Running with Robbers
One of the most perplexing things about the current fight over Oregon land use laws is how many wealthy Oregonians publicly support restricting development rights.
Many of them are landowners. So it would seem they are advocating against their own interests and the basic concepts of the free market and private property that sustain their wealth.
In reality, wealthy landowners have already developed the land they control. This is why they are wealthy. Restricting the land around them usually turns out to be a way to limit competition and hold their advantage in the marketplace.
Few wealthy supporters of land use restrictions seem willing to give their neighbors the same economic opportunity they and their ancestors enjoyed.
Most of the property owners hurt by land use restrictions have modest holdings, where the value is in future development. That value is often the sum total of their life savings. Should the rest of us be able to steal their investment because we prefer that it remain undeveloped? Those are usually called “parks,” and as a society we used to feel obligated to pay for them.
The golden rule is: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” If you don’t want the majority to one day steal your property, don’t run with robbers.
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