Capitalism produces the housing crisis

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Capitalism produces the housing crisis
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The discussion that follows was prompted by the article: Capitalism produces the housing crisis. The discussion was initiated by baboon.
Below is the discussion so far. Feel free to add your own comments!

Michelle Conroy

This is an excellent piece on the housing crisis of capitalism globally expressed. The system cannot even provide the basic necessities of shelter and throws increasing numbers of its vulnerable people - and the vast majority of people under capitalism are "vulnerable", into further uncertainty, misery and danger.

One such person was twenty-one year old Michelle Conroy who was sleeping rough on a grassy bank in a tent just off a busy main road in the centre of Exeter just before Christmas. After two weeks of pouring rain and generally atrocious weather, Michelle was killed in the  middle of the night when a fir tree weighing tons, its shallow roots loosened by the rain, fell on the tent and crushed her to death. I shouldn't imagine that Michelle in her circumstances had the best quality tent and the previous two weeks must have seen her constantly wet and cold.

The local charity, Saint Petrock's, offering support for the homeless, said that it's seen an increase of 36% of people made homeless through job losses and family breakdown - especially young people and females. About 10% of these are ex-soldiers - no longer "our boys". At a national level, some people in the homeless charity business say that homelessness has  jumped 14% since 2011, with over 69,000 of these being children. Others say that this is an underestimate but all agree that it's going to get worse.

Michelle was a victim of family breakdown and numerous social workers from an early age. Everyone who knew her said how pleasant, smart and polite she was and how she avoided the dangers to the homeless of taking drink and drugs in order to escape the full-time misery.

Poor Michelle was a lost soul who was crushed to death just as much by capitalism as a twenty-foot high fir tree and this is just one of its victims. See the Observer Review of yesterday to read more on this.

Yes, its a good piece--very

Yes, its a good piece--very informative. I am still curious though as to why, even in the aftermath of the burst housing bubble and a half decade of severe economic crisis, there is still some kind of rent bubble in the main metropolitan cities. This seems to be a feature of the current period. Instead of deflation, rent remain astronomical in these cities (whereas they can be quite a bit cheaper elsewhere). I imagine this does have something to do with the so-called "neo-liberal social configuration."

Above this, the issue of housing and Marxism can be touchy, with the ever present threat of accusations of "barracks socialism" flying about. Is there a positive communist vision of architectural space? Single family home ownship is the ideal that we are told to strive for under captialism, but I imagine this is not compatible with communist relations, but certainly nobody wants to live in a dormitory.

Amazon is giving away Engels

Amazon is giving away Engels for free? Can you say "valorization crisis"?

I want to strongly support

I want to strongly support Baboon post concerning the young women's death.  Engel's makes the point, In the Conditions of the Working class, that the ruling class is waging social war against the working class, and she was a victim of this war not nature. And there are thousands of others having to suffer in this wet and cold weather.

There is also the growing number of people depending on charities for food, clothing etc, this includes a growing number of people who are working.

On Thursday Newnight there was an interesting item on the generalized nature of worsening working and living conditions. It showed that whilst unemployment has not grown as fast as had been predicted and expected, incomes have fallen across the board and there is now a prevasive sense of insecurity and uncertainty. It gave the example of a 19% fall in household incomes in Shieffield -the North of England and a large industrial city- over the past 5 years. The piece gave the example of a group of workers who had to accept a weeks unplayed leave. The general message of the item was that how long would people continue to endure this pain. They had accepted falling wages etc in the hope of things getting better but now they are simply getting worse (and there is much worse to come as the attacks on social spending mount up). This highlights the problem for the ruling class, for 5 years they have been able to use peoples fear of job losses etc to sell the line of accepting sacrifices now for a better future but now the future is here and workers are being attacked more and more.

The widespread nature of these attacks, and their impact across the whole of the working class, rather than being concentrated on certain sectors holds out the prospects of a much more widespread eventual disconent. The idea of the working class being attacked as a whole has a much greater weight now.

These have been very difficult years for the working class, but this generalized sense of insecurity and things are only getting worse, whilst being extremely painful and difficult in the immediate, is providing the ground for a process of reflection across the working class which is potentially going to play a very important role in the development of struggles in the period to come.