What is so fundamental about wanting to own a piece of land?
Honestly, I think it is a view born of hardship – and the legacy of that pain.
In America, this legacy probably dates back to the Great Depression. After the jobs and factories blew away for a time, the land was all that many had to hold on to. My grandfather was just a kid back then.
All of the pain of that era lives on in whispers that I still hear today.
“Say what you will about financial assets. But this ranch isn’t going anywhere.”
Or: “They sure aren’t making any more land.”
It’s a dream of security, and of calling something you own.
In the context of Jewish gangsters, the passage below reminded me of a fantastic piece by economist Steven Landsburg: Why Jews Don’t Farm.
Many immigrants dreamed of doing this—buying a piece of land in the country. In much of the old world, Jews were forbidden to own property. So, for many of them, land became a kind of grail, a dream, something worth fighting for. After all, they had come from places like Russia and Poland, where governments and currencies rose and fell, where land was the only thing worth a damn. My father used to quote an ad for a land development firm that summed up the views of many of his ancestors: “Banks may fail, women may leave you, but good land goes on forever.”
-Rich Cohen, Tough Jews