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Posts Tagged ‘economic prosperity’

In this 2009 debate with 2004 Libertarian Party presidential candidate Michael Badnarik, Stefan Molyneux, an advocate of voluntaryism, made a statement that I find very worthy of further examination.

Namely, that the most free societies produce such prosperity that they become the most tyrannical. His argument is that immense political and economic freedom bring extraordinary economic prosperity, and the corresponding wealth generated is used to control government and use it as a tool for profit and a weapon against political enemies.

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In a little town in Quebec, Canada, a gold mining company is just one property away from developing Canada’s largest open-pit gold mine.

From the July 22, 2010 episode of CBC’s The Current:

Ken Massé is literally sitting on a gold mine. And he refuses to budge. Massé is the last thing in the way of Osisko Mining Corporation’s plan to develop Canada’s largest open-pit gold mine in tiny Malarctic, Quebec. All of Massé’s neighbours have sold out to the mining company, or have been relocated. But Massé won’t give up his childhood home without a fight.

What strikes me most about this case is the possibility of the taking of private property for private use, without the owner’s consent.

Unlike the U.S. Constitution, Canada’s constitution doesn’t require just compensation for the taking of private property for public use. Even worse, it doesn’t require any compensation, which even the communist Chinese Constitution requires.

Here, we’re talking about the taking of private property for private use, without the owner’s consent — something that the U.S. Constitution implicitly prohibits, but which, unfortunately, has been permitted with cases like Kelo v. New London.

The CEO of Osisko disclosed that they had sought an expropriation order of the property, which is understandable from the perspective of a publicly-traded corporation whose primary responsibility, both in law and dominant business culture, is to maximize shareholder’s wealth (as the Board and executives best see fit).

However, from the perspective of higher principle, as I believe is embodied in the U.S. constitutional requirement for just compensation, Canada’s lack of such a provision, both in law and practice, I believe, will lead to its long-term decline in the economic prosperity it currently enjoys.

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