Presentation at the Peace Palace

Peace Palace

The Peace Palace in The Hague

I gave a presentation earlier today at the Peace Palace in The Hague in the Netherlands. This was part of the 13th Annual Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Conference, sponsored by the William & Mary Law School and the University of Leiden. Each year practitioners and scholars gather to discuss trends in property rights and to honor a preeminent scholar in property law. This year’s honoree was Hernando de Soto, a Peruvian economist who has electrified the world with his research and books on how property rights and economic freedom are the best antidotes for poverty in the Third World. I was on a panel discussing the use of eminent domain and expropriation as a means of wealth transfer. In particular, I discussed the unfortunate fact that eminent domain in the United States often results in the taking of the homes of the poor and politically powerless for the benefit of the wealthy and politically connected. Kelo is the most notorious example of this trend, but there are many others.