Appropriate Expropriation?


by Timothy Sandefur

Seth Fox of the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report has this article about the Louisiana ballot initiative which would amend the state constitution to restrict the use of eminent domain. Check out real estate attorney Charles Landry's comment that "Without government being extremely active in economic development, that just won't occur." What nonsense. Of course economic development can occur without government. Government is not a creator of prosperity, all it can do is take the things that belong to some people and give it to other people. As Rose Wilder Lane wrote,

Men in public office do not use their energy productively; that is not their function. Their function is to use human energy as a force to stop the uses of human energy that the majority does not approve, or at least does not defend. Men in government must take the wealth they consume, from the wealth that productive men create.

The idea that government is necessary for economic development ignores the whole history of economic development, which has virtually always succeeded in spite of government, and only when government has simply respected the boundaries of individual rights.