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    Posted: 01 Aug 2015 at 11:12
Should we have a free market in housing? We know that all markets have various inefficiencies built into them, but housing is particularly problematic. 

Many have little choice about the transactions they enter into: a family needs a place to live, lucrative employment may also be in a highly priced location, family or other obligations may make choice of location limited, etc. Whatever the price, it's just paid. It takes time to build large amounts of housing, that can create lags in supply. Demand may well bid up prices to astronomical levels, then encouraging overbuilding and a consequent crash (how often have we seen this scenario?) And how many really have full information on the market before investing? It would take the services of a full time investment professional to even attempt to weigh all the factors of supply, demand, future development, historical trends, etc. Without complete knowledge we can't have a truly functioning free market.

In some locations (such as Vancouver, Canada right now), foreign speculators have helped raise prices to well over a million dollars for an average house. This sort of "hot money" can just as easily pull out, again creating a crash and dislocation for many.

Should housing be a game of dice at all for the private homeowner that just wants a place to live? Some certainly do well, with luck on their side, and others lose out big time. Financial institutions profit......but should that be a priority?

If not a free market, then what? Some years ago, the concept of land banks was raised. Local government would buy a certain amount of land in a region, and sell it at moderate prices when deemed necessary to damp down exuberant markets. France and Australia have rules in place to limit excessive speculation and foreign ownership in real estate.

What might work better, if anything?

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/26/up...abt=0002&abg=0
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Aug 2015 at 14:05
Private property rights and the conflict with public interests is always an interesting subject Smile

For me the issue is population growth where in the past private property rights were sacred I think it is time to reconsider how sacred the human right to reproduce is.  I don't want to divert the thread but every time I see a new housing complex being built I mourn the loss of open spaces.  I'm not talking about forced sterilization or any other draconian policy but raising people consciousness of the cost of overpopulation seems as relevant a topic as global warming etc.  I think one child is enough for any couple and I see more than one as greed.  The war between capitalism and socialism has become a distraction from rationally addressing issues.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Aug 2015 at 06:29
Originally posted by wolfhnd wolfhnd wrote:

Private property rights and the conflict with public interests is always an interesting subject Smile

For me the issue is population growth where in the past private property rights were sacred I think it is time to reconsider how sacred the human right to reproduce is.  I don't want to divert the thread but every time I see a new housing complex being built I mourn the loss of open spaces.  I'm not talking about forced sterilization or any other draconian policy but raising people consciousness of the cost of overpopulation seems as relevant a topic as global warming etc.  I think one child is enough for any couple and I see more than one as greed.  The war between capitalism and socialism has become a distraction from rationally addressing issues.



Yes, and even if we accept growth, the state of the earth today is such that smart urban planning is much needed. The law of the market will urge building were it is profitable, non-market forces are needed to plan for the best possible use of available spaces left. Hong Kong, for example, has a huge population for a small area, but has still managed to hang onto extensive green spaces. Contrast this with the familiar 100 mile sprawl of ultra low density developments around cities in N America. The latter may have been cheaper to build, but spin off a number of problems for the future, such as energy use, pollution, and the usurpation of agricultural or park lands.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Aug 2015 at 13:57
In my area the hobby farm represents the worst alternative form of housing.  Ten acre tracts of land that are neither adding to agricultural production nor large enough to emulate the spacious beauty of the great estates they presumably are imitating.  I suspect that privacy drives many people out of the city. There is a mistaken concept that rural existence is synonymous with private property and individual freedom.  It is unfortunate that people view freedom as the right to do as they please while remaining trapped in their own paradigms.  Ultimately individual freedom is dependent on collective recognitions of the rights of others. 

It took a civil war in the U.S. to establish that property rights and state rights do not supersede human rights.  If the idealized concept of landed gentry, honor, duty and bravery made Southern gentlemen fight for their "rights" the same misguided values are likely to make suburbanites fight to maintain what they see as god given privilege.  At one time you would hear the term white flight.  The extent to which bigotry played a role in suburban development would be hard to measure but many of the early suburbs had racial restriction as part of their subdivision plats.  It took a second war referred to as the civil rights movement and the use of federal troops to disrupt this type of discrimination.

Their is a philosophical concept that says that no one can have a right that infringes on someone else's rights.  Civilization however is based on voluntarily surrendering individual freedom for collective security.  There is another saying that he who would surrender freedom for security will lose both.  It would probably be more accurate to say that he who will not take risks to protect his neighbor freedom surrenders his own freedom. 

One of the guiding principles of liberal democracy is the willingness to take risks to preserve individual liberty.  This can be seen in our insistence that it is better that a hundred guilty should go free than one innocent be convicted.  Increasingly though people reject risk and turn to the government to protect them.  We demand that every aspect of life be regulated for our personal safety.  Ultimately the security we gain through regulation is an illusion.  Regulation violates the basic premise that civilization is based on mutual trust and voluntary compliance with social standards.  The purpose of regulation should be to facilitate voluntary organization not impose it.  That does not mean that those who violate the law should not be punished only that imposed order is fragile and often has unintended consequences.

As it relates to housing regulation should encourage the voluntary movement of people away from the type of personal freedom that is the illusory freedom of private property toward the more realistic freedom of enriching public spaces.  It is not freedom to become a slave to property but all property personal or collective requires sacrifices.  Property rights are an important part of freedom but the freedom of movement, speech, thought, and occupation are more important and largely dependent on having the time to enjoy them.  No one however should be free to not labor toward these objectives as having a job is a fundamental part of the personal fulfilment that makes freedom meaningful.  Moderation in work, property and play is perhaps the most difficult art for most people to master and perhaps the most important precept we can teach.
        

               
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Aug 2015 at 14:57
Boulder Colorado has open space laws, and so people built up, until height restriction laws were passed, and so now a lot of people commute to Boulder, and 'clog' up the roadways.  One 'solution' results in another problem and so on.  I tend to think that the same will happen elsewhere with overarching, "utopian" solutions.
Captain, there is no such thing as "complete knowledge."  But there is knowledge that is important on the local level.  It is better imo, that that knowledge be of the local neighborhood, rather than knowledge of some outside imposed law that is "local" only to the politician and the lawyer.
The question, wolfhound, is who is in the catbird seat, as far as having the right to deny peoples' private property rights?  Why do you believe that such a denial would be in the best interests of 'the collective'?  Because the people doing the confiscation has the biggest megaphone and the press and the legal community behind them?  Some people would do such a thing just to flex their muscle and show that they can.  What is to keep the establishment from using the threat of confiscation as a check on those who would like to exercise their other rights, such as freedom of the press, and freedom of assembly?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Aug 2015 at 15:04
Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:

Boulder Colorado has open space laws, and so people built up, until height restriction laws were passed, and so now a lot of people commute to Boulder, and 'clog' up the roadways.  One 'solution' results in another problem and so on.  I tend to think that the same will happen elsewhere with overarching, "utopian" solutions.
Captain, there is no such thing as "complete knowledge."  But there is knowledge that is important on the local level.  It is better imo, that that knowledge be of the local neighborhood, rather than knowledge of some outside imposed law that is "local" only to the politician and the lawyer.
The question, wolfhound, is who is in the catbird seat, as far as having the right to deny peoples' private property rights?  Why do you believe that such a denial would be in the best interests of 'the collective'?  Because the people doing the confiscation has the biggest megaphone and the press and the legal community behind them?  Some people would do such a thing just to flex their muscle and show that they can.  What is to keep the establishment from using the threat of confiscation as a check on those who would like to exercise their other rights, such as freedom of the press, and freedom of assembly?

Did you even read what I wrote?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Aug 2015 at 09:13
Wolfhound, I did look over your post several times, there are a few things that I found problematic, first of all the right to property _is_ a human right, John Locke, life, liberty, property, which cannot be denied except by due process of law.  So the question remains, who get to be the one to determine what (who's) property is important (inviolate) and what (who's) is not.  
Secondly I am not sure what you mean by freedom of thought, or freedom of occupation.  I wanna be a swimsuit model, but I'm ugly with hooked beak, protruding ears and big bald spot (not really).  The UN says that people have a right to music, which since everyone walks around with ipods, I guess that means we all get our personal theme music.
If you don't have a right to property, can I steal your lunch while you are eating it?  Is it thus okay that I steal your lunch for a month, while you starve?  If you hit me, while I am stealing your lunch, can I successfully sue you for abuse?  Locke's idea of property and theft is that I, the thief, am deciding that my needs are greater than yours, to the extent that the thief is willing to kill (if resisted) or doom the victim to denial of something (in our example, starvation) in order to acquire that thing.  For Locke, the victim can thus use up to and including deadly force to protect themselves and their property.  Now of course, that is not our law, but it is the philosophy that informs our law.
Your 10 acre estates reminded me of boulder and their open spaces law.
It is not the rich that have to worry so much about the denial of personal property, it is the poor who can't afford to hire lawyers to argue their personal case.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Aug 2015 at 11:31
Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:

Wolfhound, I did look over your post several times, there are a few things that I found problematic, first of all the right to property _is_ a human right, John Locke, life, liberty, property, which cannot be denied except by due process of law.  So the question remains, who get to be the one to determine what (who's) property is important (inviolate) and what (who's) is not.  
Secondly I am not sure what you mean by freedom of thought, or freedom of occupation.  I wanna be a swimsuit model, but I'm ugly with hooked beak, protruding ears and big bald spot (not really).  The UN says that people have a right to music, which since everyone walks around with ipods, I guess that means we all get our personal theme music.
If you don't have a right to property, can I steal your lunch while you are eating it?  Is it thus okay that I steal your lunch for a month, while you starve?  If you hit me, while I am stealing your lunch, can I successfully sue you for abuse?  Locke's idea of property and theft is that I, the thief, am deciding that my needs are greater than yours, to the extent that the thief is willing to kill (if resisted) or doom the victim to denial of something (in our example, starvation) in order to acquire that thing.  For Locke, the victim can thus use up to and including deadly force to protect themselves and their property.  Now of course, that is not our law, but it is the philosophy that informs our law.
Your 10 acre estates reminded me of boulder and their open spaces law.
It is not the rich that have to worry so much about the denial of personal property, it is the poor who can't afford to hire lawyers to argue their personal case.

I think we have to have a hierarchy of rights in which life and liberty supersede private property which was firmly established by the Civil War.   The state has no right to pass laws making one person the property of another but that gets complicated in the abstract because welfare takes one persons property and gives it to another.  Taxation can be seen as a form of enslavement but that is true only if the benefits of society are inequitable.  Who decides what is equitable?

Obviously certain property is required to maintain life and health so the collective or state cannot violate that property under normal circumstances.  In practice however it is well established that in an emergency not only is your property subject to seizure but you person can be drafted for collective defense.  Stealing by individuals is a different topic than the state violating your property rights and we need not address that.  Again though who decides what constitutes an emergency and when is the state stealing rights?  Is urban sprawl an emergency?

The problem with applying a philosophy of personal morality to collective morality is complexity.  The more complex a social structure is the less predictable are the consequences of regulation.  Personal morality is however the foundation that societies are built on and philosophy properly applied should strengthen that foundation.  That is why I believe that a philosophical argument against urban sprawl is important because those that need the least governing will be governed best.  Regulations should encourage but not force people to do the right thing leaving as much room as possible for innovative solutions.  The only philosophical point I want to make is that freedom is not achieved by becoming a slave to property.  Minimal private property and enriched public spaces maximizes the important freedoms of time and mobility to enjoy life and reduces the complexity of conflicting rights.    





Edited by wolfhnd - 03 Aug 2015 at 11:34
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Aug 2015 at 10:39
I am not sure I see it as an either/or, either government involvement or private enterprise.  One thing that I think could be involved is non-profits, which technically are private, but have a mission statement, and try to act for the public good.  They also are non-coercive, or at least ought to be.  One group I belong to is the Nature Conservancy, which buys up land, and makes deals with ranchers and municipalities to keep land out of use for wildlife.  I could see something like this in housing.

I seem to remember a housing development in Germany for retirees that was sponsored by some guild or freemasons or so forth.  The places were small and modest, with a small patch for a garden out front, well done like a lot of things that the Germans do.

Mayor Daley used to raise the specter of Republicans to the people in his housing projects, housing projects that were also a home to hopelessness and crime, "don't vote for Republicans or they will take your home away."  He may have technically been right, but housing projects have often been a democratically subsidized hell.  Another subsidized US housing thing is HUD homes, (Housing and Urban Development), don't know how that works.  Instead of large blocks, that tends to be a house here a house, there, or so I understand.  Also some housing divisions are required by local government to also construct 'affordable housing'.  Of course, in Boulder, you live in town if you are rich and you can live in town if you are poor, but inbetween, no way.

We decide what is equitable, with the caveat that the loser and the winner may not have the best perspectives.  We decide what constitutes an emergency, and when a state is stealing, the only difference between individual stealing and state stealing is that one is an honest form of stealing and the other is cloaked in high foluting rhetoric.  Urban sprawl is not an emergency.  It was here yesterday, it will be here tomorrow.  Nobody is talking about slavery, 


Edited by franciscosan - 04 Aug 2015 at 11:44
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Aug 2015 at 03:31
Originally posted by wolfhnd wolfhnd wrote:

In my area the hobby farm represents the worst alternative form of housing.  Ten acre tracts of land that are neither adding to agricultural production nor large enough to emulate the spacious beauty of the great estates they presumably are imitating.  I suspect that privacy drives many people out of the city. There is a mistaken concept that rural existence is synonymous with private property and individual freedom.  It is unfortunate that people view freedom as the right to do as they please while remaining trapped in their own paradigms.  Ultimately individual freedom is dependent on collective recognitions of the rights of others. 

It took a civil war in the U.S. to establish that property rights and state rights do not supersede human rights.  If the idealized concept of landed gentry, honor, duty and bravery made Southern gentlemen fight for their "rights" the same misguided values are likely to make suburbanites fight to maintain what they see as god given privilege.  At one time you would hear the term white flight.  The extent to which bigotry played a role in suburban development would be hard to measure but many of the early suburbs had racial restriction as part of their subdivision plats.  It took a second war referred to as the civil rights movement and the use of federal troops to disrupt this type of discrimination.

Their is a philosophical concept that says that no one can have a right that infringes on someone else's rights.  Civilization however is based on voluntarily surrendering individual freedom for collective security.  There is another saying that he who would surrender freedom for security will lose both.  It would probably be more accurate to say that he who will not take risks to protect his neighbor freedom surrenders his own freedom. 

One of the guiding principles of liberal democracy is the willingness to take risks to preserve individual liberty.  This can be seen in our insistence that it is better that a hundred guilty should go free than one innocent be convicted.  Increasingly though people reject risk and turn to the government to protect them.  We demand that every aspect of life be regulated for our personal safety.  Ultimately the security we gain through regulation is an illusion.  Regulation violates the basic premise that civilization is based on mutual trust and voluntary compliance with social standards.  The purpose of regulation should be to facilitate voluntary organization not impose it.  That does not mean that those who violate the law should not be punished only that imposed order is fragile and often has unintended consequences.

As it relates to housing regulation should encourage the voluntary movement of people away from the type of personal freedom that is the illusory freedom of private property toward the more realistic freedom of enriching public spaces.  It is not freedom to become a slave to property but all property personal or collective requires sacrifices.  Property rights are an important part of freedom but the freedom of movement, speech, thought, and occupation are more important and largely dependent on having the time to enjoy them.  No one however should be free to not labor toward these objectives as having a job is a fundamental part of the personal fulfilment that makes freedom meaningful.  Moderation in work, property and play is perhaps the most difficult art for most people to master and perhaps the most important precept we can teach.
        

               

Excellent post. I think that many conservatives, especially today in our overheated and spin-oriented public discourse, tend to not understand that community rights and individual rights often come into conflict. There is no magical force that sums up individual desires, and creates an ideal society. One might want to cruise around in their SUV, never wanting for a parking space, or room on the highway. Fine for the individual, but if all want to do it, not so good for society. One may idealize a big, energy consuming suburban home in a low density area, again ok for the individual, but somewhat problematic for future society. 

It's true that ultimately, society depends on a willing consensus of members, but regulation is an inevitable- and desirable- outcome of the growth in size and complexity of society. Risk is one aspect of this, but so also is the optimization of the environment we live in, and that is not going to come about by hoping the whole will be better than the sum of the parts, Rand Paul style. We don't "need" national parks, urban green space, interesting architecture, public art, education in the liberal arts, or indeed, if short sighted enough, don't really need to think about energy conservation or pollution. Leave it for the grand kids, there will probably be some bright sparks among them that will solve things. 

Most want these sort of things because they want a richer and more thoughtful life, not just a minimal mediocrity. Unfortunately, when it comes to urban development, they often do not get it, at least not without a strong public voice. The developer has given us shopping malls, freeways, big box stores, soul destroying identical suburban housing, and generally what ever seems to have an easy market and potential for quick profit. Fortunately today, many are starting to yearn for a better quality of urban life, and transit, bike lanes, green space, and generally more interesting cities. This tends to come from the bottom up though, not from from market forces, and individuals require a political voice to prevail. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Aug 2015 at 03:58
Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:

Boulder Colorado has open space laws, and so people built up, until height restriction laws were passed, and so now a lot of people commute to Boulder, and 'clog' up the roadways.  One 'solution' results in another problem and so on.  I tend to think that the same will happen elsewhere with overarching, "utopian" solutions.
Captain, there is no such thing as "complete knowledge."  But there is knowledge that is important on the local level.  It is better imo, that that knowledge be of the local neighborhood, rather than knowledge of some outside imposed law that is "local" only to the politician and the lawyer.
The question, wolfhound, is who is in the catbird seat, as far as having the right to deny peoples' private property rights?  Why do you believe that such a denial would be in the best interests of 'the collective'?  Because the people doing the confiscation has the biggest megaphone and the press and the legal community behind them?  Some people would do such a thing just to flex their muscle and show that they can.  What is to keep the establishment from using the threat of confiscation as a check on those who would like to exercise their other rights, such as freedom of the press, and freedom of assembly?

True, there is no complete knowledge, but I was referring to the notion often presented in conservative economics that insists that all economic interactions are a black and white, logical, simple transaction. In that paradigm, one has "complete knowledge" in the sense of knowing all that is necessary to know about making an economic decision. They will only buy a product because it is the best one. No peripheral or eccentric factors intrude, and indeed such individual transactions always add up to the best result for society. 

Devolving decisions to ever smaller constituencies is another favorite of the right wing community. The cynic might see the reasoning behind this, but let me just say that I disagree, for some rather pragmatic reasons. Your local people in Boulder, for example, would have benefited by looking outwards, rather than inwards, at local knowledge. There is a growing international trend that now recognizes sprawl is problematic in a number of ways, and so many localities are building up, not out. Those with the best ideas are not always present everywhere, and so looking outwards is very often more productive. In many of such cases, the locality is of much less importance than the value of the research and analysis presented.

As for goods being confiscated, that is always a possibility, from both the public and private sectors. Currently in the US, the latter tends to be on top. The remedy is to try and preserve democratic institutions, not to rely on Goldman Sachs, or the Walton family, or similar, to exercise their judgement on our behalf. Because they will, in the absence of other centers of power, and the result may well not be to your, or anyone's advantage.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Aug 2015 at 05:45
Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

Should we have a free market in housing? 

Definitely no.

Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:


Should housing be a game of dice at all for the private homeowner that just wants a place to live? Some certainly do well, with luck on their side, and others lose out big time. Financial institutions profit......but should that be a priority?

If not a free market, then what? Some years ago, the concept of land banks was raised. Local government would buy a certain amount of land in a region, and sell it at moderate prices when deemed necessary to damp down exuberant markets. France and Australia have rules in place to limit excessive speculation and foreign ownership in real estate.

What might work better, if anything?

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/26/up...abt=0002&abg=0

In urban areas housing projects should be leased like commercial buildings with 25, 50, 99 year maturity after that it reverts to public ownership which basically means rebuilding on the site again. In suburban areas it depends on land availability but I also prefer a commercial estate leasing system.

Only in rural areas where one might be able to own a land and pass it down to heirs. At the current rates urban area sustainability would not be possible, urban flight will follow and immediately after that the city itself will begin to decline. This destroys nature, the original value of the land, urban area finances (Detroit) and will incur future government spending for both maintaining a ghost town that is a shadow of itself and expanding the dying suburbs into exurbs. 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Aug 2015 at 08:49
If you have money, you can buy knowledge.  If you have knowledge, you can get money.
I think that a "conservative" economist says that you are always making economic decisions, whether they are good economic decisions may be another thing.  I also don't see why what is ecological shouldn't be counted as part of what is economical (or maybe visa versa).  I do see a problem with politicians coming in from on high, declaring what the scenario should be for the poor peons down below.  I also see a potential problem with cookie cutter solutions dictating a monotony for places.  To me, it is probably better for a place to evolve, rather its nature be dictated by the "experts."
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Is it right to condemn an area that is fraying a little around the edges, use eminent domain and give it to a corporation to develop?  Kagan on the supreme court thinks so.  She sees no problem with big business using local government as a stick to get rid of the little guys.  Of course, maybe you agree, and maybe you also agree that in order to make an omlette, you have to break a few eggs.  Now I am not saying "never!" (never say never), but it takes a fairly cynical position to be entirely comfortable with such high-handedness.  Those eggs are retirees, little old ladies and single mothers who can't afford to live anywhere else.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Aug 2015 at 06:01
Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:

If you have money, you can buy knowledge.  If you have knowledge, you can get money.
I think that a "conservative" economist says that you are always making economic decisions, whether they are good economic decisions may be another thing.  I also don't see why what is ecological shouldn't be counted as part of what is economical (or maybe visa versa).  I do see a problem with politicians coming in from on high, declaring what the scenario should be for the poor peons down below.  I also see a potential problem with cookie cutter solutions dictating a monotony for places.  To me, it is probably better for a place to evolve, rather its nature be dictated by the "experts."

Well, things are evolving, all the time, and that can't- nor should it be- stopped. But the thing is, with no considered, informed input, evolution tends to fall to the lowest common denominator. If no one gives a damn what the landscape looks like, it will tend to be grabbed up by the most exuberant money making scheme on hand, or else lay fallow. With George Washington's image on the greenback directing urban development, these factors will eventually become problematic. The shabby condo falls apart, freeways become choked with traffic, the air becomes polluted, farmland and park are paved over because......because these things are someone else's problem, not that of the original entrepreneur. They are everyone's problem eventually, which means all- through political process- must get on board and decide what sort of environment they want to live in, and lend a counterweight to the instant money folks.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Aug 2015 at 06:05
Originally posted by Al Jassas Al Jassas wrote:

Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

Should we have a free market in housing? 

Definitely no.

Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:


Should housing be a game of dice at all for the private homeowner that just wants a place to live? Some certainly do well, with luck on their side, and others lose out big time. Financial institutions profit......but should that be a priority?

If not a free market, then what? Some years ago, the concept of land banks was raised. Local government would buy a certain amount of land in a region, and sell it at moderate prices when deemed necessary to damp down exuberant markets. France and Australia have rules in place to limit excessive speculation and foreign ownership in real estate.

What might work better, if anything?

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/26/up...abt=0002&abg=0

In urban areas housing projects should be leased like commercial buildings with 25, 50, 99 year maturity after that it reverts to public ownership which basically means rebuilding on the site again. In suburban areas it depends on land availability but I also prefer a commercial estate leasing system.

Only in rural areas where one might be able to own a land and pass it down to heirs. At the current rates urban area sustainability would not be possible, urban flight will follow and immediately after that the city itself will begin to decline. This destroys nature, the original value of the land, urban area finances (Detroit) and will incur future government spending for both maintaining a ghost town that is a shadow of itself and expanding the dying suburbs into exurbs. 

Al-Jassas

I think leasing it a great idea. Also, a reasonable lease payment means more disposable cash in the hands of consumers, which would likely be more widely dispersed in the economy than if going into exorbitant mortgage payments.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Aug 2015 at 17:11
I don't see something "laying fallow" as a problem.  I do see as a problem property taxes and estate taxes designed to make people develop an area.  If you don't develop it, you cannot pay the property taxes, doing something on a multi-generational schedule is discouraged by estate taxes.  Why makes something lasting, when you know that it won't last?

The trades are something in US society that people who "aren't smart enough" go into because they can't go into anything else.  If you are a high school delinquent, you're pointed towards the trades.  That is unfortunate, because a good plumber, or carpenter who is detail oriented, is worth their weight in gold.  A lot of American building is stuff slapped together as quickly as possible, because workers are paid per job, not on the time they spent.  It is not entirely their fault, and they can often do a good job if given the time.  The author of "Shop Class as Soul Craft" argues that our schools should also recommend consideration of the trades to good students, and that the trades are very "spiritually" rewarding in that you actually come to know whether something works or it doesn't (unlike the nebulousness of business, politics or academia).
This may seem like a different question than what the market for housing should be like, but I would suggest that it is dealing with the quality of that housing and whether what is made is done thoughtfully or not.  If you do something right the first time, you shouldn't have to _completely_ tear it down later.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Aug 2015 at 11:11
Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:

I don't see something "laying fallow" as a problem.  I do see as a problem property taxes and estate taxes designed to make people develop an area.  If you don't develop it, you cannot pay the property taxes, doing something on a multi-generational schedule is discouraged by estate taxes.  Why makes something lasting, when you know that it won't last?

The trades are something in US society that people who "aren't smart enough" go into because they can't go into anything else.  If you are a high school delinquent, you're pointed towards the trades.  That is unfortunate, because a good plumber, or carpenter who is detail oriented, is worth their weight in gold.  A lot of American building is stuff slapped together as quickly as possible, because workers are paid per job, not on the time they spent.  It is not entirely their fault, and they can often do a good job if given the time.  The author of "Shop Class as Soul Craft" argues that our schools should also recommend consideration of the trades to good students, and that the trades are very "spiritually" rewarding in that you actually come to know whether something works or it doesn't (unlike the nebulousness of business, politics or academia).
This may seem like a different question than what the market for housing should be like, but I would suggest that it is dealing with the quality of that housing and whether what is made is done thoughtfully or not.  If you do something right the first time, you shouldn't have to _completely_ tear it down later.

As for property taxes, I've seen developers sit on properties for a decade or more, waiting for that moment when they perceive they can make a "killing", and then throw up a shabby condo, time share, or whatever is in vogue, and then flee with their loot. Such are the imperatives of capital, or at least unrestrained capital.

You may have a point about trades, although I don't see this as a factor in my corner of the world. And beyond the quality of work, a more overarching point is the purpose of it. In this, capital has no view, we must turn to political and social need to provide it. And that is exactly were the right end of the political spectrum runs afoul. Leaving it to money means we will see a landscape littered with the debris of quick profit, and easy sales. Much is made of the hideous Stalinist style apartments and other buildings in the old communist countries. But we have our own monuments to the Philistine philosophy. When we drive through a 100 miles of strip mall, with each tacky business launching a sign that is higher than the one before (guns and ammo here! Adult videos!), or sit on a ten lane freeway, creeping ahead at fifteen miles per hour, we can rest assured that we have created our own icons of foolishness.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Aug 2015 at 11:29
If people would not accept poor quality, then it would be less likely that entrepreneurs would produce shabby condos.  But the fact that construction workers are coming from the lowest common denominator portion of society, and the fact that everybody (including the customers) are looking for a short term fix, means that shoddy quality is accepted.  I don't really care if developers "flee with their loot" as long as they make something of quality.  The developers are responding to a need or a want, or (if you will) a fad).  Ideally the consumer should know what they are looking for.

Or we can excessively regulate the industry, but one observation about regulation (in the financial area), is that investment company tend to respond to excessive regulation with compliance, but compliance tends to replace approaching matters ethically.  The excessively regulated have a great concern for what is legal, not for what is moral.  Of course, one wants the individual to do what is legal, but also aim for what is moral (something we all try to do in life, but sometimes fall short).  An excessive concern for the legal, often means a growing disrespect for the moral.  
I worked for a little while at a convenience store (gas station), we there were convinced that one could either do one's job or follow the rules, but not both.  Of course, some rules had to be followed, you don't smoke around gas pumps, and spills are a serious matter.  No dipping into the till or stealing merchanidise, and show up for your shift, but most other stuff is details.
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