From: Albert Jay Nock

In the beginning, when the business was in the push-cart stage, conquest amounted to little more than hit-and-run robbery. A gang of herdsmen or seafaring freebooters, properly fired with the righteousness of their cause by their self­-anointed “big shot,” would swoop down on defenseless villagers, butcher them and make off with whatever moveable property struck their fancy, particularly virgins. (See Book of Joshua.)

Some chieftain with a turn for economics hit upon the fact that living men can he put to profitable use; the dead are non­productive. From this deduction came the institution of chattel slavery. A Solon regularized the practice with legal exactitude, thus giving it the stamp of respectability, and an ecclesiast saw fit to sanctify it, The profits of conquest could now be enjoyed on high ground. One difficulty remained: the slaves needed watching, particularly when it was possible for them to go AWOL, squat on free land and set up in business for themselves. This matter of free land had to be looked into.

Thus came the third and final element in the formula of conquest. Since the of land is synonymous with living, it was observed that people would pay for access to it if they were compelled to; the land must be made scarce, hard to get. To do that it was necessary to pre-empt, fence-in or claim title to all the known, desirable land. An who presumed to use owned land became punishable trespassers. However, to avoid such unpleasant consequences, the users need only to subscribe to tenancy—meaning that they share their output with the landowners. In that way the institution of slavery was made obsolete; the tenants could be depended upon to chip in regularly with rent contributions. At first rent was paid in kind, later in money. Force was unnecessary, dodging was impossible; competition for the use of sites would regulate the amount of tribute. The Greeks had a word for it, the Romans fashioned it into law and the English gave it a tradition. It is the institution of Real Estate, (Observe: Norman Conquest of England, English conquest of South Africa, Boer conquest of the natives,)

The virtue of this technique is that it is self-operating. It rests on a natural law, the Law of Rent. Reduced to its simplest terms, the law amounts to this: if two people want access to a given piece of land, that site acquires a value; if a million bid for the site, its value goes up in proportion. It cannot fail. The incentive for the bidding is the desire to live, than which there is nothing stronger, The site under auction represents an opportunity to produce things by which men live, and the top price will be all that can be produced on that site above a living. Each site is a monopoly unto itself; duplication is impossible, since land cannot be created. To boost the bidding there must be a large number of anxious workers and a comparative shortage of site. Procreation takes care of the one factor, while speculation and the law of trespass make for the necessary scarcity. It’s sure-fire, air-tight, fool-proof.