Debate Magazine

Private Property / Public Good. Discuss

Posted on the 25 October 2013 by Markwadsworth @Mark_Wadsworth
I have been pondering the private property rights / public good argument, and I need your help.
Overall, a lot of things might be improved if private property rights were respected.  For example it would be reasonable for a houswife to take action against a nearby power station operator if his plant produced contaminants that dirtied her clean washing on the line. His pollution invades her private property and ruins her enjoyment of it, so she could reasonably request that he be made to cease and desist. This would apply whether she was an owner or a tenant.
But, in lots of cases the State pushes something through against local wishes on the basis of the 'public good', which is straightforward denail of property rights.  So HS2 for example would be a non-starter, even if it were privately financed. In other words private property rights could frustrate the ambitions of a major undertaking by the use of 'ransom strips' by some landowners.
Or would it?  If we had universal LVT would it not be the case that once 99% of the land had been acquired for the track the last 1% would have a very high rental value that would exceed what could be earned by any other use than as a railway. The owner would be forced to sell by the unsustainable LVT imprests?   In fact once the route was published all the landowners along the route would have the same LVT rating.  In other words LVT evens things out not only in favour of private property but also enables the construction of large national sized undertakings? The attempt to be the owner of the last ransom strip would not occur.  I am making the assumption that large undertakings like a railway are a Good Thing - if privately financed.
(In re an earlier posting, in passing I read somewhere recently that the bulk of the cost of nuclear power stations in the UK is regulation....?) 

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