Rothbard on sprawl and discrimination

May 7, 2009

by Sandy Ikeda

Over at Market Urbanism they’re discussing Murray Rothbard’s analysis in For a New Liberty (1973) of how local public-school financing created incentives (1) for urban populations to move to the suburbs and (2) for suburbs to discriminate against low-income (re black) families via zoning and building regulations.

So add public schools to the list of other, sprawl-encouraging factors in the US such as federal subsidies for roads and infrastructure and, of course, the decades-long policy of promoting single- over multi-family housing. Oh, and let’s not forget the indirect but lasting impact of the Great Depression on the demise of downtowns (something Jane Jacobs argues in her last book).

This story from last year documents the continuing appeal of suburban and “micropolitan” lifestyles to most Americans.

2 Responses to “Rothbard on sprawl and discrimination”


  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this! I have been on the search for libertarian thoughts on urbanism for quite some time now, and I am grateful to have found this site (after coming here through a link from Robert Wenzel’s Economic Policy Journal)

    Cheers!

  2. Sandy Ikeda Says:

    You’re welcome, James (and thank you Robert). Be sure then to check out Market Urbanism: http://marketurbanism.com/2009/05/04/public-educations-role-in-sprawl-and-exclusion/#comments


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