[MCN] 17th Century folk poem on privatization of public land

Lance Olsen lance at wildrockies.org
Mon Feb 6 10:41:40 EST 2017

The law locks up the man or woman
Who steals the goose off the common
But leaves the greater villain loose
Who steals the common from the goose.

The law demands that we atone
When we take things we do not own
But leaves the lords and ladies fine
Who takes things that are yours and mine.

The poor and wretched don't escape
If they conspire the law to break;
This must be so but they endure
Those who conspire to make the law.

The law locks up the man or woman
Who steals the goose from off the common
And geese will still a common lack
Till they go and steal it back.

"This 17th Century folk poem is one of the pithiest condemnations of 
the English enclosure movement-the process of fencing off common land 
and turning it into private property. In a few lines, the poem 
manages to criticize double standards, expose the artificial and 
controversial nature of property rights, and take a slap at the 
legitimacy of state power. And it does it all with humor, without 
jargon, and in rhyming couplets."
-James Boyle, Duke Law School Professor

"On the other hand, maybe when Malaysia's prime minister spoke about 
transforming the country into a developed nation, he meant that it 
really had to suffer through a deep real-estate recession, like those 
experienced by the U.S. and the U.K."

Steven Bergman. "Thriving Malaysia Propels an Office-Tower Boom In 
Its Biggest City,
and You Know What Follows a Boom," Barron's, August 12, 1996.
"Bank panics invariably reveal the poor quality of lending
that accompanied the preceding boom."

Edward Chancellor
"Panic passes but the causes remain"
Financial Times, October 14 2008
"The tendency for success to breed complacency and recklessness is
as ingrained in financial markets as it is in any other walk of life."

"Banks: Barbarians at the vault."
The Economist, May 15, 2008

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