 (40m x 50m) subplots (432, fewer if bigger) each with a minimum of 40m frontage on roads, that could then be developed (or not) and sold to provide a lifetime of income. How much income depends on what the market will bear over time. Suppose it cost $50k to develop (with material and labor) a piece of property and you can get 5% profit on average. $2500 x 432 provides over a million dollars of lifetime income and that's if you choose not to work to earn more. You have other options as well. You don't have to sell it off a half acre at a time. You could cover it with solar panels and sell off the power to other colonists. You could rent out farmland or apartment spaces. Economics offers lots of options when you have assets to work with.