chapter  13
A fable and dialogue on taking the property of another under constitutional capitalism
Hong Kong
ByLawrence W. C. Lai
Pages 11

Economists define private property rights as three sets of exclusive, positive rights: to use, derive income from, and alienate a resource. They explain that an attenuation of any of these exclusive rights would inevitably alter the unaffected rights. In any dispute between the State and an ordinary property owner, the latter is often the weaker one, especially when the voice of the owner's tenants is louder. Therefore, particular care on the violation of the owner's interest should be taken, even when there is no constitutional protection of private property. Government-led urban renewal violates all three positive and negative rights. Once a comprehensive development area (CDA) zone is designated, the owners of the land parcels enclosed by the zone lose their rights to carry out redevelopment on their individual lots and are forced to sell their land to the Urban Renewal Authority. The gold-lined coat in the story stands for the CDA zone designated for urban renewal by edict.