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Achille Loria’s work is largely centered on the study of land property rights and outlined the historical evolution of such rights on the basis of two principles of allocation: the competition one and the cooperation one. The prevalence of one over the other, in different epochs and regions of the world, allows us to explain the characteristics of agricultural institutions in a systematic way, according to what we might call a spiral law.
If land is abundant (in general, if natural resources are abundant) when compared to the size of the population that draws its material sustenance from it, the most efficient principle of allocation is the competition one.
On the other hand, under conditions of a relatively scarce amount of land (and in general of scarce natural resources) in relation to the sustenance of the population, the principle capable to maximize material wellbeing is the cooperation one, in the form of collective property.
Today, seventy years after Loria’s death, world population is growing in the face of resources that appear to be ever more scarce (and polluted), and in spite of technical change, we are witnessing a situation in which, also according to “Lorian” scholars such as Boulding and Ostrom, a return to the principle of cooperation seems indispensable, if not in the form of collective property rights stricto sensu, at least in the form of a planetary governance of natural resources.