Our argument is divided in three parts :
The amounts of traffic, noise and trash typically involved with large 5-star operations are completely and utterly incompatible with the natural setting Monte Brè finds itself in. The type of excess and waste it involves may be suitable in Saint-Tropez or Saint-Barthelemy, but certainly not on our Alpine hills.
First, the construction; destroying dozens of homes, and building a 5-star hotel mega-resort, with over 150 residences and 20’000 square meters of “luxurious” inhabitable space, 3000 square meters of spa, an indoor swimming pool, two restaurants, tennis courts; all of that on land that is barely – if not at all – accessible by road. The absurdity of it should already be manifest. That’s more than 45’000 tons of material (assuming 2 tons per square meter), which translates into over 1’800 25-ton trucks, or over 30’000 1.5-ton helicopter round trips. To anyone who knows our moutain, Monte Brè and Cardada, we ask: how can this even be considered?
Second, the road: 150 appartments and hotel rooms, assuming a sole round trip per residence per day, mean 110’000 additional transits on our tiny 5-kilometer moutain road per year! It’s so narrow cars cannot cross each other on much of its length! We, mountain dwellers, have become experts at regularly having to back up on this sinuous, steep forest road, to let the occasional frightful driver pass. Such an uptick in traffic is materially impossible. Leisure helicopters – or transforming the road into a highway – are of course even worse solutions.
Finally, the conscious mountain itself, its populations of wild animals, mushrooms and trees would considerably suffer from such megalomaniac hyper-consumption in its flanks. For its human inhabitants, life would also become insufferable; the mega-resort would occupy much of its ecosystem, and would only seek to grow; they would be reduced, as their friends in the forest, to the rank of undesirable indigenous lifeforms.
Malinvestments, described by the Austrian business cycle theory, are badly-allocated business investments. They are due to artificially low cost of credit and an unsustainable increase in money supply. Malinvestment occurs due to the combination of fractional reserve banking and artificially low interest rates, misleading relative price signals, which eventually necessitates a corrective contraction: a boom followed by a bust.
The popularity of inflation and credit expansion, the ultimate source of the repeated attempts to render people prosperous by credit expansion, and thus the cause of the cyclical fluctuations of business, manifests itself clearly in the customary terminology. The boom is called good business, prosperity, and upswing. Its unavoidable aftermath, the readjustment of conditions to the real data of the market, is called crisis, slump, bad business, depression. People rebel against the insight that the disturbing element is to be seen in the malinvestment and the overconsumption of the boom period and that such an artificially induced boom is doomed. They are looking for the philosophers’ stone to make it last. (Ludwig von Mises, 1940).
The “real estate boom” we have been seeing in Switzerland in the past decades – but even more so since 2008 – is a textbook illustration of malinvestment.
Think about it: it makes a lot of sense. With the cost of debt near zero, everyone’s purchasing power for real estate is increased manifold. Real estates prices are bound to increase in such a setting, as (exponentially) more money is chasing a (relatively) constant inventory. It also means ever-growing debt servitude.
Do you wonder why university tuition costs in the USA have increased so dramatically? Or why there is such a premium on new cars, versus barely-used ones? The answer is simple, and still the same: artificial cheap credit.
Nowhere is this phenomenon more prevalent than in real estate.
Of course, policymakers are aware of this, and try to come-up with crude patches to limit the flow of credit: legal borrowing limits, restrictions on retirement allocation, etc. The people can also observe the symptom, and vote accordingly: Lex Koller, Lex Weber, etc. Still, the tsunami of credit will find avenues to flow into, and speculators come up with increasingly circumvoluted ways to allocate that debt.
So, manipulating interest rates on the downside causes real estate prices to go through the roof: as a natural corollary, it also causes construction booms. Hotel management contracts and so-called “mix-used resorts”, such as those planned in Monte Brè, are a typical example of how loopholes are found to assuage the ever-growing thirst for leverage. They only make sense in a context of credit expansion; they turn to ruin when that exponential growth of debt inevitably stops.
When such a wasteful and destructive undertaking, which has nothing to do with the free market – and everything to do with central economic planning – involves destroying a mountain and its community, it should be stopped by unanimous will.
Self-determination, a cardinal principle in modern international law, has by extension come to mean the free choice of one’s own acts without external compulsion. It is a modernization of the age-old golden rule: do to others what you would want them to do to you. In other words, freedom from coercion, from compulsion, from the initiation of violence. This is better known as individual liberty. It is the smallest moral denominator civilization has come up with; it represents our best understanding of natural law, as we try to represent it in our human way. This fundamental principle is what founded – and governs – our country and our canton.
In this sense, how is an isolated community to react when a secret project is uncovered, involving the foreign take-over and destruction of its homes, the replacement of its inhabitants, and the desecration of its paradise by a decadent, wasteful and destructive splurge of concrete?
It has the moral obligation, not only to itself and its children, but to all present and future life of the mountain, to stop it by any peaceful means necessary.