Paul Walker at Anti Dismal links to a piece by Don Boudreaux challenging the conventional idea that the existence of “hold outs” necessitates governments stealing people’s homes in order to build motorways, or power lines or railway lines. Not so, says Boudreaux.
While it is easy to imagine such problems [such as the recalcitrant homeowner], I doubt that they are significant enough to entrust politicians with the power to take private property. . .[Especially since] with skillful contracting maneuvers — for example, buying each plot of land contingent upon the successful purchase of all other plots of land necessary to build the road or airport — a government intent on serving the public should be able to do its job without powers of eminent domain.
Concludes Paul, “If only our government had the same skills as private developers.” But then they wouldn’t be in government, would they.
Frankly, if there’s burglars coming to Mt Albert by motorway, it’s the burglars who are there stealing people’s houses to build it.