Sunday, April 24, 2016

How Zoning and Other Government Policies Hamper Many Blacks’ Economic Progress

The problem is not racial discrimination as such. Zoning boards give bigots and other NIMBY interests the power to “segregate” neighborhoods and towns by force. Without such legal powers, builders would be able to build housing based on demand, wherever that demand my surface. The builders would be free to respond to the rational value choices of housing consumers. The racial makeup of towns might still occasionally not meet some bureaucrat's idea of “diversity.” But, given that the distribution of housing would be based on the free market, whatever housing patterns developed would be just and moral because it would be based on the voluntary choices and value judgements of free individuals contracting voluntarily with each other, without any coercive interference from government-empowered social engineers, local, state, or federal.

From the Washington Post article Black poverty differs from white poverty:

This data point — the share of poor people living in deeply poor places — gets at an important element of poverty that's obscured by citywide poverty rates. "The concentration of poverty is really about the spatial organization of poverty," Jargowsky writes. It captures how we've designed communities to pen poverty in, restricting many poor African Americans in particular to a limited number of neighborhoods.

"The term ‘concentration’ does in some way suggest that poor people are moving from all over the place into these neighborhoods, and they become teeming slums like at the turn of the century," Jargowsky says. "But it’s actually the opposite: People are moving out to the older suburbs, and people in the older suburbs are moving to the newer suburbs."

Concentrated poverty is getting worse because poor people — especially poor African Americans — are increasingly left behind. And a number of forces drive this pattern, including systemic discrimination, policies that have historically concentrated public housing and modern zoning laws that keep the poor out of wealthier communities.

In reading the Washington Post article, including related links, it’s clear that coercive, rights-violating government policies like Urban Renewal, eminent domain, the criminalization of drug use, affordable housing policies, and the like—in addition to zoning—have reeked havoc on black upward economic mobility.

Related Reading:

Why No Wall Street Prosecutions? The Villains Are All In Washington

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