Monday, June 28, 2021

From Industrialization Back To Feudalism (Neofeudalism)

medium  |  The pandemic housing bubble has multiple, complex causes among them:

Generations of Americans have dreamed of owning a home, both to insulate themselves from the whims of their landlords and to create intergenerational wealth. Home ownership was a key driver of social mobility, allowing working class people to enter the middle class. A horrible “natural experiment” shows just how important property acquisition is to economic stability: redlining and restrictive covenants froze Black people out of the home-purchasing boom of the New Deal and the GI Bill, exacerbating and accelerating the racial wealth gap.

Two factors drove the growth of the American middle-class: property ownership and unionization. Of the two, unionization was more universal — by no means free of institutional racism, but far more accessible than home ownership.

Of the two, unionization was the one that underwent sustained assault from business, finance and the state. After decades of declining union participation, amid stagnating wages and worker misclassification, the dream of social mobility through stable employment has evaporated for most workers (especially workers from the poorest households, burdened beyond belief by student debt, this debt assumed on the assurance that it would create employment-based access to a stable, middle-class existence).

But the American belief in home ownership as a path to a better future for homeowners and their descendants remains intact. And housing shortages — and the bubbles that attend them — only fuel this belief. When the house your working-class parents bought for $30,000 is appraised at $1.5 million, home ownership becomes a solution to all of life’s insecurities.


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