Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Home, Is It A Privilege or A Right?

FOX news once again displays its ignorance by blaming minorities for the housing crises.

It certainly is not the predatory white supremacist capitalist system...oh no it is those stubborn bodies of colour that refuse to pull themselves up by the boot straps. 

The recent financial crises of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and AIG could just be the eye opening experience that many people need.  This system that so many have chosen to embrace uplifts a chosen few and subjects many to abject poverty and inhumane living conditions.  Where has your faith in the market left you now?

With the ideology of meritocracy many falsely laboured under the belief that if someone was homeless that it was an individual failing.  A child born to a single welfare mother no matter how much she/he is loved will start life with a considerable disadvantage in comparison to someone born with the last name Kennedy, or Walton.  This is a divide that can never be bridged no matter how hard the poor child labours.  As I watch my children grow I think of the opportunities I cannot provide for them and yet they are still better off than so many other children who are born beneath the poverty line.

As capitalism continues to falter the ruling bourgeoisie continue to prop up their position by assuring us that socialism is good for them but not for the masses. When we accept this position we are in collusion with those that seek to oppress us for their own gain.  With the latest bail out, the proletariat are finally beginning to seethe with rage. FOX warned against a class war but really in whose interest are we avoiding confronting this unbalanced system?  It is certainly not in the interest of the disappearing middle class, the working class or the underclass to pretend that daily the quality of life is not eroding.

Why is it that we seem to feel that some have the right to live in splendour while others are not even entitled to a home.  Shelter is a basic human need, it is not some greedy want like a shiny bauble on the finger, or the latest Gucci purse.  There is a lot of talk about foreclosure in the media but very is little is said about where these families are ending up.

For many suddenly finding themselves without a place to live is something that they never could have perceived of.  Homelessness is something that happens to other people.  It happens to those that were shiftless, lazy, irresponsible or drunks, but certainly not to middle class people who had "paid their dues" to society.

The BBC has a story about a an all womans car park where the recently homeless sleep.  It is filled with the stories of women who are shocked to find themselves in this position after a lifetime of playing by the rules.  How long is it before we start to see the return of Tent Cities?

We can not afford to look at this as an individual failing.  Those that were already living on the margins before the crises began are in an even more vulnerable position.  This is an institutional problem, and we must begin to look at ways in which to assure that each person has a good home.  The longer we continue to believe that the rich deserve more capitol bailouts and not those that daily struggle to survive not only will the gap increase but more and more people will find themselves experiencing the unimaginable - homelessness.

H/T eternal_llama


AR said...

Well, we finally agree on something economic! Let the companies fail, like the S&L's should have failed almost two decades ago, and let them be replaced by companies who won't give loans to people who they know can't afford them and then expect public money when the borrower doesn't pay.

That's at least one upside; people are questioning the massive inflation-tax allowed by the existence of fiat money and the Fed. Not much, but it's a start.

What Has Government Done to Our Money? by Murray N. Rothbard

Ebony Intuition said...

I happy those banks have crashed considering most of them have ties to slavery. And non of them deserve bail outs!!!

Renee said...

@ARI still believe that the private ownership of land is exploitative and considering that shelter is a basic human need it should come at zero cost.

AR said...

Again we agree on something. Fully private ownership of land is exploitation, because land is a form of wealth that is not produced, and whose value is derived first and foremost from it's proximity to population centers and natural resources, and so those who hold it in trust owe to the community a rent for the privilege. Basically, "geoism," as it is called.

As for the price, well, you get what you pay for. Efforts at free or even subsidized housing have always ended badly. Indeed, the long-standing federal obsession with ownership of single-family homes and the expansion of suburbia is a big part of the reason for the present crisis.

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Renee said...

As for the price, well, you get what you pay for. Efforts at free or even subsidized housing have always ended badly.

Does it ever occur to you that subsidized housing fails because it groups people together who are poor and socially stigmatizes them in comparison to those that can afford to buy land? If everything else about their lives is subject to class relations free or low cost housing does not eliminate the problems that come with poverty.
In terms of the province in which I live. The government is the worst landlord in the entire province. The housing is way below code and is insect infested. If these so-called homes are not maintained by its "owner" what possible positive results do you expect will occur?

AR said...

Those are all very good reasons why free housing doesn't work. If I didn't know your position ahead of time, I'd think you were agreeing with me.

The social stigma of being "on the dole" is one of the reasons I believe that welfare benefits should be given to everyone equally in the form of cash. Then they're not receiving "welfare," but merely the citizen's dividend to which everyone is entitled. It also bypasses the problem you brought up of government incompetence, as they'll be dealing with more efficient private firms and so get better housing for less public money.

Ouyang Dan said...

Great article.

Although, I will add that tent cities already exist. There are plenty of them here in Hawaii. I understand that climate allows for the homeless people here to not be in danger of frostbite, etc, but that doesn't change the fact that they exist. It is rumored that some colder states actually send homeless people here to avoid dealing w/ them, although I can not confirm that. I do know that the 1 out of 4 homeless persons being a veteran has an impact on the high number of people currently homeless in Hawaii. Tent cities exist, and people would do well to remember that when they read your words. Tent cities are not some distant consequence or a thing of the past.

Renee said...

@Ouyang Dan..I had no idea about the tent cities in Hawaii...That is simply terrible. The link I have up is of a tent city that was destroyed in my hometown of Toronto. Ironically it was built on the same land as a tent city that existed during the depression.
I would certainly love to learn more about the class difference in Hawaii..I know that the pretty brochures are so far from the truth. We need to look beyond the sunshine if you get what I mean.

Ouyang Dan said...

thanks, Renee. I just put up a post about homelessness here in Hawai'i. I am now wanting to tackle a few more points you brought up, including exploitation by tourism, statehood and colonization (something I still have trouble understanding), and the class divides here.

Thanks for making me think. It was another opportunity for me to examine my privilege.

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