Driving south on I-65 through Alabaster, Alabama, last week, I noticed a sprawling new shopping center on my left. Wal-Mart stood out prominently, but I also saw Belk and Old Navy stores. Ross and Pier One were there too. J.C. Penney and Target will open next year. This was of interest to me because people's homes once stood where those stores now stand. Most of the homeowners had no choice but to leave because the Alabaster city council used its power of eminent domain to seize their properties and transfer them to a shopping-center developer. (Two homeowners managed to beat the city.) In America, as elsewhere, government is the ultimate de facto owner of the land. The apparent owners use it at the government's pleasure, and sometimes -- alarmingly often these days -- the government decides it would rather have someone else use a particular parcel. The direction of transfers is predominantly from the working class to Big Business. Is it any wonder that people can't always see the connection between capitalism and freedom?Read the rest of this week's TGIF column at the Foundation for Economic Education website.
Cross-posted at Liberty & Power.