15. The accumulation of estates and farms in cities 124
Their uses and yields.
It 125 should be known that the accumulation of numerous estates and farms by the inhabitants of towns and cities does not come all at once and not at one time. No one person would have enough wealth to acquire limitless (real) property.126 Even if prosperity were as great as possible, the acquisition and accumulation of (real) property would be gradual. It may come about through inheritance from one's forefathers and blood relatives, so that eventually the property of many comes to one person, who thus possesses much. Or it may be through fluctuation in the (real estate) market.
When one dynasty ends and another begins, the militia vanishes. There is no protection, and the city collapses and is ruined. At that time, (the possession of) real estate does not make a person happy, because it is of little use in the general upheaval. (Real estate) values fall, and (real estate) can be acquired for low prices. It then passes through inheritance into the possession of someone else. (By that time,) the city has regained its youthful vigor as the new dynasty flourishes, and conditions in it are in excellent shape. The result is that one may be happy with the possession of estates and farms, because they will then be very useful. Their value increases, and they assume an importance they did not have before. This is the meaning of "fluctuation in (the real estate market)." The owner of (real estate) now turns out to be one of the wealthiest men in the city. That is not the result of his own effort and business activity, because he would be unable to achieve such a thing by himself.
Estates and farms do not yield their owner a sufficient income for his needs. (The income from them) will not pay for the customs of luxury and the things that go with it. As a rule, it serves only to help provide for the necessities of life.
We have heard from scholars that the motive in the acquisition of estates and farms is a concern for the helpless children a person may leave behind. Income from (the real estate) is to serve the purpose of providing for their education, care, and upbringing, as long as they are unable to earn their own living. When they are able to earn their own living, they will do it by themselves. (But) there often are children who are unable to earn their own living because of some weakness of the body or some defect in (the part of) the mind that provides the ability to make a living. The real property then becomes their support. This is the motive of persons who spend a great deal of money acquiring (real estate).
(The motive is) not to accumulate capital through (such acquisitions) or to provide for extravagant living. This is achieved only by a few and is achieved only rarely through market fluctuations, through the acquisition of a great deal of (real estate), and through the upgrading of (real estate) as such and its value in a certain city. But then, if someone achieves it, the eyes of amirs and governors are directed to him (and his real estate). As a rule, they take it away, or they urge him to sell it to them. Such (real estate) spells harm and hardship to its owners.
"God has the power to execute His commands." 127