The Meaning of Corporatism

356 Enviro-critical Websites and additional info about the organized enviro-critical movement

Pierre Trudeau: Eco-fascist

A Primer for the Paris Climate Talks

Jorge Bergoglio's Green Encyclical

Environmentalism and Aboriginal Supremacism (Part 2): The Mobilization of Aboriginal Opposition to the Northern Gateway Pipeline

Environmentalism and Aboriginal Supremacism in Canada - Part 1 - Idle No More

Of Buffalo and Biofuel - More Tales of Environmentalism in Alberta

War on Coal

In Praise of the Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act (Bill C-38)

Environmentalism and Edmonton Land Use Politics

The "Tar Sands" Campaign and the Suppression of North America's Energy Potential

Desertec and Environmentalism's North African Campaign

The Environmental Movement in Alberta

Environmentalism 400 BC

Spirit of NAWAPA

Waldheim's Monster:
United Nations' Ecofascist Programme

Early 19th Century British "Environmentalism"

Environmentalism's Appropriation of Christianity

Environmentalism's Environment

The Continental Counter-Enlightenment

The American Eco-Oligarchy update

If Only This Were About Oil

BROTHER CAN YOU SPARE A HECTARE

Who is Affraid of The Big Green Wolf

The Gore Presidential Bid

The Groundbreaking Career of Doctor Science

The English Environmental Elite, Global Warming, and The Anglican Church

The Great Global Warming Hoax

The American Oligarchy's Economic Warfare Campaign on British Columbians





Review of Pennington's Liberating the Land


The following is a review of: Liberating the Land, The Case for Private Land-use Planning by Mark Pennington, published by the Institute of Economic Affairs, 2 Lord North Street, Westminster London 2002.

I've become a fan of IEA publications over the past few years but as a socialist reading their books I feel like a mining operator working a low-grade deposit - there are precious facts in there but one must mill out loads of dogma to get at them. Pennington's Liberating the Land is a case in point. The book remains a worthwhile read but it is at least 90% merely a general, philosophical restatement of Hayekian "free enterprise" economics - something most intellectuals have heard ad nauseam. Nevertheless any book coughing up the phrase "environmental fascism" in its Foreword, as this book does, will get a vigorous "thumbs-up" from this reviewer. The Foreword, by Professor Harry Richardson of the University of Southern California, also contains poignant comments about how development restrictions drive up the cost of housing and how Mr. Pennington's praise of the American land use model, and of decentralized planning in general, is based more on speculation than investigation.

Pennington's basic beef is that, in the UK, land development is subject to an unprecedented degree of state suppression. This suppressive activity is principally the political handiwork of the "environmentalists" and it "create(s) an artificial scarcity of land and rising prices".

Perhaps Pennington's most interesting passage is as follows:


"Evidence suggests that public opinion is, to say the least, ill informed with regard to the degree of urbanization..survey evidence indicates that two thirds of the electorate believe that 65 per cent or more of the UK surface area is devoted to urban land uses, such as roads and housing when the actual figure is 11%."

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Pennington goes on to say this gross misperception extends into a belief, widespread among his countrymen, that the latter 20th century was a period of radical deregulation of land use, which he shows to be the opposite of the truth.

In merry old England the environmentalists have succeeded in creating around every city large swaths of land called "Green Belts" where most forms of development are forbidden. The "Green Belts" now cover 14% of England's land area. These wide belts of land, far from being cites of particular beauty, contain "disused gravel pits, quarries, railway and motorway embankments, and low grade farmland". In addition to the "Green Belts" the British government has also created "Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty". In both the Green Belts, and in the AONBs, "between 90 and 100 per cent of all development applications are refused."

Not too surprisingly:


"The principal effect of such restrictions has been the inexorable rise in the price of housing land and hence house prices brought about by the increased scarcity of supply."


This results not just in a dearth of affordable housing, which Pennington merely skips over, but also in high retail prices "the so-called 'rip-off Britain' syndrome". Because of protests from the anti-development mob big box stores like Wal-Mart and major grocery retailers, have had a very hard time placing buildings on the outskirts of large cities and towns. Pennington quotes studies showing how the greatest source of price differentials between Britain and France is the relative lack of retail outlets in Britain. The same restrictions have suppressed hotel construction. Half the hotels in the UK are over 100 years old compared to 14% for France.

It is only on the issue of 'rip off Britain' does Pennington discuss "the use of the planning system for collusive purposes". By this we mean the obvious - those who own British commercial real estate do not want to see Wal-Marts and Holiday Inns mushrooming over Britannia as this would quickly thin their profit margins. Pennington goes onto say "such rent-seeking behaviour within the (land-use) planning system should not be underestimated". No kidding!

I've come to view the international environmental movement as a sort of cartel for land barons. Clearly, it would not be good public relations for this revamped 'king'n church' mob to carry banners praising high rent and homelessness. Rather, they are out to save the sensitive areas of an endangered planet.

But Pennington, being a limey and an ostensible 'conservative', is incapable of pointing a finger at the real culprits i.e. the aristocracy, the Duke of Westminster, Prince Charles, and the Queen etc. As American writer William Turner has quipped the capturing of the word "conservative" by the capitalists was a heist rivalling the Great Train Robbery. Capitalists are always coming up with new products and processes. They are always moving things around and re-organizing themselves. They are still aspiring to greater wealth and prestige. They are not inherently a conservative class rather they tend toward economic liberalism. The same cannot be said of the European aristocracy and their imitators in New England. This latter "landed" section of the ruling class, are the true 'conservatives'.

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Pennington wastes the readers' time with various stratagems on how to "bell the cat". His goal is to get the British government to pursue liberal land use policies. This goal is laudable. He wants to place more land on the market and get more construction activity going on so as to lower housing and retail prices etc. He wants the British government to pursue policies directly contrary to the interests of the countries' most influential landlords. He is pessimistic and with good reason.

Pennington throws out facts about how the British have absurdly inaccurate ideas about land use in their homeland but he neglects to spell out how these myths are installed in the public mind only through great effort by the mass media.

This reviewer is a denizen of Western Canada where the land use debate is surrealistic. Substantially less than one per cent of the land here is developed yet, true to colonial form, we are populated with sleepwalkers mimicking the metropolitan phobia about 'urban sprawl'.

On both sides of the pond the objective should be a booming economy. Taking the green jackboot off the break pedal is a pre-requisite to achieving that objective. This will require a protracted cultural battle and a coalition of progressive forces both socialist and libertarian. What we need are more solid facts and less empty baggage. Pennington's Liberating the Land is a great ten-page essay bouncing around in a tattered hundred-page Hayekian suitcase.

By William Kay
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Review of Snyder's Black Earth

How Green Were the Nazis

The American Environmental Movement - The American Counter-Movement Perspective

Aboriginal Supremicism Part Three - Gallagher's "Resource Rulers" condensed and critiqued

Gasman's The Scientific Origins of National Socialism

Darwall's The Age of Global Warming

Musser's Nazi Oaks

Biehl and Staudenmaier's Ecofascism Revisited

Nickson's Eco-fascists

Gasman's Haeckel's Monism and the Birth of Fascist Ideology

Delingpole's Watermelons

Dowie's Conservation Refugees

Macdonald's Green Inc.

Laframboise and McKitrick on the IPCC

Markham's "Environmental Organizations in Modern Germany"

Petropoulos' Royals and the Reich

Plimer's Heaven and Earth: Global Warming the Missing Science

Dominick's German Environmental Movement 1871 to 1971

Jacoby's Hidden History of American Conservation

Cahill's Who Owns The World

The Persistent Profundity of Professor Mayer

Fascism 101 (Oxford Handbook)

The Nazi-Enviro Connection: Uekoetter's "Green and Brown"

US "Environmentalism" in the 1930s (Review of Phillips' "This Land, This Nation")

Gibson's Environmentalism

"The Deniers" Condensed
(Global Warming Hoax Part II)


Review of Moore's Social Origins of Dictatorship

Review of Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature

Review of The Blackwell Companion to Social Movements

Bramwell's trilogy on The Hidden History of Environmentalism

Review of Degregori's Agriculture and Modern Technology

Review of Nichols Fox's Against the Machine

Review of Brian Masters' The Dukes

Review of Joel Bakan's The Corporation

Review of Michael Crichton's State of Fear

Review of Paul Driessen's Eco-Imperialism: Green Power, Black Death

Review of Janet Beihl's Finding Our Way

Review of Bradley's Climate Alarmism Reconsidered

Review of Pennington's Liberating the Land

Precedents for the "Global Warming" campaign: A review of Richard Grove's Green Imperialism
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