Cities and Private Planning

Cities and Private Planning

Property Rights, Entrepreneurship and Transaction Costs

Edited by David Emanuel Andersson and Stefano Moroni

Through comprehensive case studies of privately planned cities and neighbourhood in Asia, Europe and North America, this book characterizes the theoretical basis and empirical manifestations of private urban planning. In this innovative volume, Andersson and Moroni develop an understudied aspect of urban planning and re-evaluate conceptions of our urban future.

Chapter 5: Private urban planning and free enterprise

Walter E. Block

Subjects: economics and finance, austrian economics, institutional economics, urban economics, urban and regional studies, cities, urban economics, urban studies


According to that old aphorism, started by New York City mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, ‘there is no Republican or Democratic way to pick up the garbage’ (Halbur, 2011; McManus, 2011; Moore, 2013; Wolf, 2007). Even on its own grounds, this is obviously false. For the Democratic way to remove waste is different than the Republican, and both diverge from the Libertarian. In the former case, the way to do so is via a fully unionized workforce, with high salaries and stupendous fringe benefits. In the middle case, this can be accomplished by contracting out, with niggardly salaries, since the GOP (the Republican Party is commonly known as the Grand Old Party, or GOP) is supposed to be comprised of cheapskates. As for the latter, the Libertarians go even further in the direction of private enterprise: there is virtually no city government at all, and households and businesses hire waste removal enterprises on their own, cutting out the political middleman. But sanitation is only the tip of the iceberg. What this aphorism really means is that while there may well be differences regarding national and international economic policies, the same does not apply to local or urban ones. There, central planning is embraced by all; there really is no alternative option.

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