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Customary Land Tenure and Communal Holdings

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses the meaning of customary land tenure and communal holdings. Customary rights and liabilities, it is claimed, are accessed through oral traditions just as property rights in modern Western countries are understood through codified laws. The chapter discusses the issues that are raised by James Fingleton. The issue is one of a subject matter, which often eludes a precise definition. R.J. Fisher explains that his observations do not address issues relating to agricultural land but apply to various types of group arrangements which have been quite effective in forest and pasture management. The chapter highlights that the significant difference between customary versus private ownership relates not to simpleminded opposition between group and individually exercised rights but rather to the presence or addition of income rights in Western systems of ownership. Moreover, income rights presuppose the cash economy in which values are determined by aggregate demand and relative scarcity.

Keywords: agricultural land; communal holdings; customary land tenure; customary ownership; forest management; income rights; pasture management; private ownership



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