Why America Has a Property Rights Movement

Despite being the most vigorous defender of private property rights in the world, the United States has given rise to a strong property-rights movement. In his lecture, Joseph L. Sax notes that the basis of discontent in the system is the way in which similar plots of land are treated differently because land-use rules are created after substantial development has occurred. However, it is most often the developers themselves that oppose setting out the rules for development at the start. While the developer prospective that equal plots of land should be permitted to be developed equally is initially attractive, Sax concludes that courts should consider the time in which lots are developed, as landowners have advance notice that the circumstances affecting development may change with time.

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