In many urban areas, blighted areas are acquired by state authorities and then transferred to private redevelopers. In many cases this behavior is unethical because it puts the poor at a disadvantage. Instead of governments enacting policies and allocating funds to refurbish impoverished inner-city areas, residents are often forced to relocate as officials find it easier to demolish the area (and its problems) and turn it over to commercial development. Further, by transferring acquisitions to private developers there is the potential for corruption in the use of eminent domain. Favors may be granted to friends, acquaintances or associates of politicians or legislators who wish to develop certain areas. This takes advantage of the use of power, the rights of U.S. citizens under the Fifth Amendment and it further separates individuals through the class distinction of wealth.
Another ethical issue involved in the concept of eminent domain deals with the concept of “just compensation”. This is because fair market value at the time of valuation is not an exact science and both the government authority and the owner of property typically hire their own appraisers to assess such value. However, the government can often afford to hire a much better appraiser than private property owners, one with significant experience in eminent domain cases. This is unfair ethically when one considers the disparate valuations that can often be presented by government authorities and property owners, “In a great many cases, the government’s appraiser and the owner’s appraiser may disagree by tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars” (Eminent 9).
Another ethical issue eminent domain presents has to do with the gap between the poor and the rich. Private developers and government leaders are often wealthy or at least much bet