Seattle Times Columnist Bruce Ramsey summarizes the discussion of a recent conference on property rights.
"The property-rights movement, said the speaker, "is not going away." He added, "At some level I think they're going to be successful."
It was a notable statement, because the speaker, professor Harvey Jacobs of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, is not a supporter.
I heard him last week at the Lincoln Institute for Land Policy, a Cambridge, Mass., think tank that had invited me there. The institute, which traces its roots to 19th-century political economist Henry George, is also critical of strengthening property rights. It takes the view that property rights are a creation of society, and that society might have reasons to barber them. One of its speakers argued that instead of ‘rights' we should use the term ‘interests.'
Jacobs allowed, however, that millions of Americans don't see it that way. We are not Europeans, who bow to the common good. That was notable in two things: the reaction to the Kelo case in 2005 and the passage of Measure 37 in Oregon in 2004."
Thanks to Anthony Flint