Michelle's Reviews > The Best-Laid Plans: How Government Planning Harms Your Quality of Life, Your Pocketbook, and Your Future

The Best-Laid Plans by Randal O'Toole
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's review
Jan 11, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: politics-economics
Read in January, 2009

I wish I could give more than five stars to this. It is truly a tour de force, a completely devastating critique of central planning using incredibly detailed "case stories" of forest management, urban planning, and transportation planning. It is sad that in the US, while we all still remember the catastrophic failure of the Soviet and Eastern European planned economies, we are still even discussing the need for micromanaging by government. We are in many ways "copying" planning techniques used in past years by the Soviet Union, and then wondering why we have crisis after crisis. This book was published BEFORE the current housing-induced economic crisis, but it eerily foretells something similar happening--from page 130---
"The total value of America's owner-occupied housing stock in 2005 was about $18 trillion. More than $5 trillion of this value was due to inflated prices caused by planning-induced housing shortages. Prices in many Western European countries are similarly inflated by growth-management planning. If all this value disappears in a general price deflation, it could cause the world to go into a severe recession." Well, here we are. Again, the damage that planning does to the economy as a whole and to individual lives is on display to all the world--and we are currently discussing what? MORE PLANNING. Rather like trying to cure snakebite by seeking bites by more snakes.
If all policymakers and planners could be induced to read and understand this book and its underlying principles, we'd all be healthier, happier, and most of all, more free. If you've ever wondered why national forests organize timber sales at which they know they'll lose millions, or why we keep building rail systems when people don't want to ride on them, or why housing values in San Francisco, Portland and other communities suddenly spiked dramatically, read this book and see what government planning does to us all.

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