Property Rights, Entrepreneurship and Transaction Costs
Edited by David Emanuel Andersson and Stefano Moroni
Chapter 7: Planning by contract: two dialogues
The first dialogue of this chapter is between a pro-government interventionist planner and a pro-market libertarian planner over the latter’s claim that planning by contract based on the leasehold system as in Hong Kong is a bona fide town-planning regime and that such planning can stand on its own without planning by edict. The libertarian planner attempts to show that planning by contract is truly planning, is self-enforcing and, above all, is capable of meeting both private and public interests. The interventionist planner raises the issue of the public interest in defending state intervention. The second dialogue is between the libertarian planner of the first dialogue and an anarchist libertarian economist over the indispensability of state involvement in town planning. The latter insists that planning can be done by private individuals without any government assistance or direction other than a court. The former explains that planning is the dedication of a certain plot of land to a certain use and is a deliberate human act rather than the outcome of spontaneous, not necessarily deliberative action (in other words an act of man rather than a human act that does not involve thinking or intention); and that prior government involvement is essential for private planning to take place. They conclude by discussing the nature and necessity of government, as a decreasing-cost monopoly of property rights protection for all, in terms of new institutional economics.
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