Destruction and eminent domain

by Russ Roberts on September 20, 2007

in Podcast, Property Rights

Lior Strahilevitz has an interesting comment on the recent Epstein podcast. I quote Strahilevitz in the Epstein podcast saying that when someone  buys a Frank Lloyd Wright house to destroy it, the state is justified in taking it from him to preserve its benefits for others. In the comment he says:

"The natural follow-up question, I think,
is ‘once you have conceded the appropriateness of taking land from
someone who wants to destroy it (rendering it valueless) and
transferring it to a preservationist who will use it to maintain
aesthetic amenities worth $50, is there a logical constraint on
transferring land from someone who is generating $50 from it to someone
else who can generate $100 from it?’ I think the answer is no, but I
also think there are institutional considerations that Richard
identifies that ought to make us skeptical about the state’s abilities
in this regard, as opposed to the market’s.

Do you agree with the underlying logic? If you want to comment, head over to the comment section of the Epstein podcast at EconTalk and join the argument there. (And while you’re there, feel free to listen to the podcast, too.)

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