Source link: http://archive.mises.org/2361/new-online-jls-volume-17-no-4/
NEW ONLINE: JLS Volume 17, no. 4
Volume 17, no. 4 (Fall 2003)
- “The Enterprise of Community: Market Competition, Land, and Environment” by Spencer Heath MacCallum. We tend to think of land as something physical, described as clear, rocky, fertile, or barren. However, MacCallum reminds us that those who deal in land say that three things give it value: location, location, location. It makes sense from an economic standpoint, therefore, to look at land not as anything physical, but as a special kind of location having to do only incidentally with geophysical coordinates. A prospective home site for a young family gains in desirability if there is a school nearby, or a mine site if there is a railroad accessible to transport its ores, or a retail site if there are residences nearby, not to mention parking spaces, utility grids, and many other things. When we buy or sell land, therefore, we are trading in what might be called positioning rights—rights to position ourselves and our activities strategically relative to other people and activities we consider significant. MacCallum considers land as an “environmental” concept within a structure of multi-tenant income properties. He points out that landlords have incentives to generate an appropriate mix of environmental amenities—educational opportunities, safety, roads, sewerage—that benefit the members of the community served by such a structure. The landlord provides governance in the absence of government, since the landlord has economic incentives, while governments explicitly operate outside of normal economic incentives.
- “Do Pessimistic Assumptions About Human Behavior Justify Government?” by Benjamin Powell & Chris Coyne. The evolution from the state of nature to some form of social order has been a central question of political theory for centuries. Many writers begin their analysis of this situation by making pessimistic assumptions about man’s behavior in the state of nature. (Hobbes’s idea about life being poor, brutish, nasty, and short springs to mind.) After making pessimistic assumptions about human behavior, such writers spring to the conclusion that a strong centralized government is not just necessary, but positively beneficial. Powell & Coyne critically reconsider several such models, including those by Nobel laurate James Buchanan, and by McGuire and Olson. Powell & Coyne show that, even given such pessimistic assumptions about life under anarchy, their models fail to prove that a centralized state is superior to the state of nature.
- “The Constitutional Right of Secession in Political Theory and History” by Andrei Kreptul. In light of recent changes including the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the reunification of Germany, Kreptul explores secession as a constitutional and practical matter. He explores the idea of secession from two theoretical perspectives: liberal democracy vs. Austro-libertarian. Further, Kreptul examines the modern right of constitutional secession as it exists in many constitutions, including Ethiopia, the European Union, St. Kitts and Nevis, Austria, Singapore, and Switzerland. He also discussed the current secession movement in Quebec, and explores decisions by Canada’s legislative and judicial branches on the issue. He concludes by examining possible procedural problems with constitutional secession rights, and offers a short list of solutions to such problems.