The New York Times Room for Debate blog has a forum on the implications of Pfizer’s decision to abandon its New London headquarters. Pfizer and its New London facility had previously played a key role in instigating the condemnations that led to the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the use of eminent domain for “economic development” in Kelo v. City of New London. My contribution argues that Pfizer’s role in the Kelo takings and their failure to produce any actual development bolsters the case for strengthening protection for property rights. Here’s an excerpt:
Far from producing the promised “development,” the condemnation of private property in New London under Kelo damaged the local economy by destroying homes and businesses and wasting taxpayer money.
This result should not have been surprising. Government planners who undertake “economic development” condemnations have strong incentives to approve takings that benefit well-connected interest groups, even if they end up destroying more development than they create. Usually, as in Kelo, those targeted for condemnation are poor or politically weak.