Thousands of farmers in India are protesting government acquisition of their land-through eminent domain-for economic development purposes.
India’s economy is currently growing at a rate of 8.8%, with tens of millions of Indians entering the job market each year. Some government officials feel that acquiring land through the use of eminent domain is essential for continued rapid economic growth. This notion presupposes that private property rights are a deterrent to economic growth. They’re not.
Since the Kelo decision in 2005, the Texas Legislature has taken steps to ensure private property rights for its citizens. With each step forward, detractors have argued that economic growth will be stifled as a result. Studies show that there appears to be no negative economic consequences from eminent domain reform. Trends in all three key economic indicators-construction jobs, building permits, and property tax revenues-were essentially the same after reform as before. Large-scale economic development can and does occur without eminent domain.
If India enacts reforms to protect private property rights, they will likely see that they can have sustained economic growth-and they can do it without protests in the streets.
– Ryan Brannan