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Martell Spy

Workable Socialism

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2 minutes ago, Martell Spy said:

Well, what is convenient is we can never test if rent-controls or having the government build housing will work. The capitalist overlords have taken it completely off the table, as it will lead to communist death squads.

It reminds me of the Minimum Wage debate. The 15$ minimum wage was called insanely radical and would lead to huge job losses.

Weirdly enough, the CBO report on a 15 dollar minimum wage just came out, I haven't read it yet but Krugman has a summary which addresses both the job losses & the gains.

 

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17 minutes ago, Altherion said:

This is true, but having the government take over will not fix it. The underlying problem is that everyone is rushing to the big cities and there is only so much space (even accounting for our ability to build tall apartment complexes). Capitalism's solution is to have the property go to the highest bidder. If the government allocates housing, then the best connected people get it instead, but in either case, a whole lot of people are going to be disappointed because the supply simply isn't there.

And yes, averaged over entire nations, there's a whole lot of empty housing... but not nearly enough of it is in San Francisco or London or other places where many people want to live.

I mean, seems like if that's the "issue" than the government could also implement programs to improve the standard of living in other places as well so that not everyone wants to go to the cities. Course cheap houses may just well be incentive enough.

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18 minutes ago, Martell Spy said:

Well, what is convenient is we can never test if rent-controls or having the government build housing will work. The capitalist overlords have taken it completely off the table, as it will lead to communist death squads.

Actually, this has been extensively tested in both communist and capitalist countries at various times. For example, in the Soviet Union, Moscow had exactly the same issue and the result was the introduction of "communal" apartments (they're similar to American college dorms, but with each room occupied by a family rather than an individual). For obvious reasons, everyone hated those things -- they even led to a sub-genre of black humor. If you want capitalism with rent control, take a look at various cities in the US and Europe (e.g. New York City recently strengthened its rent control laws).

13 minutes ago, TrueMetis said:

I mean, seems like if that's the "issue" than the government could also implement programs to improve the standard of living in other places as well so that not everyone wants to go to the cities.

But that's the problem: it can't. For whatever reason, at our current technological level, the megacities appear to be more efficient than anything else. The only thing the government can do is try to build more of them, but this amounts to a massive gamble (what if nobody comes?) and only China has dared to do this on a massive scale.

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4 hours ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

Out of curiosity are farmers and resteranturs also being “exploitive” because they are profiting from a basic human need?  Clothing manufacturers?  Should food and clothing also be under the State’s complete control?

well for the record, i do would be perfectly happy to see all manner of necessities completely de-commodified, and yes they are absolutely exploitative (though moreso of their workers, as larry pointed out)

but anyway, i think you know as well as i that is just a silly attempt at an equivalence that isn’t there. 

i don’t think even the most staunch liberal market capitalist can justify rentierism, without just straight up mask off “fuck you, i got mine so that’s that”

3 hours ago, dornishpen said:

That we as a society make a choice to allow people to be homeless is indeed gross and I don't defend people buying property as investment and letting it sit unoccupied most of the time. Surely massively fining people who have vacant property and using that for low income housing could help the situation a bit.

I don't knew what the stats are in terms of vacant housing and homelessness, but according to HUD there are only available subsidized/affordable housing for 30% of the extremely low income group (based on median area income). But the scarcity of public housing doesn't account for horrendous conditions that exist in much of public housing, like major repairs (broken toilets etc) that don't get made, fire hazards and major pest infestations.

I understand in some countries that the government owns a lot of housing and manages it much better than the US, but unless the government starts renting to middle class people and not just poor people I cannot see that kind of decent management happening here.

well sure, i figured it was understood that a massive public housing project would have to be overhauled as well as expanded, and not just trying to cram even more people into the system as it stands. also, the reason there isn’t enough public house is the same reason those especially unkept units are so neglected

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6 hours ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

How efficient has the State been, when it has this power, in making sure people have housing?  How drab will State issued housing be?

People should be free to decorate their homes however they like, which a lot of private landlords currently object to. And if it's housing for everyone, not just for the poor, then there will be plenty of motivation to ensure the base quality is up to standard.

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3 hours ago, Altherion said:

This is true, but having the government take over will not fix it. The underlying problem is that everyone is rushing to the big cities and there is only so much space (even accounting for our ability to build tall apartment complexes).

Under socialism, it's possible to ensure new jobs are created in places with vacant housing (or at least room to increase housing capacity), instead of the current situation with private companies all wanting to be based in the most prestigious locations. And also ensure that good quality housing is actually built where it's needed, rather than left to an industry that benefits from shortages.

Eliminating location-weighted wages would help a lot; that just breaks the market.

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11 hours ago, Rippounet said:

Pulling your leg a bit... To be fair, French public housing totally depends on where you live. It's aweful in some places and terrific in others. It's still fantastic overall though... In a nutshell, it works. Which of course is why the fucking neoliberals have been trying to kill it for a while now... Would be such a shame if people found out how awesome socialism is.

I lived for a few months in Paris, Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris, a nice house (MHH). From my balcony I had a great view over the eternal river that divides Paris and Parisians from the rest of the world. Boulevard Périphérique they call it. Beyond is the land of barbarians, living in the banlieue and after that comes a whole lot of nothing until you reach moderately human dwellings along the coast. Unless you take the wrong direction and you end up in Belgium (and if it's true what they say in Paris about Belgium, you're ******). This is the legend I was told.

In reality though, state or municipal housing coexists peacefully with private owned housing. Some of it is great, some terrible, most in between, but wether it works or not depends a lot on the social and economic context and not so much on who owns the property.

9 hours ago, Martell Spy said:

Well, what is convenient is we can never test if rent-controls or having the government build housing will work.

Actually, in the US you have a very prominent long-time testing ground for rent-controls. New York hat pretty tight rent controls since the 1940s and their effects are widely researched and in fact most people opposing rent-controls point out New York as an example for why rent-controls have adverse effects and don't actually adress the problem that there is not enough housing.

 

It is IMO better to let private owners build appartment complexes and then have the state or municipal body add their own construction program next to that to provide enough supply and competition pressure to keep rents at an affordable level. Not all housing needs to be state owned, just enough to take out the massive pressure of demand.

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Oh, I forgot. Oregon did pass a rent-control law. It doesn't work like the usual rent-control policies though, in that it still doesn't allow local control of rent-control policy. It's set at the state level.

 

How does Oregon’s first-in-the-nation rent control law work? A quick guide

https://www.oregonlive.com/business/2019/03/how-does-oregons-first-in-the-nation-rent-control-law-work-a-quick-guide.html

Quote

 

What does it mean for renters?

Here’s a quick guide.

Q. What’s the cap on rent increases and how does it work?

A. The new law caps rent hikes at 7 percent plus inflation during any given 12 month-period.

 

 

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8 hours ago, felice said:

People should be free to decorate their homes however they like, which a lot of private landlords currently object to. And if it's housing for everyone, not just for the poor, then there will be plenty of motivation to ensure the base quality is up to standard.

If that is all that is available, how do you complain?

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16 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

If that is all that is available, how do you complain?

As opposed to now, where there's tons of options if what's available is limited. You're complaints seem to be, that at worst there will be no improvement in quality.

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Posted (edited)
17 hours ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

So the State should own all real estate?  We all pay rent to the State?  If you mean limit everyone to one piece of real property can an adult child, who lives with their parents own real property?

What if someone is given a long term assignment away from their home, how long can they be absent from their residence before that residence escheats to the State?

As someone who was actually born in a socialist country, the reality of government-built housing doesn't have much resemblance to what you seem to be imagining.

First, majority of people didn't get apartments from "the State", but from their own companies. In Yugoslavia, the companies weren't state-owned, but employee-owned. When a new part of the city was built, companies were given the option to finance construction out of their income, and in return were given a certain number of apartments to share out among their employees. There were "waiting lists" in each company, and whether you got an apartment and what kind of apartment you got depended on your position in the company, the number of years you've spent working for it, whether your family already owned a house, and the size of your immediate family.

The State only gave out apartments to public employees, police and the military. There was also "solidarity housing", which was given out to the poor who couldn't qualify through other ways, which were financed through a portion of everyone's wages.

Once you were assigned an apartment (unless it was temporary housing for the military personnel, etc), it was practically yours for life. You paid zero rent to anyone, you could retire, and the apartment would remain "yours". You would be responsible for maintaining it, while the common areas were maintained by a utility company which would send you a monthly bill. You could even rent out rooms to college students or singles (a lot of people did it, although I'm not sure if it was legal). However, only your spouse could inherit (edit: I was mistaken here, I remembered cases where children inherited although they had a different employer), and you couldn't sell it. When both you and your spouse died, the apartment would revert to its owner (either the company or the State).

However, all of this existed in parallel to private property, without completely replacing it. After the World War II, only apartment buildings were nationalized, while private single-family houses remained private. You could sell it, pass it on to your children, rent out an empty floor - basically do anything you can do in the capitalist system. If you had money (or qualified for a bank loan), you could buy a plot of land and build a house on it and own it. My father had built a "weekend house" in a village which he fully owned, in addition to the apartment which was assigned to him.

Was this public housing drab? Some of it was, some of it wasn't. I've lived in a "solidarity" apartment building which was very drab and low-cost - think gray twenty-floor buildings. However, the apartment that I've bought and that I'm currently living in was built for military officers, and it is very nice - much nicer than most of the new construction in my city. As Orwell said, some animals were more equal than others.

Edited by Gorn

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13 hours ago, Altherion said:

This is true, but having the government take over will not fix it. The underlying problem is that everyone is rushing to the big cities and there is only so much space (even accounting for our ability to build tall apartment complexes). Capitalism's solution is to have the property go to the highest bidder. If the government allocates housing, then the best connected people get it instead, but in either case, a whole lot of people are going to be disappointed because the supply simply isn't there.

And yes, averaged over entire nations, there's a whole lot of empty housing... but not nearly enough of it is in San Francisco or London or other places where many people want to live.

The centralisation of jobs in cities, often unnecessarily, is another debate. Remote working should make this less of an issue: it is preposterous that some people spend 2+ hours commuting into a city to work a job where they promptly spend 8+ hours sat in front of a computer screen, when they could do that job easily from home.

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21 minutes ago, Werthead said:

The centralisation of jobs in cities, often unnecessarily, is another debate. Remote working should make this less of an issue: it is preposterous that some people spend 2+ hours commuting into a city to work a job where they promptly spend 8+ hours sat in front of a computer screen, when they could do that job easily from home.

This has always been a bug up my ass (always being like a couple of years). I actually have to physically be in my work space, it's a requirement. But I cannot imagine why all these companies so obsessed with profitability demand their typists to manifest in expensive office spaces. It's a relic of a bygone era as far as I'm concerned.

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Posted (edited)

So there's this social network for landlords that twitter has made me aware of called biggerpockets.com reading some of the shit people post there makes me want to break out the guillotine.

I remember being in high school wondering how the fuck people could have fallen for communism. Here we are a decade and global financial crisis later, and I get it.

Edited by TrueMetis

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6 hours ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

If that is all that is available, how do you complain?

At the highest level, it's a political issue; if the government isn't handling housing well, vote them out! (And obviously, have preferential voting so you're not stuck with a two-party system). At a lower level, that's an implementation detail, and the possibilities are endless. How would you like it to be handled? What sort of complaint did you have in mind?

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We're still doing this? I guess we are. Anyways it's worth noting that three most popular programs in the U.S. are already quasi-socialistic. It's even in one of their names.......

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15 minutes ago, Tywin et al. said:

We're still doing this? I guess we are. Anyways it's worth noting that three most popular programs in the U.S. are already quasi-socialistic. It's even in one of their names.......

Yeah, but it's also in the Nazi party's name. I got you there.

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On 7/8/2019 at 4:59 PM, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

Out of curiosity are farmers and resteranturs also being “exploitive” because they are profiting from a basic human need?  Clothing manufacturers?  Should food and clothing also be under the State’s complete control?

For profit food is exploitative. The government could pay the farmers, but anything we require to survive being "for profit" means exploitation. Like when Nestle a few years ago said water isn't a right, and they'd like to privatize it. 

So yeah, food and clothing could very well be under the state's control, but why you think complete control? I don't know. I suppose it shows you're not interested in a serious conversation. This isn't about binaries. 

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6 hours ago, Tywin et al. said:

We're still doing this? I guess we are. Anyways it's worth noting that three most popular programs in the U.S. are already quasi-socialistic. It's even in one of their names.......

"An insurance company with an army...." 2/3 of US spending is Medicare and SSN and military. 

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Posted (edited)

It's hilarious how the U.S. military is the most socialist organization in the country, but so many service members willfully ignore that fact and claim to despise socialism.

You do your job and you get free healthcare (spouse and children as well), BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing), BAS (Basic Allowance for Subsistence), an annual uniform stipend and Dependent Pay (if you're married or have a kid you get paid more than singles/no children) all on top of your base pay.

Edit: oops I forgot to mention the paid maternity/paternity leave, the 30 days of leave per year, federal holidays off (mission allowing), tuition assistance, and the GI Bill. 

Edited by A True Kaniggit

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