July 8, 2006

What Free Market?

By What Free Market?

by Steven Geoffrey Gieseler

According to the Martha's Vineyard Times, a church in Edgartown, Mass. openly listed property for sale in November 2005.  The church then reached an agreement to sell the land to a developer.  But the plans are now on hold, because Edgartown itself–seemingly befuddled that the church didn't specifically offer the property to the town–is considering using eminent domain to take the property for use as a cemetery.

Local governments wielding the power of eminent domain have little use for the idea of a free market.  Usually this manifests itself in the charade of fair negotiation when a city knows (and knows the property owner knows) property can be taken at a discount.  Edgartown's actions, as related in the article, look to be the logical evolution of this disregard.

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