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Land: The Exception To My Free Market Rules 11 December 2006

Posted by David in Uncategorized.

There has been a lot of talk about Kate Barker’s evil plans to loosen off the green belt. I thought therefore I would join in, by stating that land use is one of a few exceptions to my generally very libertarian free market economic rules.

Why? It’s simple, and hasn’t been lost on the classical liberal economists of yesteryear, such as Ricardo. Land is a finite resource, and what you do with one piece, affects others. If you had total freedom, some loony might build an eyesore or ten thousand homes in your once beautiful view, knocking thousands off your value. You cannot build a successful economy on sand, so there must be sensible regulation.

The pro-Barker lobbyists note two points, first that less than 10% of England is concreted over, and second that many think over half is built on. As for the first, ten percent is already a lot, after all we need land for farming, plus the environment. The second point is a total irrelevance, like stating 8 out of 10 cats think there are too many asylum seekers.

Britain’s population is declining, currently rising only due to immigration. If we stopped mass immigration, there wouldn’t be half of this demand for new housing. Then, if we regenerated run down areas, we’d not need to destroy more countryside. Builders will always choose a green field site to brownfield because it’s cheaper, but we shouldn’t just let our green spaces get ruined.



1. Pete - 11 December 2006

My degree contains a fair amount of Urban and Regional studies, including land use planning, and I have to say I pretty much agree with what you have to say here. Its a little more complicated, but you essentially hit the nail on the head! It has had to be my exception in my interpretation of free market rules too.

2. blogger - 12 December 2006

It’s interesting that degree level study has the same interpretation yet the govt continues its drive to “free up more land” as if we can just generate more. As I think Freidman argued, land and (if there is any welfare system) immigration are the two exceptions to pure free market rules. It shows how thin this whole ‘environment’ charade is anyway.

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