In this article we will discuss about Land in Economics. After reading this article you will learn about: 1. Meaning of Land 2. Characteristics of Land 3. Factors affecting it.
Meaning of Land:
The term ‘Land’ in economics is often used in a wider sense. It does not mean only the surface of the soil, but it also includes all those natural resources which are the free gifts of nature. It, therefore, means all the free gifts of nature.
These natural gifts include:
(i) Rivers, forests, mountains and oceans;
(ii) Heat of sun, light, climate, weather, rainfall, etc. which are above the surface of land;
(iii) Minerals under the surface of the earth such as iron, coal, copper, water, etc.
According to Marshall, “By land is meant… materials and forces which nature gives freely for man’s aid in land, water, air, light and heat.” Therefore, land is a stock of free gifts of nature.
Characteristics of Land:
Land possesses the following characteristics:
1. Free Gift of Nature:
Man has to make efforts in order to acquire other factors of production. But to acquire land no human efforts are needed. Land is not the outcome of human labour. Rather, it existed even long before the evolution of man.
2. Fixed Quantity:
The total quantity of land does not undergo any change. It is limited and cannot be increased or decreased with human efforts. No alteration can be made in the surface area of land.
3. Land is Permanent:
All man-made things are perishable and these may even go out of existence. But land is indestructible. Thus it cannot go out of existence. It is not destructible.
4. Land is a Primary Factor of Production:
In any kind of production process, we have to start with land. For example, in industries, it helps to provide raw materials, and in agriculture, crops are produced on land.
5. Land is a Passive Factor of Production:
This is because it cannot produce anything by itself. For example, wheat cannot grow on a piece of land automatically. To grow wheat, man has to cultivate land. Labour is an active factor but land is a passive factor of production.
6. Land is Immovable:
It cannot be transported from one place to another. For instance, no portion of India’s surface can be transported to some other country.
7. Land has some Original Indestructible Powers:
There are some original and indestructible powers of land, which a man cannot destroy. Its fertility may be varied but it cannot be destroyed completely.
8. Land Differs in Fertility:
Fertility of land differs on different pieces of land. One piece of land may produce more and the other less.
9. Supply of Land is Inelastic:
The demand for a particular commodity makes way for the supply of that commodity, but the supply of land cannot be increased or decreased according to its demand.
10. Land has Many Uses:
We can make use of land in many ways. On land, cultivation can be done, factories can be set up, roads can be constructed, buildings can be raised and shipping is possible in the sea and big rivers.
Factors affecting Productivity of Land:
The following factors affect the productivity of land in a country:
1. Qualities of Land:
The productivity of land depends on its natural qualities. If the land is flat and levelled, it will be more productive than an undulating land; similarly, land in a hilly area is more productive than a land in the desert. Its productivity also depends on the soil and climatic conditions.
2. Means of Irrigation:
The means of irrigation also affect the productivity of land. Lands which depend on the means of irrigation like canals, tube wells, tanks, etc. are more productive than those which depend on rainfall.
3. Situation of Land:
The productivity of land is determined by its situation. A land situated near the market is more productive than a land located in a remote area. This is because it requires less time and money to transport the product to the market.
4. Proper Use of Land:
The productivity of land depends directly on its proper utilisation. Black soil is fit for the cultivation of cotton. But if it is used for the production of rice, its productivity will be low.
5. Improvements on Land:
If improvements like hedging, consolidation of land holdings, irrigation channels, etc. are made on land, its productivity increases.
6. Improved Methods of Cultivation:
The productivity of land also increases if improved methods of cultivation like fertilisers, quality seeds, mechanised ploughs, etc. are used.
7. Trained Labour:
The productivity of land directly depends on the efficiency of labour. If labour is efficient in sowing seeds, watering plants, spraying pesticides, cutting crops, etc. at the right time, the productivity of land will increase. In the case of big farms, productivity depends on the organisational ability of the landlord.
8. Ownership of Land:
If the land is owned by the cultivator, he will take personal interest to increase the productivity of land. On the other hand, if the land belongs to a landlord, the cultivators are hired labourers who do not take personal interest. Consequently, the productivity of land is low.
9. Government Policy:
Agricultural policy of the government also affects the productivity of land. If the government passes laws to pass the ownership of land to cultivators, to consolidate holdings, to regulate land rents, to abolish intermediaries. etc., the productivity of land will increase. Similarly, land productivity increases if the government encourages research in agriculture and provides credit facilities to agriculturists.