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Boom Towns: Restoring the Urban American Dream 1st Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 15 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


"Walters strongly argues his thesis with cases showing the various ways politicians―often in league with private interests―have turned growth into decay . . . Urban theorists in the 'progressive' tradition insist that the problems that plague our cities can only be solved through massive infusions of government money and expert planning. Walters' book persuasively makes the opposite case: protect people's property rights, then leave things to the spontaneous order of the free market." -- George Leef, Regulation

"Stephen Walters is a rarity. He's an economist with a strong sense of history. Boom Towns uses examples from Boston and San Francisco to New Orleans and Portland to show how a healthy respect for property rights has contributed to the prosperity of American cities. And then, he explains how the erosion of those rights helped produce the policies that bankrupted Detroit and that have led to widespread urban decline." -- Fred Siegel, author of The Revolt Against the Masses and The Future Once Happened Here

"Walters is after that most important, and often illusive, of economic questions: the nature and causes of the wealth of a community. Whereas Adam Smith focuses his inquiry on the national community, Walters trains his analytical eye on the American city . . . Walters is well equipped to pursue this question . . . [T]he book should be read and digested by voters and city council members everywhere. It is just the sort of intellectual capital that can make the world a better place." -- Matthew Mitchell, Library of Law and Liberty

"Boom Towns addresses a supremely important, yet neglected, question from a novel perspective: why do some cities go boom and others go bust? Walters' ingenious and erudite application of an economics of property rights paradigm yields a treasure trove of provocative and innovative observations. Well researched and brilliantly written, Boom Towns promises to become a classic on cities―one with a wide appeal to economists, historians, and urbanologists alike." -- Steve H. Hanke, The Johns Hopkins University

"Walters' argument is well-reasoned and unusually pragmatic. There's much here for urbanists to like, but also a necessary dose of skepticism about the redistributionist approaches and subsidized real estate schemes that are so often seen as 'critical' to reviving cities. Cities, as he points out, are collections of capital and people. They can only thrive by serving our basic needs and aspirations. Boom Towns is a major contribution to the urban debate because it recognizes this." -- Joel Kotkin, Hobbs Fellow in Urban Studies at Chapman University and author of The Next Hundred Million: America in 2050

"Boom Towns is an innovative contribution to the debate about cities. The idea that we should be looking at urban policy from the perspective of capital formation is both a breath of fresh air and a critically important insight that should have broad impact." -- Samuel Staley, Director, DeVoe L. Moore Center, Florida State University

About the Author

Stephen J.K. Walters is Professor of Economics at Loyola University Maryland and a Fellow at the Johns Hopkins Institute for Applied Economics, Global Health, and the Study of Business Enterprise. He has advised aspiring and elected mayors and governors, given expert testimony in antitrust and tort cases, and consulted for diverse clients, ranging from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to major league baseball clubs.

Product details

  • Hardcover : 224 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 080478163X
  • Item Weight : 1.05 pounds
  • Dimensions : 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0804781633
  • Publisher : Stanford Economics and Finance; 1st edition (August 27, 2014)
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15 ratings

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Reviewed in the United States on August 28, 2014
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Reviewed in the United States on January 20, 2020
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