Eminent Domain

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Libertarians hate this limitation on property rights, ranting incessantly. And when used corruptly, it is detestable to all. But it does have an important role to play in overcoming a common market failure called the Tragedy Of The Anticommons. The key concept is that property ownership is not an unmitigated good, and, worse yet, it can lead to economic gridlock and underutilization of resources.


Holdouts (1 link)
Construction projects are often halted or expensively modified because some owners refuse to sell property needed for a project. Called "nail houses" in China.
Takings: Private Property and the Power of Eminent Domain (book)
(1985) Richard Epstein takes the Lockean Fable about property seriously, and builds cloud-castles of his wished-for law upon it.
The Gridlock Economy: How Too Much Ownership Wrecks Markets, Stops Innovation, and Costs Lives (book) (1 link)
"Usually, private ownership creates wealth, but too much ownership has the opposite effect -- it creates gridlock. When too many people own pieces of one thing, whether a physical or intellectual resource, cooperation breaks down, wealth disappears, and everybody loses."
The Permission Problem [More...]
A good explanation of the Tragedy Of The Anticommons market failure based on the book "The Gridlock Economy: How Too Much Ownership Wrecks Markets, Stops Innovation, and Costs Lives" by Michael Heller.
The Promise and Peril of South African Land Reform [More...]
"These promises and pitfalls can be seen by examining the experience of neighboring Zimbabwe. In the 1990s and 2000s, Zimbabwe expropriated its remaining white-owned farmland without compensation, handing it over to black farmers. This resulted in improved agricultural yields, rising incomes for farmers and reduced rural poverty."


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