For economics in property, the legal real property consideration of justice resonates in economics and the economy. Early writers on justice such as  Paine (1797) on ‘Agrarian Justice’, proposed that those who possess cultivated land owe the community a ground rent, which justifies an estate tax to fund universal old-age and disability pensions.

The financial mechanics of which is a fixed sum to be paid to all citizens upon reaching maturity. Rawls (1971) ’A theory of justice’ is a touchstone for political theory of distributive justice, looking normatively to rebalance equality of opportunity and helping the more disadvantaged in society.

Here we find some consideration of political economy and economic systems to rebalance some of the injustice. In a similar consideration of justice, the important recognition by Sen (1999) from his text ‘Development as freedom’, serves as a reminder that economic development needs to be set in relation to freedom and access of opportunity to redress imbalances.

In place based approaches to economics and justice, Fainstein (2010) in ‘The Just City’ argues for normative social justice based approaches rather than growth strategies to deal with city problems of inequity, democracy and diversity. Plus as applied to property we find authors more normatively considering property such as housing as a ‘just’ issue.

With say Dorling (2014) in ‘All That is Solid’ putting forward a focus on the direction of travel for housing to encourage a long look at wealth and inequality, rather than simply building more homes as simple solution to a housing supply issue. For Ryan-Collins et al. (2017), ‘Rethinking the economics of land and housing’ in this justice tradition sets some more practical and relevant solutions to rebalancing the ‘crisis’ of housing and land.

Redistribution of income and wealth is a concern of all governments, the economic mechanisms to do so may be more ‘just’ than others.


Dorling, D. (2014). All That is Solid: How the great housing disaster defines our times, and what we can do About it. Penguin.

Fainstein, S. (2010). The Just City. Cornell University Press

Paine, T. (1797). Agrarian Justice. R. Folwell.

Rawls, J. (1971). A theory of justice. Harvard university press.

Ryan-Collins, J., Lloyd, T., & Macfarlane, L. (2017). Rethinking the economics of land and housing. Zed Books Ltd.

Sen, A. (1999). Development as freedom. Oxford Paperbacks.

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