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Saturday, April 28, 2007

 

Large Acres of Land Selling to the Rich

For the very rich billionaires and the millionaires there is a new fad of buying up open land in the US. Brad Kelley has almost 800,000 acres of land that he is purchasing for ranching. There are others, like Roxanne Quimby, who buy forest landfrom logging companies and open land used for ATV trails, and plan to use it as conservation land. It seems the rich are beginning to do the opposite of what Americans were doing in the early 19th century, of preserving the land and maintaining it not selling.

It seems that most of the private property owners are protecting the land from development, not preparing it to be sold to developers. If we consider economic prosperity of this effort, it clearly support the right of private property. It is also a good example of the corrective state involving preservation of land and natural resources. Maybe this fad will catch on.

As James Madison stated in his Essay on Property in 1792, "Government is instituted to protect property of every sort; as well that which lies in the various rights of individuals, as that which the term particularly expresses. This being the end of government, that alone is a just government which impartially secures to every man whatever is his own". So how is the Government going to react to these land purchases? Will they press for more eminent domain to take over the land to sell and make a profit, keep it as a public use? Even though it seems most of the private landowners will protect it. How will the Supreme Court react when faced with a case for the Takings Clause that has no grounds? Will they redefine takings and public use language again to come up with a public purpose policy? Or will they agree with common sense and let the private property remain private without government intervention?

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