On The Free Market and Aesthetics

by John O'Sullivan

Rod might want to consider some of the most beautiful housing estates in the world: London’s Georgian estates. These have a aesthetic harmony because the aristocratic landlords who built them insisted that tenants make any changes or decorations conform to the standards they laid down. No one could rent who rejected these conditions; but no one was compelled to rent these houses; there were other options. It was a voluntary market arrangement on both sides–and it has produced a lasting architectural environment far more splendid than any land use planning by government bureaucracies. Such aesthetic landmarks depend, however, on the protection of private property rights–and on renters and buyers who demand such a pleasing environment and are prepared to pay a little more in rent or mortgage payments. I think Dallas has the first. How about the second?

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