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Altneuland- Theodor Herzl's Zionist Utopia

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Reschid nodded. "That is correct. Our profits have grown considerably. Our orange transport has multiplied tenfold since we have had good transportation facilities to connect us with the whole world. Everything here has increased in value since your immigration."

"One question, Reschid Bey," interrupted Kingscourt. "These gentlemen will pardon me, but you are much too modest. Were not the older inhabitants of Palestine ruined by the Jewish immigration? And didn't they have to leave the country? I mean, generally speaking. That individuals here and there were the gainers proves nothing."

"What a question! It was a great blessing for all of us," returned Reschid. "Naturally, the land-owners gained most because they were able to sell to the Jewish society at high prices, or to wait for still higher ones. I, for my part, sold my land to our New Society because it was to my advantage to sell."

"Didn't you say a moment ago that those groves we passed were yours?':

"To be sure! After I had sold them to the New Society, I took them back on lease."

"Then you shouldn't have sold them in the first place."

"But it was more advantageous for me. Since I wished to join the New Society, I had to submit to its land regulations. Its members have no private property in land."

"Then Friedrichsheim does not belong to you, Mr. Littwak.'

"Not the plot. I leased it only till the next jubilee year, as my friend Reschid did his groves."

"Jubilee year? Please explain that. I really seem to have overslept myself on that island."

"The jubilee year," explained David, "is not a new but an ancient institution set up by our Teacher Moses. After seven times seven years, that is to say, in the fiftieth year, land which had been sold reverted back to its original owner without compensation. We, indeed, arrange it a bit differently. The land now reverts back to the New Society. Moses, in his day, wished to distribute the land so as to ensure the ends of social justice. You will see that our methods serve the purpose none the less. The increases in land values accrue not to the individual owner, but to the public."

Steineck anticipated a possible objection from Kingscourt. "You may perhaps say that no one will care to improve a plot that does not belong to him, or to erect fine buildings upon it."

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