These Times, That Kelo Decision

For more proof that the backlash against the Kelo decision and eminent domain abuse is bedeviling the left, check out this story from In These Times:

The libertarian right, which is at odds on this issue with the big-business conservatives who benefit from eminent domain and tax breaks, clearly hopes that it can ride this issue into battle against all regulatory restrictions on property rights. The left must do more than simply join the opposition to the misuse of government power on behalf of corporate interests against homeowners and small businesses. It needs to pursue comprehensive reforms that preserve essential powers of local governments but make them better serve the needs of their citizens.

Rots of ruck fellas.

Whole thing here.

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  • ||

    It needs to pursue comprehensive reforms that preserve essential powers of local governments but make them better serve the needs of their citizens.

    And they say that libertarians tilt at windmills. :)

  • ||

    I take pleasure in being able to roll out a teary eyed grandmother whose fate goes unremarked on by uncaring liberals. Does that make me a bad person?

  • ||

    In anticipation.... Yo joe!!!!

  • ||

    Jason, you like to do a lot of things that are wholly unrelated to reality.

    RTFA.

    I don't get the "bedevilled" part. The attention to the issue is giving liberals an opportunity to push their critique of urban development practices - a critique that addresses both the injustice of Kelo-like cases, and a whole host of underlying problems that liberals have been trying to talk about for years.

  • Timothy||

    Hak: hey, those windmills have it coming. We must get La Bestia!

  • ||

    Are there any pictures of the D.C. meeting last weekend? Sorry for the threadjack.

  • ||

    joe,

    What are these so-called other underlying problems?

  • ||

    Hak, RTFA.

  • ||

    joe,

    I see, so you have no original ideas of your own. Sounds about right.

  • ||

    Why should joe spend time retyping what's right there in the article just because you're lazy?

  • ||

    Christ, retract the claws already, people. 10 posts in and this is already turning into a pissing contest?

  • ||

    OK, that wasn't very nice. I'll answer briefly.

    A lack of control over planning decisions by the people in the effected area.

    Balkanized fiscal policies, among municipalities whose economies are increasingly inter-related.

    Po' folks not getting a seat at the table when decisions are made.

    The wealthy and corporate America having too much clout over the government.

    Lack of respect for patterns of traditional neighborhood development - a subset of broader anti-urbanism and the desire to impose a suburban landscape on the city to make it "decent."

    This case speaks to both libertarians and liberals, because the specifics confirm our favoried narratives (government screwing property owners, the rich and powerful screwing the little guy) and because it provides openings for both factions to segue into related sets of issues.

  • dhex||

    what kills me is reading things like the second to last paragraph, where the argument is "it's one thing to steal from the poor or middle class and give to the rich, but stealing from the rich or middle class to give to someone poorer is a really good strategy."

    jews for jesus called, they want their silly back.

  • ||

    The movement also makes no distinction between rights of homeowners and those of big corporations.

    Why should it? Because all corporations are evil! :)

    Sprawl often drains resources from central cities...

    And we can't have people making individual choices about where they want to live, can we?

    ...such as more extensive and democratic planning...

    Recently I argued that joe and his ilk are elitist. I guess I was right.

    ...both public regulation of the project and binding contracts for private performance.

    Kind of like the bloated, corruption-driven "Big Dig."

  • ||

    dHex, Your use of quotes is a little ambiguous. For the record, the argument you are characterizing is quoted in full below your characterization.

    "it's one thing to steal from the poor or middle class and give to the rich, but stealing from the rich or middle class to give to someone poorer is a really good strategy." - dhex paraphrasing in quotes

    "Finally, as Nader has argued, there�s a need to recognize that not all property, nor all uses of eminent domain, are equal. Special safeguards are needed against abuses in transfers from the economically and politically weak to the wealthy and powerful, and it must be recognized that people�s homes are a different type of property from a Wal-Mart store. Homes are often not just expressions of property interests but of personal liberty and autonomy, as well as freedom of association, that deserve more protection (and above-market compensation)." - paraphrased from the article

  • ||

    Phil,

    You know, people ask me similar questions all the time and I generally give them a detailed answer.

    joe,

    A lack of control over planning decisions by the people in the effected area.

    Ergo, urban planners are elitists.

    Po' folks not getting a seat at the table when decisions are made.

    Urban planners are elitists.

    Lack of respect for patterns of traditional neighborhood development...

    Why should "traditional" (as if a couple decade old form could be considered that) be favored over change? Tradition for tradition sake doesn't make much sense outside some fairly elitist circles.

    Balkanized fiscal policies, among municipalities whose economies are increasingly inter-related.

    Yes, giving government more power to fuck over your life is always the solution.

  • ||

    "'...such as more extensive and democratic planning...'

    "Recently I argued that joe and his ilk are elitist. I guess I was right. "

    You keep using that word "elitist." I don't think it means what you think it means. Increasing the public's voice in how their communities develop is the opposite of elitism. Shutting them out, making sure that only the owners of land and developers are allowed to make those decisions, and the little people can sit down and shut up, is elitist. Some of us believe it improves development decisions when the people have a seat at the table; while you believe they are unqualified to do so.

  • ||

    theCoach,

    The idea that only homes are expressions of such is flat-out silly.

  • ||

    joe,

    Shutting them out, making sure that only the owners of land and developers are allowed to make those decisions, and the little people can sit down and shut up, is elitist.

    Which is what urban planners do. Unless you are suggesting that urban planners have nothing to do with the current system in situ. Which would the height of dishonesty if that were the case.

    BTW, its not like I am alone in this criticism of your chosen profession: http://www.planetizen.com/node/17469

    That your chosen profession has a long history of such is well documented; the city of Brasilia is a perfect example. Other examples can be found in Seeing Like A State.

  • ||

    "'A lack of control over planning decisions by the people in the effected area.'

    "Ergo, urban planners are elitists."

    See, this doesn't make any sense at all. I listed a lack of public participation in planning decisions as a problem that needs to be corrected. In other words, I want the people in a neighborhood to have a greater say over the decisions that effect their lives. This is the opposite of elitism. You want them to have no control over what gets built around them. That is elitist.

    "Why should "traditional" (as if a couple decade old form could be considered that) be favored over change?" Traditional patterns of neighborhood development make more efficient use of energy, land, and public infrastructure. They also tend to allow greater social interaction among neighbors, thereby building up the social capital that communities need to respond to stress. It's not "tradition for tradition's sake.

    "Tradition for tradition sake doesn't make much sense outside some fairly elitist circles." You obviously don't know very much about the issue, and the constituency that supports preservation.

    "Yes, giving government more power to fuck over your life is always the solution." Bears no relationship at all to the argument it is supposedly addressed towards.

  • ||

    "Which is what urban planners do." No, it's not. Public sector planning is an exercise in exerting democratic control over development decisions.

    You seem to be ignorant of the sea change that occurred in the profession 30 years ago. Old Robert Moses style planning is very much frowned upon. Rather than being ignorant of this criticism of my profession, I am in fact far more aware of its ins and outs than you seem to be, as it forms the intellectual basis of the curriculum in most planning programs these days.

    Of course, as the New London case shows, there is still a ways to go. Non-planners in power tend to cling to the old top down model - this is one of the reasons why liberals, and planners, support reforms.

  • ||

    joe,

    See, this doesn't make any sense at all.

    It makes perfect sense. Your chosen profession has a long history of screwing poor people over.

    You want them to have no control over what gets built around them.

    Actually, I want people to have absolute control over their own property. Which would mean that New London's land grab would never have taken place.

    Traditional patterns of neighborhood development make more efficient use of energy, land, and public infrastructure.

    Effecient to whom?

    They also tend to allow greater social interaction among neighbors...

    Which is just nanny-statism.

    Bears no relationship at all to the argument it is supposedly addressed towards.

    Sure it does. You apparently want mega-city governments with more revenue garnering powers (and other powers as well).

  • ||

    joe,

    Public sector planning is an exercise in exerting democratic control over development decisions.

    You keep on believing in that fantasy all you want to.

    You seem to be ignorant of the sea change that occurred in the profession 30 years ago.

    No sea change has occurred, as is evidence by the article I cited. To quote you, RTFA. You people are still the same scumbags you have always been.

  • ||

    joe,

    So, let me get this straight. Urban planning is a paragon of virtue, yet we are witnessing an unheard of level of ED abuse at the same time? Please explain the disconnect.

  • MP||

    Actually, I want people to have absolute control over their own property. Which would mean that New London's land grab would never have taken place.

    Although my gut instinct is to agree with this, I have a hard time seeing how this works in the real world. In particular, what if my neighbor's actions are significantly detrimental to my property value? Is the libertarian argument that this is best adjucated in court?

  • ||

    joe,

    I basically think you want to have your cake and eat it too. You want to claim that there is a tremendous amount of abuse out there, etc., but at the same time, you don't want the profession which is intimately connected with the very processes leading to urban planning decisions to be sullied at the same time. You're having a break with reality it appears.

  • ||

    Now, before this thread gets any more off topic, I'd just like to point out that, whether you find the liberal anti-"Kelo" arguments persuasive or not, (which you probably don't, because you are a probably a libertarian), they are there, they are longstanding liberal areas of interest, and the Kelo case has put these topics on the public's aganda in a way that they haven't been in a long time.

  • ||

    Gee,

    If the government can't come and take my land to give it to rich developers, perhaps they shouldn't be able to take it by restricting my use of it for the benifit of rich hikers moutain bikers. I can see liberals' heads exploding all over America right now.

  • ||

    MP.

    In particular, what if my neighbor's actions are significantly detrimental to my property value?

    Sue them in court for the devaluation. Tort law deals with this very issue and has for a long time. Plus, the difference here is between the government and a private property owner.

  • ||

    "what if my neighbor's actions are significantly detrimental to my property value? Is the libertarian argument that this is best adjucated in court?"

    Covenenting has developed over the last 20 years or so as a contractual agreement between neighbors to govern land use.

  • ||

    Lotta dodging and weaving, no ability to address the main point - granting the people a seat at the table is not an elitist position; denying them a seat at the table is the elitist position.

    Were the residents of the Fort Trumball neighborhood allowed the degree of participation to which they are entitled (and which you are dead set against granting them) within the planning process, the Kelo takings we dislike wouldn't have happened, either.

    And all your sniveling insults can't get you around that central fact. My side is "power to the people," and yours is about shutting them out of that power.

  • ||

    John,

    See, forcing an "environmental easement" on to you is good for your soul (or something). :)

  • ||

    "Sue them in court for the devaluation."

    Oh, and btw, lawyers are corrupt scum who file junk lawsuits all the time, juries are easily manipulated sheep (or was it cattle you called them yesterday, Hak?) who can't be trusted to make decisions, and we need to significantly restrict people's ability to file lawsuits.

  • ||

    joe,

    I haven't dodged or weaved. You are doing those things though.

  • ||

    And now you've reached the level of content-free invective that makes it safe to declare victory and ignore you.

    Power to the people! Those who would deny them their rights, up against the wall!

  • ||

    Oooh. A Hakluyt/joe argument. Lemme go grab a bag of popcorn.

  • ||

    joe,

    Oh, and btw, lawyers are corrupt scum who file junk lawsuits all the time...

    That's thoreau's line of reasoning, not mine.

    Yes, juries are sheep. The amount of work done on the psychology of juries has shown them to be easily manipulated. Which is why you opt for a non-jury trial if you are the plaintiff (and hope that the defense doesn't ask for one). Then again, you'd also likely have an equity issue here too, which would never go to a jury.

    ...and we need to significantly restrict people's ability to file lawsuits.

    That isn't my line of reasoning either.

  • ||

    mediageek,

    If you wait long enough, joe might answer my question.

    joe,

    Urban planning is a paragon of virtue, yet we are witnessing an unheard of level of ED abuse at the same time? Please explain the disconnect.

  • dhex||

    "dHex, Your use of quotes is a little ambiguous."

    the word you're looking for is snarky, not ambiguous.

    i understand why they phrase things the way they do, but for some reason their lack of historicism disturbs me. see...it's all well and good for them to plan to fuck over company x - or wal-mart - because such is their thing, their bag as it were.

    but the whos and whys of where those contracts go, especially in small towns, is always going to be politically connected. their naievete is endearing, sort of, and one of the reasons i look forward to a non-bush, non-republican white house, so that most of these fruit loops can go back to not caring about what the government does.

    then again, all of us are not without our craziness; i see eminent domain as a moral issue, and much like abortion, property either is or is not sacrosanct. in that sense, i am a property rights extremist.

  • ||

    joe,

    You must be confusing me with the Hakluyt in your head. I'm very much in favor of liberal pleading requirements, low-threshold requirements for standing, etc.

  • ||

    It needs to pursue comprehensive reforms that preserve essential powers of local governments but make them better serve the needs of their citizens.

    An example of what political thought sounds like when it's decoupled from principle.

  • ||

    And all your sniveling insults can't get you around that central fact. My side is "power to the people," and yours is about shutting them out of that power.

    If "the people" want to "suburbanize" an urban space, urban planners would just say "okay, well, the people have spoken?" I highly doubt it.

    And where are all these left-of-center folks talking about "power to the people" in land and property issues when "the people" happen to live in the suburbs and want a nice plot .4 acre plot of land and a 2000 sq. foot house in which they can play "Lord of the Manor"? Then, it seems, "the people" seem to morph into a mob that must be stopped.

  • ||

    Cedarburg,

    As long as "the people" do what the urban planners want them to do, then they urban planners will promote "democracy." Lord help them if they disagree with the urban planners though - you'll end up with a monstrosity like Brasilia.

  • nmg||

    joe,

    your version of "power to the people" is simply allowing the majority to sieze the minority's property, which I would hope no one thinks is a good idea. Doing so for the sake of some city planner's vision is an even worse idea.

    Absolute property rights of course solves those problems.

    nmg

  • ||

    "Urban planning is a paragon of virtue," Straw Man #1 "...yet we are witnessing an unheard of level of ED abuse at the same time?" Straw Man #2.

    Planning is a human profession, which can never rise above human failings. It is, however, vastly different than it was in Robert Moses' day.

    We are not seeing "an unheard of level of ED abuse." First, I doubt we'd agree on the exact definition of ED abuse. But ee are seeing less of the disruptive land clearance takings of the Kelo variety than in the mid-to-late 20th century. There would be even less if there was greater public participation in the production of plans - an effort that planners and liberals both strongly endorse.

  • ||

    nmg,

    Plus, there are ways, sans government to create the sort of neighborhood you want to live in by building various covenants into property that you buy. Lots and lots of developments do these sorts of things these days. But as joe tells us, only the government knows what is in the interest of the "public good."

  • ||

    Hak,

    It is possible that I read into your statements about juries and frivolous lawsuits a set of policy recommendations that you didn't actually intend. If so, mea culpa.

  • ||

    Cedarburg, "suburbaninizing an urban space" would mean the massive dislocation of multiple homes and businesses, so they can be replaced with fewer, more upscale, homes and businesses. This would be impossible if the people who would be dislocated had sufficient input into the conversation, so I don't buy the premise of your question.

    But in a broader sense, yes, planners eat "wrong" decisions from the public all the time. It's part of the job.

  • ||

    joe,

    It is, however, vastly different than it was in Robert Moses' day.

    RTFA. The days of Robert Moses are still alive and well.

    But ee are seeing less of the disruptive land clearance takings of the Kelo variety than in the mid-to-late 20th century.

    Prove it.

    There would be even less if there was greater public participation in the production of plans...

    There will never been greater public participation in the production of plans because government simply does not work that way. Which is why urban planners have paid a lot of lip service to greater participation and in reality it never happens.

  • ||

    joe,

    It is possible that I read into your statements about juries and frivolous lawsuits a set of policy recommendations that you didn't actually intend.

    I would do away with juries entirely. I'd have liberal pleadings, low standards for standing (lower than we have today in fact), etc. Of course, since you know jack sqaut about the law I don't expect you to understand why getting rid of juries is a good idea.

    This would be impossible if the people who would be dislocated had sufficient input into the conversation...

    Their input would be whether they are willing to sell to a private entity.

  • ||

    And they say that libertarians tilt at windmills.

    Giving them windmills keeps them busy and out of the way.

  • ||

    joe,

    BTW, I've never made any statements about frivolous lawsuits. Now, thoreau has of course (back when he was threatening to kill every lawyer he could get his hands on). What is frivolous should be left up to the judge.

  • ||

    There would be even less if there was greater public participation in the production of plans - an effort that planners and liberals both strongly endorse.

    That brings up a pet peeve of mine: Public notices concerning potential development plans and meetings about them placed in locations where people could not possibly stop and read them -- like propped against a tree at the side of the road in an area with no sidewalks and down which traffic travels at 50mph. Fairfax County does this crap all the time.

  • MP||

    But as joe tells us, only the government knows what is in the interest of the "public good."

    I think the root of it is more that Progressives believe in the the democratic process's ability to properly oversee governmental authority and make it reflective of the wishes of the general populate. How they explain away Public Choice theory is beyond me.

  • ||

    Phil,

    Remember that the planning community has nothing to do with such practices. Nothing. :)

  • ||

    nmg, "Absolute property rights of course solves those problems." But it leaves a whole host of other problems wholly unaddressed. That's the hard part - balancing competing interests.

  • ||

    MP,

    Well, it also doesn't take into account the Robert Michels' "Iron Rule of Oligarchy."

  • ||

    joe,

    We expect the markets to do that, not the government.

  • ||

    Buh bye, Hak. Let me know if you come up with something beyond "nuh-uh" and "But I've got a counterexample!"

  • ||

    "We expect the markets to do that, not the government."

    And you expect it to happen in such a way that only A has any input at all into how A's property is developed, B into B's, etc.

    And then, rather than bothering to articulate what a good outcome is, you look at the result, no matter what it is, and define "a good outcome" as whatever happened to be built.

  • ||

    "We expect the markets to do that, not the government."

    And you expect it to happen in such a way that only A has any input at all into how A's property is developed, B into B's, etc.

    And then, rather than bothering to articulate what a good outcome is, you look at the result, no matter what it is, and define "a good outcome" as whatever happened to be built.

  • ||

    joe,

    Well, as I figured, you don't have a means to defeat my "markets" card. :)

    Someday, instead of dodging my questions, you might just answer them. Well, we can always dream I suppose.

  • ||

    Hakluyt, I don't blame "the planning community." (Whatever set of entities that broad phrase is supposed to encompass.) I blame the county board of supervisors, who are beholden to a set of voters who want the only two kinds of residential development to be a) McMansions on small lots, or b) three-level condo/apartment developments. Both of which result in the nonsensical spectacle of 1-bedroom condos with a view of the freeway being pre-sold for $380,000.

    If the planners had anything to do with it, I suspect they'd be pushing for zoning that allowed property owners to build higher density development if they so chose..

  • ||

    joe,

    So much for saying bye.

    And you expect it to happen in such a way that only A has any input at all into how A's property is developed, B into B's, etc.

    No. Markets are far more diverse things than you or I can possibly ever imagine, and so is market behavior; which is why they are so wonderous. It is likely going to be the case that A through Z will be involved in the development, because A needs capital, expertise in how to build, what to build, etc. But then again, it is ultimately A's decision what to build, a decision you'd rather make by some sort Zemstvo-like body. This is why I favor individualism and individual liberty, and you favor some sort of corporate body or entity and eschew individual rights and liberty.

    And then, rather than bothering to articulate what a good outcome is...

    Yeah, I'm not so arrogant to presume what is and is not a good outcome for individuals. I don't favor a nanny-state, remember? Again, you prove that you are an elitist.

  • MP||

    and define "a good outcome" as whatever happened to be built

    Isn't this the same logic that justifies a whole host of "preventative" laws? Aren't you simply saying that the Nanny state is justified because in the quest for a perfect world, it is best to have the government anticipate and "correct" issues up-front rather than letting individuals resolve differences? Doesn't this logic chain fall apart when one realizes that the preferences imposed by fiat are less welcome then those that arise by choice?

  • ||

    Phil,

    Which is a fairly perfect example of the "Iron Rule of Oligarchy."

  • ||

    It was exactly two minutes between when you posted "the markets card" and when you insulted me for not answering yet.

    And now you're back to misusing the word elitist. Here's a hint - it is not defined as "allowing the public to articulate a vision of the good."

    So which is it? Am I urging a mob-ocracy to trample the rights of individuals, or am I an elitist, working to constrain ordinary people from exerting power over their world?

  • ||

    MP,

    Remember, its that sort of "prevention" which Bastiat argued was such a drain on creativity, economic growth, etc., and thus cut off or delayed many future benefits.

  • ||

    Yeah, I'm not so arrogant to presume what is and is not a good outco me for individuals.

    One presumes that something less than the utility-maximizing, market-clearing outcome for all parties involved is less than a good outcome, no?

  • ||

    MP, if your neighbor can build whatever he wants, regardless of its impact on you and the broader neighborhood, that outcome is being imposed on you by fiat - by his fiat.

    And without any zoning or planning laws that allow the community to have a voice, how do expect to resolve your differences in a mutually-agreed-upon manner? Isn't your preferred policy outcome - your neighbor gets to do whatever he wants on his property, with no interference - simply another way of saying that you get no say into the issues whatsoever?

  • ||

    joe,

    It was exactly two minutes between when you posted "the markets card" and when you insulted me for not answering yet.

    Well, I anticipated that your 'buh bye' statement wasn't a lie. Sorry.

    Here's a hint - "allowing the public to articulate a vision of the good" is not what the planning community does. Like I wrote above, you people pay a lot of lip-service to such things, but you never actually go forward with it - RTFA (there are some good reasons why indeed you can't go forward with it in the way that you claim that you can).

  • ||

    "And without any zoning or planning laws that allow the community to have a voice, how do expect to resolve your differences in a mutually-agreed-upon manner?"

    Ok, now you're just playing dumb. Tell us how you feel about covenants.

  • ||

    Hakluyt's actually good at raising caution flags - the danger of a powerful group getting an outsized voice in the process, the restriction on creativity and resultant dynamism that can be the effect of normalizing regulations. But he then jumps too eagerly into the comfortable pose of declaring these problems to be entirely immune to any solution, while ignoring the countervailing interests in favor of public planning.

    The few, the proud, the elitists may proclaim that little people's concerns aren't enough to warrant intrusion on the creative dynamism of their wealthier betters, but most people do not agree. If you're arguing for eliminating all zoning and planning, and telling most people in America "too bad" when they object, you're really in no position to lecture anyone about elitism, or about tilting at windmills.

  • ||

    joe,

    And without any zoning or planning laws that allow the community to have a voice...

    This simply begs the question.

    MP, if your neighbor can build whatever he wants, regardless of its impact on you and the broader neighborhood, that outcome is being imposed on you by fiat - by his fiat.

    This of course presumes a world without tort law and that markets will not come to an optimal outcome. Indeed, as with all of your arguments, you assume that markets simply aren't and will never be sufficient and the government must intervene.

  • ||

    "Yeah, I'm not so arrogant to presume what is and is not a good outco me for individuals."

    Nor am I. When the city denies a property owner a permit for his dream development, it does not do so "for his own good," but for the good of the broader community.

    "Here's a hint - "allowing the public to articulate a vision of the good" is not what the planning community does. Like I wrote above, you people pay a lot of lip-service to such things, but you never actually go forward with it." I know for a fact that you are wrong. I can't take your hypothesis seriously, because it fails so utterly to describe reality. Maybe, if you wish to learn something about a subject or a point of view, you shouldn't limit yourself to reading the positions of its critics.

  • ||

    joe,

    But he then jumps too eagerly into the comfortable pose of declaring these problems to be entirely immune to any solution...

    I quite clearly do have a solution. Markets. Maybe I wasn't clear enough before - MARKETS!

    JDM,

    Well, since I already mentioned covenants you'd think he'd be less dense.

  • ||

    This of course presumes a world without tort law and that markets will not come to an optimal outcome.

    What's the difference between "an optimal outcome" and "a good outcome?" And why is presuming to know what the former is not arrogant while presuming to know what the latter is arrogant?

    . . . you assume that markets simply aren't and will never be sufficient and the government must intervene.

    If one assumes that one of the few legitimate purposes of government is protecting property rights, it is incumbent upon the individual so arguing to demonstrate that tort law and contract enforcement is a completely sufficient solution.

  • ||

    joe,

    When the city denies a property owner a permit for his dream development, it does not do so "for his own good," but for the good of the broader community.

    You really are living in fantasy land. The city does it so that they can fulfill the needs of the interests who have the city's ear at that particular moment.

    I know for a fact that you are wrong.

    Others in the planning community disagree with you. RTFA.

  • ||

    JDM, the ability of covenants to provide an adequate basis for community planning is restricted by 1) the fact that any property owner in a built-up area can simply refuse to join and 2) the lack of a mechanism for the broader, relevant publics to have standing.

    This #2, btw, is also a reason why planning authority can't be entirely in the hands of a local government - because the decisions they make impact a broader public than the one that drafts the regulations.

  • ||

    Phil,

    Depends on the individual.

    ...it is incumbent upon the individual so arguing to demonstrate that tort law and contract enforcement is a completely sufficient solution.

    No, the reverse is actually true. If indeed government is supposed to be a limited entity, its incumbent upon those who advocate for its expansion to demonstrate the need for that expansion.

  • MP||

    MP, if your neighbor can build whatever he wants, regardless of its impact on you and the broader neighborhood, that outcome is being imposed on you by fiat - by his fiat.

    I don't consider it morally legitimate to impose my aesthetic tastes on others. As Hakluyt points out, tort law can resolve disputes of a economic nature that the aggrieved party feels to be significant. Beyond that, I'm not sure what other "impacts" I need to address.

    One false argument I'll pre-emptively strike down...the impact of a large scale development on local infrastructure, such as a sewer system can be managed in ways that don't involve planners. It is a publicly run system. The system managers can issue a usage license. How the property owner implements things such that they conform to the license is the owner's concern.

  • ||

    joe,

    ...1) the fact that any property owner in a built-up area can simply refuse to join...

    Which hardly destroys the purpose of the covenant.

    ...2) the lack of a mechanism for the broader, relevant publics to have standing.

    Which is just another way of arguing for a broader-powered, more oppressive state.

  • nmg||

    "That's the hard part - balancing competing interests."


    By this do you mean the property owner's wishes balanced against the "people"'s wishes? Do you really mean to say that the problem with absolute property rights is that the people around him can't coerce him as easily?


    "And you expect it to happen in such a way that only A has any input at all into how A's property is developed, B into B's, etc."

    Yeah, it sounds like that's what you're saying. In your view it's bad that only A has input on how to use A's property?

    One deosnt' even need to use hyberpole to compare your views to outright collectivism.

    nmg

  • ||

    "This of course presumes a world without tort law and that markets will not come to an optimal outcome." "Tort law" is a dodge. Torts can only address violations of individuals' rights, which are just one subset of the broader set "public interest."

    "Indeed, as with all of your arguments, you assume that markets simply aren't and will never be sufficient and the government must intervene."

    Markets are not, and never will be, sufficient at incorporating the interests of those not involved in the transaction into the decision. Markets maximize some interests very well - those of the people involved in the transaction. But those are not the only interests we need to be concerned about.

  • ||

    "Which hardly destroys the purpose of the covenant." I suppose that depends on what you define as the purpose of the covenant. In this case, the topic is whether private convenants can adequately protect the interests of the broader community.

    "Which is just another way of arguing for a broader-powered, more oppressive state." Maybe a little more on the truth or falsehood of a statement, and a little less with "but that could lead to a policy I don't want." Yes?

    nmg, yes, I am actually saying that the interests of the broader community have standing alongside those of The Individual.

  • ||

    If indeed government is supposed to be a limited entity, its incumbent upon those who advocate for its expansion to demonstrate the need for that expansion.

    That, again, presumes that the natural equilibrium, or starting point, or however you want to put it, for government in its role as protector of property rights is limited to tort law and contract enforcement, and that anything else is per se an expansion. I don't accept that premise.

  • ||

    joe,

    "Tort law" is a dodge. Torts can only address violations of individuals' rights, which are just one subset of the broader set "public interest."

    No, its not a dodge. Its the mean by which harms to property owners can be remedied. The "public interest" is determined by the markets, which are far better at determining what is and what is not in the "public interest" than the sort of centrally-planned Potemkin Villages that have been the bread and butter of your profession.

    Markets are not, and never will be, sufficient at incorporating the interests of those not involved in the transaction into the decision.

    And those not involved in the transaction don't need to be involved in the decision either.

  • ||

    joe:

    I did RTFA, BTW. I know what the author's point is. I just think it is funny that liberals find themselves having to make a more nuanced point than "We're for poor people," which, as libertarians all know, leaves them vulnerable to accusations that they hate poor people and want them to die.

  • ||

    "Its the mean by which harms to property owners can be remedied." It's a means by which SOME harms to property owners can be remedied. Did you miss the part about them being useless for everything short of a violation of legal rights?

    "The "public interest" is determined by the markets" No, it is not. You're simply defining your conclusion.

    "And those not involved in the transaction don't need to be involved in the decision either." See, some of us believe the little people should have a say over what becomes of their communities.

  • ||

    joe,

    In this case, the topic is whether private convenants can adequately protect the interests of the broader community.

    The interests of community are protected because they voluntarily enter the covenant. Choice is not something you are big on.

    Phil,

    Accept it or not, it is an expansion.

  • ||

    Some of this comes down to wanting to do what you think is good for people regardless of what they want. Where I live in San Antonio, they are leveling the hill country to build ugly subdivisions with houses two feet from your neighbor at an alarming rate. You couldn't pay me to live in one of those places. The fact remains that some people love them or there wouldn't be a demand for them. Its a free and if that is the style in which people want to live, more power to them.

    A lot of times phrases like "sustainable development" and "urban sprawl" are really just codewords and an excuse to put people into neighborhoods preferred by urban planners weather they like it or not. That vision is usually some idealized version of Greenwhich Village, because afterall no one in their right mind could possibly want to live in the suburbs and if they do we must quickly debase them of that notion for their own good.

    The fact is people like to live in homes away from the city with their own yards. Ussually when people start talking about sprawl and stopping the big evil developers they are really just objecting to a certain culture they find unappealing. The goal of these types of arguments ussually involves depriving people of choices and the economic ability to live the lifestyle they choose and herding them into more acceptable forms of living.

  • ||

    Jason,

    Liberals are just fine with nuance.

    "liberals find themselves having to make a more nuanced point than "We're for poor people," which, as libertarians all know, leaves them vulnerable to accusations that they hate poor people and want them to die." I've had no trouble deflecting such an accusion. If libertarians actually had some bona fides established when it comes to being on the side of poor people, they might not find themselves quite so vulnerable.

  • ||

    joe,

    Please clearly demarcate my statements from yours.

    It's a means by which SOME harms to property owners can be remedied.

    No, all harms.

    Did you miss the part about them being useless for everything short of a violation of legal rights?

    What else is being violated? Their feelings?

    No, it is not.

    Yes it is.

    You're simply defining your conclusion.

    And arguing that only the government can determine the public interest, isn't?

    See, some of us believe the little people should have a say over what becomes of their communities.

    This isn't an issue about little or big people. Framing it in that way simply makes you look stupid. Its an issue of private property rights, be it a little or big guy. All your system does is merely reward those with sufficient political clout as as to become oligarchs in the political system.

  • ||

    Hak,

    A little slow today, are you?

    "The interests of community are protected because they voluntarily enter the covenant." Only if they are allowed to. If you, and everyone else who owns property for four blocks around, enter into a covenant amongst yourselves, there is no reason why other people who are effected by the decisions you make have to be granted the opportunity to join. My system - a public system - gives everyone the choice whether to sit at the table or not. Yours denies them that choice, by limiting who is allowed to have a say.

    John, while you're reading minds, who's Patrick Fitzgerald going to indict?

  • ||

    "But those (the transacting parties) are not the only interests we need to be concerned about."

    This is an invitation to, not a resoultion for market failures.

  • ||

    Joe,

    I frankly hoping for some unknown Whitehouse troll named Scooter. I doubt he is guilty of anything, but being an adult and still calling yourself "Scooter" is crime enough in my mind.

  • ||

    joe,

    I am a poor person. I come from poor people. I'm sorry I'm not humble enough to just take your handouts. I have far more personal bona fides as a libertarian than you ever will re: poverty.

    John,

    This where that the epsisode from South Park about hippies comes in handy. :)

  • fyodor||

    Markets maximize some interests very well - those of the people involved in the transaction. But those are not the only interests we need to be concerned about.

    Sometimes, perhaps. But I would say the burden of proof is clearly on those not involved in the transaction to show how they are affected in such a way that they have a right to have a say in the transaction.

  • ||

    joe,

    No joe, your system limits those who is at the table because it is ultimately a corrupt one.

  • ||

    "Its an issue of private property rights, be it a little or big guy."

    Yes, and the rich and poor alike are forbidden from sleeping under bridges. Please.

    "What else is being violated? Their feelings?"

    Their interests.

    "And arguing that only the government can determine the public interest, isn't?" That's not my argument. Only the PUBLIC can define the public interest.

    "All your system does is merely reward those with sufficient political clout as as to become oligarchs in the political system." That is an odd thing to say to someone who has been arguing that the system needs to be changed to increase the clout of the public at large. You're trying to steal a base by conflating the status quo with my position.

  • ||

    "I've had no trouble deflecting such an accusion."

    And libertarians don't have much trouble pointing out that economic growth is the greatest boon in human history. It is just that when faced with liberals, we are forced make the point over and over again because we are faced with 'redistribution = good for poor people, libertarianism = mean' every stinkin' time.

    Clearly the author of the piece was worried enough about it to chide the Yglesias's of the world about message discipline. I just think it is funny.

  • ||

    That is Yglesiases ...

  • ||

    Phil,

    Accept it or not, it is an expansion.


    Er, well, no, it isn't, and I also don't accept argument by categorical declaration.

    You're going to have to prove that, historically speaking, both the Founders and the Constitution defined the government's role in property and its use as limited to only tort law and contract enforcement before I agree that "anything else is an expansion." You're going to have a hard time doing that, I suspect.

  • ||

    Three hours. Three whole hours of your lives, gone. And for what? Joe's still a central planner, Hak's still a "property rights extremist".

  • ||

    Evan,

    I'm not a property rights extremist. Someone else here claimed to be though.

  • MP||

    Three hours. Three whole hours of your lives, gone. And for what? Joe's still a central planner, Hak's still a "property rights extremist".

    It was worth it to obtain the "Iron Rule of Oligarchy" reference. Having a debate, even a rehash of a retread of a debate, allows one to practice their critical thinking and potentially gain new insights (either pro or con), particularly with such agile (although occassionaly snarky) debators.

  • ||

    joe,

    Here is the problem in a nutshell. No matter how personally virtuous you are, or how well you've thought out this system of yours, it is doomed to failure. Honestly, you're just like some 1950s era Soviet planner who claims that if he could only tweak the system these twelve different ways it would make the system work. The fact is, no matter how much you prattle on about making planning more democratic, more responsible to the public, etc. it never will be; you'll always have agency capture, corruption, the ear of government being bent to specific interests that will screw over everyone else, etc. Its best to give up on such fantasies and accept that markets are the means to solve these problems with some limited interventions allowed by government in the form of basically tort and contract law.

  • fyodor||

    That is an odd thing to say to someone who has been arguing that the system needs to be changed to increase the clout of the public at large. You're trying to steal a base by conflating the status quo with my position.

    Joe, you ignore the fact that libertarians see government intervention as an open invitation for the already well-positioned to help themselves even more, which we believe will more than likley happen regardless of the intentions of the law that sets up the intervention. The only way to increase "public clout" in your scheme is to do so through government intervention. Our position is that whatever you do to make the government more responsive to the "true" public interest, it will sooner or later devolve into handouts for the rich and powerful. You probably ignore this in order to reinforce your stereotype of us as evil protectors of the rich and powerful and of you as heroic defenders of the poor. But it is the libertarian belief that the principled defense of private property ultimately helps all. Well, all who deserve it, as opposed to those who would use the force of government to their own benefit by getting it to steal others' property for them, which is: NOT FAIR, and therefore not deserved. Whether they claim to be doing it for noble purposes or not.

  • ||

    I don't know if Hak or joe got anything out of it, and I haven't really changed my position, either, but I did learn some things.

    So in that sense, those 3 hours of their life have not been wasted.

  • ||

    MP,

    Robert Michels (unfortunately) is not a well-known thinker and his book has been out of print (as far as I know) for years. I had to borrow his book from a philosophy professor who got it from a fellow academician who died in the 1960s.

  • ||

    I don't know if Hak or joe got anything out of it, and I haven't really changed my position, either, but I did learn some things.

    So in that sense, those 3 hours of their life have not been wasted.

  • ||

    Lowdog,

    I learned more than ever that joe is a low-down snake in the grass. :)

    No, really, what I did learn is that joe really doesn't understand where libertarians are coming from.

  • nmg||

    "nmg, yes, I am actually saying that the interests of the broader community have standing alongside those of The Individual."

    Don't be mealy mouthed.

    What exactly does that mean other than you don't believe in property rights?

    nmg

  • ||

    Joe,

    "If libertarians actually had some bona fides established when it comes to being on the side of poor people, they might not find themselves quite so vulnerable."

    Why in the hell does a political philosophy need to have "bona fides" regarding a particular class? Just curious.

    You may see it as "helping out the po' folk". Yet, someone else may see it as an application/granting of rights which is directly inversely proportionate to their wealth. IOW, it's okay to steal from the rich, but not from the poor. If I work my ass off for 45 years and make a fortune, and my classmate lays on the couch for 45 years and has nothing to show but a rented doublewide, then, somehow, I am less deserving of rights than he is, because he's "poor".

    The "bona fides" that libertarianism lacks are those of actively trying to unfairly bend the principles of natural law to affect a particular outcome. Liberal ideology surely possesses this "bona fide", but in practice, how successful has central planning been in eradicating poverty? Didn't they declare a war on it? How'd that go?

    On the other hand, it's obvious that market development benefits everyone - as can be seen in case examples like outsourcing of WalMart jobs to China. They make 10 times or more the mean wage in that country. And nary a libertarian would seek to prohibit this practice - yet, this cannot be considered a "bona fide", because it's not an active central planning exercise with the express purpose of "helping the poor" - so it doesn't count.

    Free Market wealth generation sure as hell has the "bona fides" for helping everyone out, poor and rich alike - but unless it's in the form of a policy proposal (with the express purpose of helping the poor), it's not valid. So sayeth Joe.

  • ||

    Hak,

    That's why I put it in scare quotes. It was tongue-in-cheek, of course.

    That was my favorite part about the article...how they demonized property rights. Hehe, I'm a "free speech extremist!". Yep.

  • MP||

    out of print

    Thank the FSM for free markets, particular for abebooks.com and ebay. Is this the book in question?

  • ||

    MP.

    Holy crap. Yes it is. Such a great little book.

    Its at Amazon.com too: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0029212502/reasonmagazineA/

    Heh, here I thought I was privy to some castaway knowledge. :)

    Evan,

    Yeah, I noticed that as well.

  • ||

    Lotta dodging and weaving, no ability to address the main point - granting the people a seat at the table is not an elitist position; denying them a seat at the table is the elitist position.

    It's the TABLE that is elitist in the first place. I don't need a goddamned seat at it, make me an offer to purchase my property from me and I'll either accept it or I won't. If I accept, there's no need foe me to be at the table. If I don't accept, why are you still having discussions about what you're going to do with my property?

  • ||

    So in that sense, those 3 hours of their life have not been wasted.

    I consider it a boon to humanity that every minute joe spends time arguing here is a minute joe can't spend doing city planning.

  • ||

    Well, Hak, I think we've all known joe doesn't get "us" (libertarians) at all for quite some time.

  • dhex||

    "Someone else here claimed to be though."

    that would be me. at least in the sense that i think ED is morally indefensible as it is extended.

    plus the spirit of robert moses isn't totally dead in new york. the ratner experience is just ramping up.

  • fyodor||

    "If libertarians actually had some bona fides established when it comes to being on the side of poor people, they might not find themselves quite so vulnerable."

    The stupid and downright disengenuous thing about joe's comment here is that when libertarians do try to show how our policies are very often the best thing for poorer folks, he calls us phonies. But when we're consistent with our principles and don't seek to help poorer folks in ways that contradict our principles, that shows we don't care about poorer folks. Might as well say it, it's damned if we do, damned if we don't. The only way to demonstrate our "bona fides" to him would be to stop being libertarians and start being statist liberals like him. Sorry joe, ain't gonna happen.

  • ||

    Fyodor:

    Precisely. I could take him more seriously if he could show us empirical evidence that central planning is successful in fighting poverty. Instead, for him, leftist central planners should simply get an 'A' for effort. "We're trying to help the poor!" So? I'm trying to build a valuable career, but is the effort sufficient evidence of success? No.

  • ||

    Evan

    Well, there is also the implication that we are as a rule "rich" people.

  • ||

    Lowdog,

    My point was that I thought he at least understood the general philisophical outlook of libertarians.

  • ||

    The problem is that "helped the poor" is only understood to mean throwing money at them. Things like licensing and restrictive zoneing laws hurt the poor by making housing and costs of living higher. Libertarians do look out for the poor by stopping rent seekers from ripping off society. You could do more to help the poor by breaking up the various employee guilds and useless government regulations that support them than all of the wars on poverty have ever done.

  • ||

    Hak,

    Yeah, that too---same with the pothead thing. Either we're libertarians because we don't want the government creepin' on our stash, or we're libertarians because we don't want the government redistributing our wealth to the down-and-outs. Agh. I come from humble means too, Hak. I think that, at least in my view, the harder you work for what you have, the less willing you are to let the government tell you what to do with it, and how to live...and the less likely you are to depend on the government for handouts.

  • ||

    Well, I suppose exploiting the poor is one way of helping them.

  • ||

    Hakluyt,

    No, I understand where you were coming from, and I still think it's been obvious for quite some time that he never did get it.

    Also agree with the implication that us libertarians are all wealthy. Just look at my bank account to see that's not the case.

  • Dave W.||

    Joe,

    Thanks for the comments. In addition to the excellent points you made about limitations of the market in real estate, I would add that real estate isn't really fungible and leads to (local) concentrations of power if the suppliers stop responding to the demand side of the market.

    One example of this may be San Antonio, where (if the above post is to be believed, and I believe it), they are building lots of consumer unfriendly housing. I have enjoyed the Riverwalk, so I know that San Antonians do not suffer some grave aesthetic impairment as a population. The obvious explanation is that a couple developers have cornered the real estate market and are not particularly worried about offering the consumer a better range of choice than the competitors.

  • fyodor||

    Libertarians do look out for the poor by stopping rent seekers from ripping off society. You could do more to help the poor by breaking up the various employee guilds and useless government regulations that support them than all of the wars on poverty have ever done.

    Sorry, John, but you don't have the "bona fides" to make those statements. :-)

    Joe is right about one thing. Helping the poor is never the point of libertarian policy per se. It's just a happy turn of events sometimes! :-)

    Joe, libertarians feel our policies would benefit all who deserve it. How would you feel if someone said you didn't have proper "caring about the poor" credentials because you would put a poor man who robbed a rich man at gunpoint in jail? Presumably such a robbery violates your principles. Well, doing the same thing only under the auspices of majoritarian authority is the same thing to us because we don't believe that majoritian authority makes everything okay. Which you don't either. Well, we disagree. But yapping about our lack of "bona fides" regarding helping the poor because we don't believe in violating private property on the poor's behalf, even when it's a majority of popularly elected representatives of the state doing it, is just...just...well, it's a lot of things, too many to list here. Most of all it's dead wrong.

  • MP||

    The obvious explanation is that a couple developers have cornered the real estate market and are not particularly worried about offering the consumer a better range of choice than the competitors.

    Then I guess they'll loose their shirts in the transaction. Free Markets win again!

  • fyodor||

    Dave W,

    All roads lead to anti-trust for you, don't they? :-)

  • ||

    Wow, I went to my meeting at the perfect time - Hak immediately starts speculating on the centrally planned murder state that is the logical outcome of, um, having zoning codes.

    And, to echo Phil, "I also don't accept argument by categorical declaration." Way too much of that from you today, old bean.

  • Dave W.||

    a poor man who robbed a rich man at gunpoint in jail?

    This is a ridiculous analogy. Maybe welfare is somewhat akin to robbing the rich (or, more likely, the middle class), but there is a lot more to class struggle than welfare and Social Security. there are harsh drug laws aimed at the poor, there are eminent domain takings aimed at the poor, there are life sentences for repeated pettey theft, but light sentences for multi million (or billion) dollar frauds, there are tax loopholes that favor the rich, there are zoning laws (big lots, big setbacks) that favor the rich, military waste favors the rich . . .

    I could go on, but there are plenty of opportunities for you to show the bona fides that Joe and I are looking for without doing something stupid like coming out in support of something as blatant as taking rich people's money and just handing it to poor people.

  • ||

    Evan writes:

    Instead, for him, leftist central planners should simply get an 'A' for effort.

    I am friends with scads of self-identifying Democrats, liberals, and progressives. If there is one common theme, it is that, when faced with a "social problem," the number one priority is taking the position that requires the most centrally planned action. Somehow more centrally planned action seems to siginfy, to them, caring more. By advocating "doing more," they maximize the most important good for any Democrat, liberal or progressive: self-satisfaction. Actual concrete improvement in the lot of troubled folks is irrelevant or, at best, a happy accident.

  • ||

    "No matter how personally virtuous you are, or how well you've thought out this system of yours, it is doomed to failure."

    In the name of the Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman, and Fredreich von Hayek, Amen. Lot of categorical assertions, backed up by all the insults one would expect from someone so clearly backed against the wall.

    fyodor, I'm well aware of the libertarian talking points at this point. Step One: reduce government. Step Two: ? Step Three: Broad Public Benefits! What I've been hoping to get is some meat on those bones, explanations of why my ideas couldn't work, and all I've been getting are overly-broad statements of principle, and the occasional red baiting non sequitor. Of course that can't work, it involves the goverment is just a statement of faith, and I'm not dressed for church.

  • Dave W.||

    All roads lead to anti-trust for you, don't they? :-)

    When sophisticated ppl ask me what my politics are, I say I am an antitrust libertarian. I think its an accurate label, even though I think I am the only one in the world (at least right now -- sounds like it mighta been more common in Taft's time).

    Basically, I think both gov't and private aggergations of power are equally harmful, but I think the gravest harms are caused when powerful gov't and highly consolidated businesses work together to serve themselves. I think the greatest solution lies in: (1) the gov't's power being limited by much lower taxes; and (2)consolidated businesses' power being limited by gov't (eg, antitrust, product liability, zoning, etc).

    Although my philosophy is sort of unique, I hope it is coherent (if not downright persuasive).

  • ||

    One example of this may be San Antonio, where (if the above post is to be believed, and I believe it), they are building lots of consumer unfriendly housing. I have enjoyed the Riverwalk, so I know that San Antonians do not suffer some grave aesthetic impairment as a population. The obvious explanation is that a couple developers have cornered the real estate market and are not particularly worried about offering the consumer a better range of choice than the competitors.

    Dave W., since I'm married to a native San Antonian and have spent much time there, let me be the first to say that you are way off base. In the immediate downtown area, there are existing neighborhoods full of beautiful Victorian-era houses, as well as more humble "pedestrian-friendly" neighorhoods straight out of an urban planner's wet dream. And guess what, they are either slums or not not nearly in the same type of demand as the new outer suburban communities you so detest.

    You obviously come from a heavily urbanized perspective. "Consumer friendly" in the culture of San Antonio, however, does not mean strolling over to the cafe a block away to sip some latte, but a nice big private space of your own without the hectic pace and bother of urban life. You may not like that, but then no one is forcing you to move there, are they?

    Personally, I find S.A. to be the most boring city in America, barring perhaps Salt Lake City, but then, no one is forcing me to live there, either...

  • ||

    Wow, I do some work for a few hours, and the thread degenerates into a mutual admiration society. Of course, fyodor, libertarianism is the bestest philosophy ever, and joe just doesn't grasp its beauty. Why Hakluyt, I think that's exactly right. Evan, could you expand on how land use planning leads inevitably to concentration camps?

    Yawn. I made my points - Kelo is a boon, not a bedevillment, for liberals; and Hak's theory that giving the public a greater voice is elitist can't stand up to scrutiny. My work here is done.

  • ||

    Wow, I do some work for a few hours, and the thread degenerates into a mutual admiration society. Of course, fyodor, libertarianism is the bestest philosophy ever, and joe just doesn't grasp its beauty. Why Hakluyt, I think that's exactly right. Evan, could you expand on how land use planning leads inevitably to concentration camps?

    Yawn. I made my points - Kelo is a boon, not a bedevillment, for liberals; and Hak's theory that giving the public a greater voice is elitist can't stand up to scrutiny. My work here is done.

  • ||

    Wow, I do some work for a few hours, and the thread degenerates into a mutual admiration society. Of course, fyodor, libertarianism is the bestest philosophy ever, and joe just doesn't grasp its beauty. Why Hakluyt, I think that's exactly right. Evan, could you expand on how land use planning leads inevitably to concentration camps?

    Yawn. I made my points - Kelo is a boon, not a bedevillment, for liberals; and Hak's theory that giving the public a greater voice is elitist can't stand up to scrutiny. My work here is done.

  • ||

    Stupid server.

  • ||

    Fydor?

    Bonafides? Is this an ideology or a street gang? Just because I am not a peleocon isolationist or a libertine does not mean that I do not understand how markets and political processes work.

  • ||

    joe,

    Hak immediately starts speculating on the centrally planned murder state that is the logical outcome of, um, having zoning codes.

    They are the logical outcome of the sort of society you have discussed here. I mean really, you've all but detailed a centrally planned economy for us here and now you simply don't want to admit.

    Whenever you are backed up against the wall, you always make vague statements like this one below that have no meat to them; when challenged to actually demonstrate any of these claims, you elide past the challenge:

    Lot of categorical assertions, backed up by all the insults one would expect from someone so clearly backed against the wall.

    Blame yourself for your own stupidity.

    Its fairly obvious that you don't understand libertarian philosophy. If you did you wouldn't have made most of the statements you've made here today.

    ...Hak's theory that giving the public a greater voice is elitist...

    That's not my theory, you liar. You know it isn't. When backed up against the wall, is telling lies really all you can do?

    Dave W.,

    Why do we have to show our "bone fides" exactly? As has been written here, what have liberal policies done for poverty? Oh, exacerbated it!

  • ||

    joe,

    I'll repeat my theory for you, since you seem so slow off the mark:

    Here is the problem in a nutshell. No matter how personally virtuous you are, or how well you've thought out this system of yours, it is doomed to failure. Honestly, you're just like some 1950s era Soviet planner who claims that if he could only tweak the system these twelve different ways it would make the system work. The fact is, no matter how much you prattle on about making planning more democratic, more responsible to the public, etc. it never will be; you'll always have agency capture, corruption, the ear of government being bent to specific interests that will screw over everyone else, etc. Its best to give up on such fantasies and accept that markets are the means to solve these problems with some limited interventions allowed by government in the form of basically tort and contract law.

    So yes, urban planning and urban planners are ultimately elitists. They may make a bunch of noise like you do about being more "democratic," but you never, ever will be. If you can't differentiate what I have written here from what you claim that I think then you are dumber than I thought you were.

  • ||

    joe,

    BTW, you'll notice that is the main theme of my commentary and the commentary of many here including what is in the write-up.

  • ||

    I think joe should sell me his house for $1.00.

    The whole Reason community has a stake in this, certainly. Anyone who votes with me, I'll buy you a beer with proceeds from whatever I do with joe's house.

    I don't want to hear any lip about how this is none of your business, either. We are balancing your interests with joe's and mine, and you are intrested in beer, aren't you?

  • ||

    Jason Ligon,

    Ha ha ha. Can you imagine a planning body make such decisions for the "mega-community" joe has in mind? What a fucking nightmare. Also, the idea that it would be "democratic" gets pretty much shot out the window given the size of the thing he proposes.

  • Dave W.||

    the new outer suburban communities you so detest. You obviously come from a heavily urbanized perspective.

    This is not correct at all. I think there are two kinds of subdivisions: (1) ugly subdivisions (which is how the above poster characterized the new subdivisions of SA); and (2) non-ugly subdivisions. Although I haven't see the type (1) subdivisions in SA, I have seem them elsewhere (eg, Temecula, CA) and they are ugly in a homogenized, drab, sterile way that old subdivisions aren't. As far as type (2) subdivisions, I grew up in three of those until I turned 18 and went to a dorm arrangement, so I have some familiarity with the concept of a non-ugly subdivision.

    As far as heavily urbanized perspective -- here is where I bought a house and 5 acres and lived in 2002-2003:

    http://www.electricblue.net/WonderValley/
    (I lived 2.3 miles behind the sign with the buffalo on it).

  • ||

    Dave W.,

    I'd say that the first type provides folks with decent, affordable housing in part because they are basically uniform.

  • ||

    Dave W.,

    You have to remember not everyone can afford to live in something that looks like Frank Lloyd Wright designed the damn thing. I'd suggest your vision in fact would harm the onwership chances of folks by driving up the prices.

  • ||

    joe,

    Here's a question for you. On a daily basis how often do you meet the people who are effected by the decisions you make as an urban planner?

  • ||

    Dave W.,

    Honestly, after a while I think it really does come down to what liberals are offended by and how they can't stand people making choices that they don't like.

  • ||

    joe,

    BTW, there a number of other posters who have addressed you. When you going to grow a backbone and answer them? :)

  • ||

    ChrisO,

    Remember, we're dealing with people who think that government-mandated recycling, banning smoking in bars, banning GMOs, etc. is a good thing.

  • fyodor||

    Dave W,

    You entirely miss the point of my analogy. I was not addressing class war but simply a specific claim of joe's that libertarians obviously do not care about the poor because we do not advocate policies that are meant to help the poor that contradict our principles, just as he wouldn't either.

    joe,

    You're not addressing my point. And what, we NEVER offer ANY explanation for why libertarianism is good? You pick the worst arguments made to you here (which are often just frustrated reactions to you) and then claim that's all anyone ever says.

    John,

    You misunderstood me. I was making a sarcastic remark through the lense of joe. Ie, in joe's view, you were not allowed to point out how libertarian policies would likely benefit the poor because you are a libertarian, not a statis liberal.

    Dave W again,

    Re: there are eminent domain takings aimed at the poor, man, what do you think this whole damn thread is about??? That said, I agree, as I've said previously, that helping the poor is never the point of libertarian policies per se, so in a certain sense joe is right. But libertarians do think our policies would benefit the poor. joe seems to claim that we're being phony to point this out just because helping the poor is not the thrust or overt purpose of libertarianism. I say that's nonsense. I believe my analogy of the hold-up adequately illustrates why because it demonstrates that not taking the side of the poor in every possible circumstance does not prove a lack of concern for the poor.

  • ||

    fyodor,

    That said, I agree, as I've said previously, that helping the poor is never the point of libertarian policies per se, so in a certain sense joe is right.

    That's because libertarians don't think of it in terms of which constituencies should be rewarded, whereas liberals (Democrats and conservatives (Republicans) do.

  • Jadagul||

    Joe, from what you've said here and on other threads, I get the impression that you share Elizabeth Anderson's view of freedom: that the concept of liberty is more than simply "not being prohibited from doing what you want to do"; that liberty means that you have access to lots of choices. In this view, rights aren't the be-all and end-all of freedom, but merely a means to preserve your access to choices and prevent others from controlling you. Oddly enough, I basically agree; I don't think we can really say that "We have rights because-because-we just...do!"

    I'm a libertarian because I think that government efforts usually reduce freedom in this sense, rather than expanding it. In this specific instance, you ask how people not involved in the transaction but who are affected by it get a voice (note that this is roughly the textbook definition of an "externality"). First, you clearly can't give everyone who claims some 'interest' in a decision a large or equal say, as Jason (rather sillily) shows. So the question becomes "who has a legitimate interest, and how much say should he have?" I think the best way to answer this is through clearly-defined property rights. As in, we grant you the right to paint your house puce-that's accepted to be part of the bundle of rights included in your ownership of a house. But I should be able to negotiate to purchase this right from you; so if it's worth $20 to you to paint your house puce (god alone knows why), and it's worth $30 to me for you not to paint your house puce, I can buy your right to pucify your house for $25, and we're both happy.

    I realize that there are problems with this scenario (collective action problems among them), and that it's not perfect. But there is no perfect system, and I think mine has fewer disadvantages than yours-among other things, it seems neither right nor productive to deprive you of a very real personal benefit without compensating you in some way. When you bought your house one of the things you paid for was the right to paint it puce; it doesn't seem right to confiscate it without compensation. There are other, more practical reasons not to gratuitously confiscate rights like that, too, but this post is already way too long and I have way too much to do (hm, maybe I can tell the calc class I'm grading for that it's y'all's fault that it's taking a month to get their homework back!).

  • ||

    Ok, if we're all in a agreement, we're all just fellating each other in joe's eyes, but still, I must concur.

    Libertarian ideals/ideas are not meant to help "the poor" or "the rich" or "the middle class" or whatever, they're supposed to help each and every person who is willing to take the time and resposibility to help themselves. That's what makes urban planners or liberals very much "elitist" because it's not some central body who knows better than everyone else that's making decisions, but each person who, as Hakluyt says, has a stake in the decisions to be made that agrees upon what needs to be done. And this, in general, is done on a case-by-case basis, and there aren't a bunch of every size fits all rules thrown up all over the place which may end up hurting the chances of another group of people to do the same exact thing later on down the road.

    And while I will be happy to admit that things might not work out "the best" (whatever that means), at least there was no coercion involved in the decision.

  • nmg||

    Dave W, how does the existence of punitive drug war laws serve as an example of libertarians not holding any positions that are good for the poor.

    Libertarians are opposed to drug prohibition.

    The war on drugs is little more than a war of poor people who use drugs.

    Libertarians are stauncher allies of the poor than all the republicans and democrats put together.

    nmg

  • nmg||

    man, joe just gets worse and worse the more posts he makes. It makes me ill thinking about how many people in this country concur with his philosophy.

    I still can't get my head around how "the interests of the broader community have standing alongside those of The Individual" is anything other than mishy-mushy codespeak for populist control of other people's property at the behest of a city council plan for "growth".

    Sounds like something Hugo Chavez would say to be honest. It's not red-baiting to point out blatantly articulated communism. It doesn't much take any imagination to see joe's central planning committee listening to "input" from the public before voting to seize my house...

    nmg

    PS: this reminds of the education thread where joe and M1Ek vehemently denied my charge that leftist elitist object to vouchers because some children will be socialized in a way not to thier liking, then they proceed to make post after post disparaging vouchers because some children may get socialized in a way not to their liking..

  • Dave W.||

    As in, we grant you the right to paint your house puce-that's accepted to be part of the bundle of rights included in your ownership of a house.

    That is one example, although I never thought of house color as much of a zoning issue before (I know it comes up a lot in the Resident Asociation context).

    How about some more realistic examples:

    your right to build a trash dump?

    your right to build a smokestack?

    your right to put in a car dealership?

    How do you feel about your neighbors creator-endowed rights to do these things on their land? Would they be willing to take money from you to forbear in these regards? What if they wanted more money than you had?

  • ||

    And, to echo Phil, "I also don't accept argument by categorical declaration." Way too much of that from you today, old bean.

    See, all we need is a common enemy, and the love is back! Have beer on me tonight, and commisserate on neither of our teams being in the Series.

  • MP||

    Dave W.,

    To reiterate from earlier...

    As Hakluyt points out, tort law can resolve disputes of a economic nature that the aggrieved party feels to be significant.

    Also, in regards to pollution, this is a commons issue that libertarians generally agree merits regulation of some nature.

  • Dave W.||

    Libertarians are opposed to drug prohibition.

    Yes, and Fyodor identified eminent domain.

    What I said initially was that not all support (for lack of a better term) for the poor was analogous to Robin Hood. I said that non-Robin Hood type support might take the form of support in the eminent domain area or the drug law area (among other exemplary areas).

    Now, you and Fyodor point out to me that libertarians specifically take the pro-poor position in the eminent domain and drug law areas. Well, great -- glad to find a way to help here w/out requiring you to play Robin Hood -- there's the bona fides Joe was looking for -- now I guess and wait and see whether he thinks they are sufficient in context of the whole libertarian package (or lib-pak for short).

  • nmg||

    Don't forget that the libertarian position on fiscal policy is also very pro-poor. The point of libertarian fiscal policy is to unfetter regulations and rules that hamper job growth. Wage controls, licensure, etc. all serve to keep the poor from climbing the ladder.

    Now..., leftists may feel that libertarian fiscal policy doesn't achieve any such thing but if the issue is about intentions, libertarians have good intentions for the poor. We feel that the poor are hurt by leftist fiscal policy and we seek to remedy that.

    nmg

  • Dave W.||

    Also, in regards to pollution, this is a commons issue that libertarians generally agree merits regulation of some nature.

    A dump isn't pollution. A dump is where waste is consigned in order to prevent it from polluting.

    My comment about the dump was made to specifically to challenge a previous post which argued that private ordering (eg, contract) could be used to settle all land ownership problems. My comment was not intended to address the real world where, as you correctly point out, tort law, environmental regulations, etc. put constraints on land use from sources other than private ordering.

  • ||

    your right to build a trash dump?

    your right to build a smokestack?

    your right to put in a car dealership?

    For things that involve imposing inconviencies or harm (smells, toxic chemicals, lots of noice) on other people, there's room for bringing in the civil courts if people can't negotiate something else. Waving fists and noses, etc. But that's light-years away from the idea that it's "elitist" to say everyone else (read: public officials, possibly listening to some citizens) should necessarily "have a say in" how anyone peacefully uses his or her property.

    What about:

    Your right to open a mosque.

    Your right to open a bookstore that carries porn, New Age books, or Christian tracts.

    Your right to open a store that has signs in *gasp* a foreign language.

    Your right to open a store that attracts a clientele of undesirable people, whether that be teenagers, minorities, and/or people driving dirt-covered pickups.

    Your right to operate any sort of business out of your home.

    Your right to put a sign for a political candidate on your front yard.

    Your right to build really high fences and walk around naked in your backyard.

    Your right to build a really high fence around your yard.

    Your right to put solar panels on your roof.

    Your right to have an older, smaller house that your neighbors don't like the looks of.

    Your right to remodel your older house that your neighbors happen to really like the looks of.

    Your right to keep your house or store even if the developer you don't want to sell to has an in with city hall.

    Your right to sell your home or store to someone of your choice even if the neighbors don't want to have to live next to black people or some councilmember doesn't want a Wal-Mart.

    These are the sort of things that are important to me. If I'm not hurting anyone, I don't want to be screwed by someone with some power who has a grand plan or doesn't like what I'm doing. And yes, it does occur to me that poor people and minorities are even easier targets than a middle-class white guy.

  • Dave W.||

    in my previous post:

    "land ownership problems" should be --land use problems--

    it confused me when I re-read that post!

  • Jadagul||

    Dave W: Thanks. I think your questions are very, very good and are the interesting ones where you have to make judgments. I don't think there are a priori answers, just judgment calls about how we want the standard property bundles set up.

    For instance, consider the smokestack. I think most people would want a property regime set up so that we assume that "reasonably clean air" is part of the standard bundle. Thus while you'd have a theoretical right to build a smokestack, it's useless until you negotiate with your neighbors for the right to emit smoke into their property. Here we've set up a property right in "the right to decide whether the pollution content in a patch of air can exceed X threshold." The default is that this right goes to the homeowner, but someone else who wants to emit pollution can either purchase the right to emit more (I can go into details about how I'd set it up, but why?)

    Similarly on the dump, I'd expect "not having other people make my yard smell like shit" be one of the standard rights that comes with a home purchase. So similarly, if I want to open a dump I have to pay for the right to emit an annoying smell over everyone else's property.

    For the car dealership, I can't think offhand of what latent right in other people's property a car dealership would necessarily violate-especially if the dealership is fit onto a couple of residential lots. But if the dealership violated whatever noise boundaries we decided were in the standard bundle, or something, I expect it would have to compensate for that.

    But the nice thing about this scheme is that it doesn't require zoning, or top-down decisions; people get to decide how much they care about each of these things.

    For equal time, the disadvantage is the collective action problem: it's somewhat tricky for a private actor to negotiate with everyone on a few blocks, although I don't think the problem is insurmountable.

    And now I really gotta go. Catch you later.

  • ||

    "more rigorous demonstration of the public benefits that should be the plan�s primary objective (not simply increased tax revenue or the private benefit of a new owner)"

    I think that's the crux of the matter right there.

    1) The Consitution explicitly provides for takings for the public good. Some of the libertarian arguments here seem to oppose all eminent domain in all cases, if taken at face value.

    2) "Public good" needs to be defined. That's my problem with the Kelo decision. It places no restrictions on a local gov't's ability to define what is "public good", thereby making the law meaningless.

    Unfortunately the article stops short of proposing criteria by which "public good" can be defined.

  • MP||

    A dump isn't pollution

    Ummm...you brought up the smokestack. Did you bring it up because to don't like giant brick phallic symbols?

    1) The Consitution explicitly provides for takings for the public good. Some of the libertarian arguments here seem to oppose all eminent domain in all cases, if taken at face value.

    No. Public use. Don't fall for the Use=Interest=Good arguments. And as to the Constitutionality of ED, 3/5ths was also Constitutional...that didn't make it just.

  • ||

    joe:

    And without any zoning or planning laws that allow the community to have a voice, how do expect to resolve your differences in a mutually-agreed-upon manner?

    Check your premises. Who is this "community" that has a voice? Isn't government power set up to be utilized by those who pay for it and who are in proximity to it? The history of zoning is replete with examples of businesses using these laws to limit their competition.

    "...mutually-agreed-upon manner?"

    What mutual agreement? With zoning laws, there is only conformity. It's the choice of the market that actually gives each of that collection of individuals that you call the "community" input. Also, the market, with folks trying to make a profit, tends to foresee and minimize differences.

  • ||

    joe:

    If libertarians actually had some bona fides established when it comes to being on the side of poor people, they might not find themselves quite so vulnerable.

    Although individual liberty is the main point, libertarians aren't vulnerable at all to allegations that their policy prescriptions don't help the poor. Laissez faire is the most potent anti-poverty program in history.

    Lowering taxes makes goods cheaper. This is more critical to poor folks. I mentioned in the previous post how elimination commercial zoning laws affords poor folks more choice. Vouchers allow kids from poor families to attend better schools. The victims of occupational licensure laws, which libertarians oppose, are often poor folks who can't afford the attendant fees.

  • ||

    Mark Borok,

    The Constitution doesn't say shit about the "public good."

    ...nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

  • ||

    Rick Barton,

    Oh, it was just the typical liberal attempt to smear libertarians as "uncaring."

  • ||

    Rick Barton,

    More to the point, those cheaper goods means more sales, which means more jobs. Its a virtuous circle.

  • ||

    Dave W. at 04:18 PM:

    The obvious explanation is that a couple developers have cornered the real estate market and are not particularly worried about offering the consumer a better range of choice than the competitors.

    The only way for that to happen is via government regulation that limits the construction of competitive offerings. In other words, limit the competitors themselves so the consumers don't have "a better range of choice".

  • ||

    I listed a lack of public participation in planning decisions as a problem that needs to be corrected. In other words, I want the people in a neighborhood to have a greater say over the decisions that effect their lives.

    I usually try to keep out of these discussions. ...I'd never go after somebody's property via eminent domain; in fact, I'm just as afraid some local municipality is gonna come after my project via eminent domain as any homeowner is. ...and I'm a commercial developer.

    ...but quite frankly joe, I find your take on this to be a little...shocking.

    I wouldn't expect most people to know this, but I assumed you did. ...I would bet real money that for every homeowner that gets their home taken, there's a hundred development projects that are shot down by people in the local community. ...and I'm not even talkin' about via EIRs amd biology studies and traffic studies and noise issues, etc. ...I mean just plain, community members show up at the planning meeting and bad mouth somebody's project.

    The last time we had a project in front of a planning commission, we were rezoning our piece from a less desirable use for the community to an unquestionably higher use, to which one local replied--and I paraphrase--"I don't care if use Y is better than X, I don't see why you should be able to build anything there."

    I wanted to say, "Oh yeah motherfucker? ...Well I think your house would look better as fucking hot dog stand!" ...But I didn't.

    I've come to see city planning departments not so much as the enemy anymore because, believe it or not, they're usually the only thing standing between us and the angry mob. ...and I thought you knew that joe.

    ...a lack of public participation in planning decisions! ..are you kidding?

  • ||

    I'm not saying that you don't or can't understand what's goin' happenin' on our side of the fence, joe. ...but nothing changes someone's perspective like a change of perspective, and someday, you may come over to the dark side. I can see it now, you'll be processing plans through the labyrinth for some lucky developer somewhere... ...and some yokel in a planning meeting 'll shoot your ass down!

    ...Is there anywhere else in our economy where entrepreneurs have to jump through so many hoops to get something done? ...some place where they're subjected to so many arbitrary decisions! People just don't know what goes on! ...They'll hold you up over how many and what kind of bushes you plant. ...They'll hold you up over different shades of beige paint!

  • ||

    ...but nothing changes someone's perspective like a change of perspective, and someday, you may come over to the dark side.

    Sam Zell says, "joe, I'm your faaather!"

  • ||

    Hakluyt:

    It's a virtuous circle

    Excellent! May I use it?

  • ||

    ...and I'd like to add that I think stickin' up for victims of the drug war--talk about the marginalized--alone gives libertarians plenty of street cred regarding the poor.

    Oh, and one more time with feeling...

    A lack of participation in planning decisions! ...Huh?! On what freakin' planet?

  • fyodor||

    there's the bona fides Joe was looking for

    No, there's the bona fides joe derides as being phony! Or at least that's the point I think he's trying to make when he derides us for pointing out that our positions on those issues would help the poor. I think his point, to give him the most benefit of the doubt I can, is that since we only take the side of the poor when it coincides with our principles but will just as easily not take what is commonly considered to be the side of the poor when it contradicts our principles, then we're being disengenuous to act like we're championing the cause of the poor in those cases where our interests happen to coincide.

    I could reiterate why I think that's a fallacious and disengenuous ad hominen argument, but I'll skip that reiteration to reiterate to you that whatever the best interpretation of joe's reaction to our pointing out the advantages of libertarian positions for the poor, rest assured that joe HAS indeed already seen us take those positions and explain them as being advantageous to the poor. His claim to NOT BELIEVE OUR CONCERN FOR THE POOR based on OUR OTHER POSITIONS is what started this whole dangnammit argument in the first place!!

  • fyodor||

    BTW, Dave W., not all libertarians necessarily oppose all potential efforts to deal with genuine externalities, but we want such efforts to be as market-based as possible, and to limit coercive solutions to addressing genuinely coercive effects on others. This means keeping centralized decision making and universal one-size-fits-all edicts at a minimum. I agree that smokestacks and toxic dumps create such externalities. A car lot? I think that in the absence of zoning, people would simply base their decisions on where to live with the knowledge that they can't depend on zoning to save them from such occurences, so they would have to use their wits to avoid them instead and simply buy where a car lot would be unlikely. In the end result, I don't think the people who avoid car lots and those who don't would be that much different than they are now. Those with greater means, alas, generally get more of what they want. C'est la vie. Only the decision making would result from the more efficient feedback loops of the market rather than the inefficient top-down edicts of government bureaucracy. And there would be less coercion, always a good thing!

  • ||

    "The Constitution doesn't say shit about the "public good."

    ...nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

    My mistake, should have looked it up. Still should be easy enough to define "public use" any way you want to.

    "And as to the Constitutionality of ED, 3/5ths was also Constitutional...that didn't make it just."

    Then how do you propose accomplishing those goals for which ED was specifically intended, such as building roads? Assuming you're actually arguing for an amendment to ban it.

  • drf||

    Fyodor:

    Coase Theorem!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    :)

    awesome win for denver on sun!

  • ||

    From a development perspective, I don't have a big problem with zoning per se, but I'd like to know that I can build within the zoning allowd. ...but everything other than the mythological standard industrial use seems to require a Conditional Use Permit anymore, and everybody's General Plan seems to be superimposed on their zoning map, and--oh yeah--everybody's general plan seems to be in a constant state of flux.

    ...and just to be clear about the kind of problems I've seen, the situation I alluded to above involved changing the land use from industrial--for which we already had entitlements--to residential, homes that were to be priced at over $500,000 a piece! ...People just didn't want anything built there because they enjoyed taking nature hikes on our property!

    ...and like I said, I don't understand how the public could be much more involved than they are. Any member of the public can show up at the planning meeting and say anything they like about your project. ...and the planning commission can shoot your project down for any reason they want... ...and if it does get approved, it goes to the city council. ...and anybody that walks in off the street can, once again, can say whatever they want, and the city council can shoot your project down for whatever reason they want! ...how much more involved should the public be?

    ...What do you want? ...every new development project to get a referendum?

  • ||

    Tom,

    It seems like there's two types of projects: one where the planners don't like what the developer wants to do so they invite the public for the entire purpose of having any member of the public find some reason to shoot it down, and another where the planners and the developers are in complete agreement and therefore try to avoid having the public involved because they're certain at least one loudmouth won't like it.

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