To wonder what the country would be like of we all live in ha/council houses

(194 Posts)

And no one owned property? If everyone lived in a space that was good for them and their family and we all paid the same based on space ie 1 bedroom = PCM 2 bedroom = a bit more PCM.
This would mean that no one would get the rough end of the deal as mps would also be in the same situation.
Fair rent for everyone, money constantly going to the government.
I wonder if it'd encourage people to have more children or prohibit them from wanting more I they had to move to allow for another bedroom but then had to pay more?
Probably flawed massively somehow but I don't see why it couldn't work?

EllieArroway Thu 17-Jan-13 09:22:37

This has been tried in communist countries.

Progress is achieved when people strive to "better" themselves & getting a bigger/swankier home is an ambition most of us have. If you've already gotten as far as you ever will in those terms, you reach stalemate.

Your idea works well in ideological terms, but not in practice. Bit like communism itself, actually.

It would be the same as it is now but with no private landlords but more sofas in gardens grin

Dawndonna Thu 17-Jan-13 09:27:53

It wasn't really that way under communism because the housing stock was from pre-communist times and was therefore variable, giving people the opportunity to want to 'rise above their station'. Also, half the corrupt party members had their holiday homes etc.
It would only work if all housing was more or less similar, although obviously different in size, and if it had been that way from the word go.
Personally, I'd love to see it, but it isn't going to happen.

EllieArroway Thu 17-Jan-13 09:33:34

Dawn Yes, but it was the same general idea in communism countries. If they'd been starting from scratch and building new housing, this is what they'd have wanted to achieve. And you're right - corruption reared it's head & made the whole system unfair and unworkable.

Adversecamber Thu 17-Jan-13 09:34:22

We could wave to each other in our matching boiler suits over our state sanctioned garden fences comrade.

Crinkle77 Thu 17-Jan-13 09:37:05

Sounds a bit like communism to me - no thanks

flatpackhamster Thu 17-Jan-13 09:37:29

If you've ever been to some parts of eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, you'll see that some of the motorways still have separated lanes. There was a special lane for members of the Communist Party, and only their vehicles were allowed to travel in the special lane.
The argument was that Party officials were important and if they were delayed in their travel, The State might suffer - so they got private roads which only they could travel on.

The same thing would happen with your housing system.

George Orwell's "Animal Farm" is a good primer on this subject.

mademred Thu 17-Jan-13 09:41:25

I've lived in council properties, and currently in a h\a one, I've never put my sofa in my garden, its too cold to watch tv from there and the view is not so good.

DontmindifIdo Thu 17-Jan-13 09:42:32

hmm, so everyone's housing security would be based on the one landlord (governemnt) and there would be no way to provide for yourself? Your lifestyle would be completely out of your control and controlled by government policy? You'd have to pay rent for the rest of your life, never actually (as large swaths of the population do now) stop having housing costs after 20 or so years. You'd have to live where you were allocated, not where you wanted. You would have less control over when you move and where to.

nancerama Thu 17-Jan-13 09:45:14

In theory, this is how it works in the Netherlands. It's very common to rent there and a certain percentage of properties in each area have to be set aside for rental. When buying property, your solicitor has to run searches to check whether the owner is actually permitted to live in it.

They have a rent control system, meaning that landlords can't charge whatever they like and a government body that you can appeal to if you think you're paying too much or your property isn't well maintained.

For the most part, the system is good, but illegal subletting is a problem as once people secure a property in an amazing location at a cheap price, they are reluctant to release it onto someone else if they go travelling or move in with a partner.

PandaOnAPushBike Thu 17-Jan-13 09:47:23

Depends if it's compulsory or not. If everyone who wanted to got to live in a council house and there were plenty around to choose from, it would be like living in Sweden.

True communism has never actually been tried though - it's always been corrupt in some way as some people are more equal than others. hmm

I wasn't really thinking about it in a communist way actually although that's ideologically what I'd like.
You could still decorate how you want, put your own kitchen in etc and aspire to have nicer stuff If that's what you want...
Just thinking about over crowding, homelessness etc.

What about then if you could own property and people could rent out their properties but rent charge was was the same as ha/council rent? Everyone's rent is the same based on space. So a 2 bed house is always £ PCM so everyone's in a fair rent situation?

The thing that could allow it to work is that everyone would be in the same boat including the government.
So if things were shit for you then they'd be shit for them too and maybe things would improve.
If things were good for those in power then it would mean things would be good for everyone as no one is above anyone else in that respect at least.

What happens in sweden?

piratecat Thu 17-Jan-13 09:52:58

i also have my sofa in my living room.

Maybe your tv just isn't big enough to warrant watching it from outside like all the rest of the estate eh?

Booyhoo Thu 17-Jan-13 10:00:20

i'd prefer better renting regulations and more come back for tenants when they aren't getting a fair deal. also caps on rental charges. and yes more council/HA housing is needed.

thesnowmanrocks Thu 17-Jan-13 10:01:17

It would be awful imo. I live in council housing and they can't maintain what they have now properly. So if they had every house/flat now it would end up looking rundown and people living in terrible conditions.

Don't have my sofa in garden very hard to watch tv two floors up!!!

Caps on rent makes sense.

specialsubject Thu 17-Jan-13 10:03:35

what's wrong with a sofa in the garden? Done a lot in New Zealand.

OP, if you want to live in a dictatorship there are still one or two around. Shut the door on your way out.

Dawndonna Thu 17-Jan-13 10:12:28

I find the knee jerk reactions to this question a little strange. It does not necessarily mean communism. People a very frightened of thinking in a slightly different way. Just because all housing would be government owned, doesn't mean state sanctioned living. That's a logical fallacy presuming that one thing would automatically lead to another.

Callisto Thu 17-Jan-13 10:22:24

I think there would be a massive brain-drain as everyone who could emigrated to a less totalitarian regime. After several hundred years of democracy I doubt many would take kindly to living in an endless identikit suburbia. And what about all of the really nice houses? Are they all going to be bulldozed and only housing to the lowest common denominator built in their place?

PandaOnAPushBike Thu 17-Jan-13 10:31:51

What happens in sweden

In my town the majority of properties are owned by the housing association. Renting like this is normal. It's not what poor, desperate people do. It's what lots of people do. If you want to buy, house prices are reasonable too (60k for a 2 bed detached, 15k for a 1 bed flat).

There is usually a bit of wait for a rented place but it's next to nothing. My daughter is a student and wanted to move out and live with her boyfriend in the town where their university is. They had to wait 3 months until a council owned student flat became available. As a student flat it's theirs until they graduate (no coming home in the holidays) and their rent includes heating, electricty and a laundry. When they graduate they will be given the opportunity to move into a 1 or 2 bed flat where they will have to pay their own bills.

Disclaimer: Stockholm is a different kettle of fish with a massive housing problem like the uk (not enough to go round and astronomical prices to buy)

Jins Thu 17-Jan-13 10:33:48

Before I owned property I may have seen advantages to this. Now I own property I'd be wondering if I would get fair compensation for giving it up

cantspel Thu 17-Jan-13 10:46:13

Even if the state owned all the housing you would still get good areas and bad areas. Good standard housing and bad as people are different.

You will still get people who dont look after their property and others who will improve a property. I know people who own large expensive detached houses where quite frankly the house is a shit hole but they are quite happy to live like that. I also know others in small ha houses who have a lovely home. It might be smaller but it is better looked after.

LifeofPo Thu 17-Jan-13 10:47:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

threesocksmorgan Thu 17-Jan-13 10:48:46

but who would people look down on?
who would they judge as beneath them?

WileyRoadRunner Thu 17-Jan-13 10:55:14

*but who would people look down on?
who would they judge as beneath them?*

<yawn> hasn't this been done to death?

By the way you missed

But who would the squeezed middle class get to be jealous and bitter about.

I don't see why fair housing for all must mean a totalitarian regime?!
What an illogical jump!

Btw we own our own house... It doesn't stop me from being able to see how life for millions of other people could be better if we didn't own.

Morloth Thu 17-Jan-13 11:07:46

Well, what happens to the people who don't want to live like this?

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 17-Jan-13 11:09:38

"True communism has never actually been tried though - it's always been corrupt in some way as some people are more equal than others"

That's the definition of being tried. Any ideological system relies on people to carry it out. It can't exist in glorious isolation. If, in practice, it doesn't work then it's probably because it's a flawed ideology. People are creative individuals and they are territorial. For that reason, limiting living space to some bog-standard average would result in misery.

DontmindifIdo Thu 17-Jan-13 11:11:08

thinking about this again, I think the premise of this is that the current set up doesn't work for the majority of people, but that's not the case. While most people would like prices to be lower, that doesn't mean they don't like our current system and the freedom it gives you to control your own housing if you have the money to pay.

Under HA rules, our 3 bed house that we bought as a couple then had 1 DC would be under occupied, and the 2 bed flat we rented before was too. Our mortgage is about 25% of our combined base income, so we can comfortably afford it, we expect to be mortgage free when i'm around 45, so will then effectively live 'for free' for the rest of our lives (current life expectancies, probably best part of 40 years), that's worth having slightly higher housing costs for the short period of our lives while we're paying it. most owner occupied are fully intending to pay off their mortgages before retirement and then also live 'for free'.

What would make the situation in this country better would be more HA properties - apart from anything else, at the bottom end of the rental market it would push down prices private landlords could charge, which would have a general downward pressure on house prices. (Or at least take out the fuel buy to let buyers have put into the housing market, if it's not such a good investment anymore, people will put their money elsewhere)

whois Thu 17-Jan-13 11:14:04

It's a shit idea. Why should someone working low hours in a low stres low skill job get to live in as nice an area or house as someone working in a high pressure high hour high skill higher pay job?

You are advocating communism which doesn't work.

However if the housing stock was priced at market rents, and the housing stock was variable as it is now with private letting BUT it was owned by the govt and tenancies were more secure then that might be better.

Whois - thats kind of what I'm saying ... Having thought about it though I wonder whether caps on all rent would work better but then there might be empty houses if people couldn't afford the mortgages if rent didn't cover them... Hmm

There is something not right with the current housing situation, I'm just trying to figure out how it could be fairer and no homelessness issues etc

DontmindifIdo Thu 17-Jan-13 11:26:55

Thing is, when renting, square footage wasn't our only consideration - we rented a 2 bed place in SE London for £1,400 a month before buying, however, we could have got a similar sized place for a lot less money in a different part of London. We paid more for a decent commute, to live in a nice area, and to have a flat decorated to a high spec. (If you get to decorate your own place if you rent it, this will mean the standards would be different in different flats in the same block.) There's a lot more variation in rental and housing prices than just the size/number of bedrooms. People don't buy just off size, and renters are the same.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 17-Jan-13 11:33:25

I thinik there would develop a black market in buildings. Certain buildings would be designated 'commercial properties' (shops, hotels, factories, restaurants) and owners would offer them as kind of holiday lets, especially those in interesting places. Gradually - with a bit of money changing hands - those holiday lets would become permanent second homes and all kinds of officials would get rich on the back of it. Others would secretly build lovely places 'off grid', outside of the planning regulations, underground even... and the same would apply there.

Yes that's true, if all areas cost the same to live in though would there be 'nice' areas anymore?
There would certainly be more convenient areas though.

DontmindifIdo Thu 17-Jan-13 11:34:13

Jazz - more council properties would have a downward pressure on the private rentals because there would be less demand on them. This would mean buy to let would be less attractive as an investment, people with say, £250k to invest would be able to get better returns from other investments/just keeping it in savings and start quietly leaving the market. That would reduce the competition on 'entry level' properties, reducing prices - and bit by bit that would feed through to the rest of the housing market. It doesn't mean the rest of the market needs to be tampered with, just the government set about a massive building project, building council properties at a high quality, it would take a lot of the pressure off.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 17-Jan-13 11:35:44

Of course there would be 'nice' areas. There's always something to commend a particular neighbourhood over another. The geography, amenities, employment stats. And there would still be homelessness. Even when rents are fair, some won't pay it and will end up on the streets.

That sounds good!
Why can't they bloody do it grin

DontmindifIdo Thu 17-Jan-13 11:37:59

Yes there would be nice and rough areas, unless the housing stock was all to be knocked down and started again with the same quality of build, same amenaties, same amount of outdoor open spaces, same number of state school places per number of households all equally spaced out etc.

Cognito - of course there will be geographical and convenient locations that are preferable but there might not be the rich end of town, the affluent areas and the shit areas?

Or they could build schools, shops etc by the currently 'bad' areas instead of knocking it all down

DontmindifIdo Thu 17-Jan-13 11:40:58

Jazz - because we seem to prefer over complicated solutions. That and in areas where there's demand for council properties doesn't always equate to areas where there's land to build them on. A lot of land is protected in the UK so hard ot build on.

Mind you, any big house building project (private or government controlled) would have a downward pressure on prices. i think that's why they are talking about easing up building on green belt land currently.

DontmindifIdo Thu 17-Jan-13 11:43:46

Or they could build schools, shops etc by the currently 'bad' areas instead of knocking it all down - that assumes bad areas have the space for them - often one thing 'rough' areas of towns have in common IME is being cramped and poorly thought out.

That also assumes that the housing stock, even if equal in size is equal in quality.

Morloth Thu 17-Jan-13 11:44:18

So the people in this utopia who don't want to live like this?

Um form your own political party and retro get elected just like anyone that feel strongly against what a country is doing?

*try

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 17-Jan-13 11:53:35

There would be the 'rich end of town' because corruption would dictate that the officials responsible for allocating all of this housing would start to favour those that can slip them a few quid to make sure they were at the top of the list....

GrimmaTheNome Thu 17-Jan-13 11:55:19

One of the main things wrong with the current housing situation is that the banks lent too much money, to people buying their own homes and for rental, so that the price of housing is out of line with incomes.

The OPs model is far too simplistic - there's far more to how much accommodation is worth than the number of bedrooms. There's lovely homes and nasty dumps, and don't forget location, location, location.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 17-Jan-13 11:56:40

"Or they could build schools, shops etc by the currently 'bad' areas instead of knocking it all down "

Ever lived in the 'bad' part of a town? I have. The council planted an avenue of trees there once in an attempt to improve the environment for the residents. Within a week all the saplings were snapped in half.

Morloth Thu 17-Jan-13 12:02:51

So why don't you do that?

What happens when people start banding together to protect their patch? And they will.

Humans don't really want things to be fair, if we did they would be.

Morloth Thu 17-Jan-13 12:05:15

Also how is the government decided?

Abra1d Thu 17-Jan-13 12:06:14

Why would you want to give even more money to a government? They take quite enough from most of us as it is.

znaika Thu 17-Jan-13 12:06:35

There are very few pre revolutionary houses in the former Soviet Union countries Dawndonna , most people lived in slums hencce the need for a revolution!! Most people were housed according to where they worked and their professions so you were probably neighbours with your work colleagues etc. You had whole neighbourhoods of engineers or artists. The striking thing about big cities now is that all neighbourhoods are mixed, although some places look more delapidated there are no real places where poverty is concentrated, it's all mixed up.

Every one was entitled to a house per need of the family and costs were calculated on person per sq meter- everyone had a dacha or small country house (no water or electricity) so they had a place for fresh air and to grow their own vegetables. Tbh the housing although soemtimes delapidated was the least of our worries and is the greatest concern for most young people now as they can't afford to house their families.

SamSmalaidh Thu 17-Jan-13 12:12:12

I think the way to go would be a huge increase in social housing stock, so everyone who wanted one could have one.

Also, tighter regulation of private landlords - rent caps, independent rent panels to deal with increases, abolishing 6 month tenancies and making it much harder to evict tenants.

I would also make it impossible to claim housing benefit on a private rental. Tax payer's money should not be paying private mortgages!

If people wanted to buy a house, they are still free to do so.

I really believe that secure, decent, affordable and safe housing should be a basic right like education and healthcare. It's amazing that many feel it should remain a priviledge!

flurp Thu 17-Jan-13 12:25:51

I don't think the OPs suggestion would be workable but something needs to change wrt housing, particularly people's attitudes.
I live in such an expensive area that I could not ever afford to buy a 3 bed house and the cost to rent privately is often as much if not more than a mortgage. I was born here, as were all my family. DP and I both have good full time jobs and are not on benefits or tax credits or whatever. I have rented a HA house for 9 years because that is my only viable option. Its a nice house and luckily in a decent area.
I get fed up with people looking down on me or assuming that I must be on benefits to have a 'council house'.
I don't want a mortgage. Owning property has never appealed to me. What is wrong with paying a fair rent for the property you want to live in? Not an extortionate amount set by a greedy landlord. Rental prices should be capped to be reasonably affordable to those of us who can't/don't want to be on the property ladder.

Sam I think I agree with you - my op was too simplistic and didn't take into account many things but the principle of everyone being able to live comfortably as a right is there.
I don't understand how some people think that housing is a privilege - a stable shelter is surely one of the most basic things we want in life?

MoodyDidIt Thu 17-Jan-13 12:37:26

interesting debate....i think it would be great but i am sure lots of other cleverer people would have very good reasons why it wouldn't work

Booyhoo Thu 17-Jan-13 12:39:49

i agree sam.

not sure if it has been mentioned but is more social housing on anyone's agenda? i mean anyone in power's agenda. or have they cut all that?

Interesting thread OP.

We'd maybe have to knock down current housing and start again. Plus, plant trees etc. equally in all districts. Even then, most towns have some bits that are colder/wetter/windier - I wonder if that would affect desirability? People always think of something to get one up. And as others have mentioned, there's convenience of location, and availability of jobs. Would areas end up equal, or not?

As for communism not working, well I'm not too fond of capitalism either!

BegoniaBampot Thu 17-Jan-13 12:46:35

lived on a kibbutz. at 14, the kids got their own room and bathroom with the other young peple. as you got older you got a place to suit your needs. if you had more children they accomodated you. worked but they all chose to be there.

Bramshott Thu 17-Jan-13 12:47:24

I think the country would be great if everyone WHO WANTED TO had the opportunity to live in a HA/Council house - much like they did in the 1950s.

The key success of the 1950s 'Homes for Heroes' programme was that they were in EVERY community, not by and large in great estates or ghettos, just interspersed with 'normal' housing (which in those days was more likely to be rented or tied than owned).

MoodyDidIt Thu 17-Jan-13 12:48:18

deffo agree with bramshott

and also the posters who say a secure stable home shouldnt be a privilege - its a basic human need

DontmindifIdo Thu 17-Jan-13 12:52:24

Jazz - but again, the assumption that because the current situation doesn't work for some people that it doesn't work for the majority.

Some people are much better off - both financially and with options now than they would be with any changes that attempted to artificially control the market. Many of the people who'd be 'winners' under the current system would be 'losers' under any changes. (Losers not just in financial sence, but also in terms of losing control/options/security that they would happily pay for.)

rather than try to limit/artificially control the demand for housing, it would be better to try to change the supply. You take something from being 'rare' to being 'common' and prices fall. More choice of properties and lower prices would solve most of the problems.

Why would you want the state/gov to have more power?
That seems like madness to me.
The people in power have always acted in their self-interest. Why would you trust them on this?

flatpackhamster Thu 17-Jan-13 13:03:57

JazzAnnNonMouse

True communism has never actually been tried though - it's always been corrupt in some way as some people are more equal than others.

That is why 'true' communism can't succeed. It's a perfect system except when it's applied to the real world, which makes it a fricking disaster which kills millions.

I wasn't really thinking about it in a communist way actually although that's ideologically what I'd like.

If someone wrote "I'd think the Nazis were great" everyone would be furious, but for some bizarre reason it's 'acceptable' to some people to say that they'd like to live under a communist system. Why is that? What is it about brutal, totalitarian, oppressive murdering communism that so appeals to you?

^You could still decorate how you want, put your own kitchen in etc and aspire to have nicer stuff If that's what you want...
Just thinking about over crowding, homelessness etc.^

What about then if you could own property and people could rent out their properties but rent charge was was the same as ha/council rent? Everyone's rent is the same based on space. So a 2 bed house is always £ PCM so everyone's in a fair rent situation?

Imagine two houses, one close to a main line station, one not. The main line station allows easy access to the nearest major city and lots of jobs.

The value of these two houses is different because of their location, so why should the rents be identical? House A has easy access to jobs, house B doesn't.

The thing that could allow it to work is that everyone would be in the same boat including the government.
So if things were shit for you then they'd be shit for them too and maybe things would improve.
If things were good for those in power then it would mean things would be good for everyone as no one is above anyone else in that respect at least.

But that's not how it works in the real world. In the real world, government votes itself privileges that the rest of us can only dream of.

Look, when you look back in history, what do you see? You see power clawed away from the King and the aristocracy, and who is it clawed away by? Historically, wealthy merchants, and a burgeoning, property-owning middle class who gradually come in to power. And it's that independence of wealth, and the property that goes with it, which is a bastion against the tyranny of a dictatorship.

Yet you're proposing that we strip everyone of their property, and by extension their power and their ability to challenge a dictator.

Your solution to inequality is to make everyone equally unequal, except for the politicians and the civil servants who allocate housing.

Can you imagine the scale of the bribes that those civil servants who allocate housing will receive? They'll allocate themselves the best housing, take bribes from people for the second best and everyone who can't buy privilege will suffer.

Communism doesn't work. It never works. It doesn't work because it simply doesn't take account of basic human drives which have been programmed in to us for hundreds of thousands of years. The only way it can possibly work is in a system of unlimited resources, but as a tool for allocating scarce resources it is a disaster.

Dawndonna

I find the knee jerk reactions to this question a little strange.

I find your classification of these reactions as 'knee jerk' a little strange. They are the healthy reaction of people opposed to an evil totalitarian dictatorship.

It does not necessarily mean communism.

That's exactly what it means.

People a very frightened of thinking in a slightly different way.

"Slightly different"?? Government controlling all land and housing is 'slightly different' to what we have now?

Just because all housing would be government owned, doesn't mean state sanctioned living. That's a logical fallacy presuming that one thing would automatically lead to another.

Well perhaps you'd like to give us some examples of a country where the government owns all land and property, and it isn't an oppressive, brutal dictatorship? I can't think of any.

piprabbit Thu 17-Jan-13 13:17:02

I don't know if it's a "British" thing, we aren't very good at accepting change for the good of the community.
Milton Keynes was designed as a marvellous group of small 'village' communties, mixed housing, access to facilities etc. etc. and everybody bitched about it. Forty years later it still wouldn't be on the top of most people's lists as somewhere they would choose to live.

cantspel Thu 17-Jan-13 13:21:55

We had social housing and it has been sold off but who bought it?

It wasn't some big company to sell on for profit. It was the people living it it at the time. People want to own their own home (que the one or or 2 coming forward to say they never want to own and love renting) and given the chance will buy.

The only thing stopping them is affordabliity and even with the current slump i dont see house prices dipping by 50% anytime soon in places people want to live. There is cheap housing in the uk but people cant buy and live in them if the work is not there.

Maybe it would just be better to improve the prospects in these areas so people could then move in and regenerate the whole area.

Floggingmolly Thu 17-Jan-13 13:37:14

a stable, secure home isn't a privilege, it's a basic human need
It's a human need, certainly. Which some people accept they'll have to provide for themselves, and others wait for it to be provided for them.

Booyhoo Thu 17-Jan-13 13:46:04

"The value of these two houses is different because of their location, so why should the rents be identical? House A has easy access to jobs, house B doesn't."

i agree. houses are worth different amounts to each prospectve owner/tenant.

for example my house is in a great location for families, especially those who dont drive as it is 5 minutes walk from all the shops, the primary school is right behind it, 2 secondary schools just up the hill opposite, play park accross the road, hospital a 2 minute car drive, brilliant youth club, afterschool club, leisure centre, sports clubs, gp's, dentists, opticians etc all within 5 minutes walk.

however if my house was on the outskirts of town and a non driving family wanted it they might only be prepared to pay £50 less per month rent to account for all the taxi/bus fares into town/work.

flatpackhamster Thu 17-Jan-13 13:53:37

DontmindifIdo

Jazz - more council properties would have a downward pressure on the private rentals because there would be less demand on them.

I know I have already filled up this thread with verbeage but I wanted to deal with this point.

Your theory only applies if the size of the population in the UK is static. It isn't.

In the last 10 years we've had a net increase of 3 million people. 2 million Britons have left but 5 million migrants have come, 2/3 of them from Europe (overwhelmingly Eastern Europe). 90% of that population increase has been in London and the SE.

Next year Romanians and Bulgarians will be able to travel, live and work throughout the EU. I would expect another million+ people arriving on our doorstep.

How do you plan to address this? Every time you think you're on top of social housing, in floods another million migrants and you're back to square one.

You can only address a housing shortage if you control your borders and limit population growth and migration, and we don't do either.

bureni Thu 17-Jan-13 14:04:57

It makes no sense to let any more people into the country, London already has a higher population that Scotland, Northern Ireland and ROI combined.

Abra1d Thu 17-Jan-13 15:47:27

50,000 Romanians and Bulgarians a year for five years. So a quarter of a million extra people.

People want to own their own housing for security as privately renting isn't secure housing.
Yes this would mean that people that own lots now would 'miss out' on their future earning but they wouldn't be any worse off than everyone else.
It surprises me that the good of all doesn't appeal but the good of a few does.

I don't want to live in a totalitarian society either - suggesting a different housing system doesn't equate this I don't think.

I don't think humans are inherently selfish but I think the society we live in is.

flatpackhamster Thu 17-Jan-13 16:35:57

Abra1d

50,000 Romanians and Bulgarians a year for five years. So a quarter of a million extra people.

Yes, that's the estimate made by the same people who underestimated Eastern European migration by a factor of 10. You'll forgive me if I'm skeptical of their claims. I think a million is an underestimate, given that 44% of Bulgarians are currently living in material poverty (which is rather different to our own, politically contrived measure of 'poverty'.

JazzAnnNonMouse

Yes this would mean that people that own lots now would 'miss out' on their future earning but they wouldn't be any worse off than everyone else.

So if we're all poor and miserable, that's OK? Why would any of these people who you're stealing stuff from stay in the country? In fact, why would anyone want to stay in your country when they can't own land or a house?

It surprises me that the good of all doesn't appeal but the good of a few does.

This isn't the good of all. Everything you're proposing is evil.

I don't want to live in a totalitarian society either - suggesting a different housing system doesn't equate this I don't think.

Yes it does. Look at what you're suggesting! You're suggesting that government - a single body - has total control of the ownership of land and property. How much more totalitarian does it have to be for you to accept that it's totalitarian?

I don't think humans are inherently selfish but I think the society we live in is.

If it's "selfish" to not want my housing to be 'allocated' by a corrupt official, then yes, I'm selfish.

The system you are proposing isn't for the good of all. Once again, its for the good of a few. You would like to rip people out of their homes if they are large and give the to others. You would like 'the state' to decide who gets to live where. You seriously think that all homes could possibly be equal?

Who is this mythical state made up of who run this utopian housing system? Is it some of those selfish socialist leaders we've had? Multi millionaire, Tony Blair and flat swapping Cherie? Super-tax avoiding Ken Livingstone? Or perhaps a return to the old days of those upstanding men like Derek Hatton?

The idea that people like this would have total command of our housing system is terrible - and really, history has shown it to be an abject failure.

CloudsAndTrees Thu 17-Jan-13 16:42:25

I don't like the idea of anything that restricts freedom. Something like making government control all housing would only be the start of it, it's not the sort of policy you can have without it affecting other things that would end up being seen as equally unfair.

Where would you draw the line? Petrol rationing, a limit on how much food we can eat, how often we are allowed out of the country?

If everyone in the country was forced to live in virtually identical property, we would pretty much collapse because none of the wealthy would still want to live here, and society cannot thrive if one section of it is removed. We are all dependant on each other.

And what about farmers who wanted to live in a farm house on their land? What about all the small businesses that operate from home because people have turned their spare bedroom into an office, or their detached garage into a catering kitchen (for example)?

It's a ridiculous idea.

But the government is 'us' we vote them in and any one of us can become elected if we are successful.

They are the governing body that represent us.
How I would really like the country to be run is everyone make all decisions by referendum - this couldn't be seen as unfair?

CloudsAndTrees Thu 17-Jan-13 16:48:01

I'd like more decisions to me made by referendum too, but that's a completely different thread.

The government does not represent us. We have to many different ideas and not enough politicians that we trust to represent our view. None of us have that in this country at the moment, no matter where our politics lie.

If government was capable of representing all of us, we wouldn't have ended up with a hung parliament and a dodgy coalition.

Flat pack hamster - how is everything I propose evil?

Charmingbaker Thu 17-Jan-13 16:49:36

Might sound good in theory but in practice 'some are more equal than orhers'.

Yes it is but it's not totalitarian then is it? grin

The fact that we elect them, doesn't and hasn't stopped them being corrupt.
We need a system of checks in place, and we need power not to be concentrated in any single group's hands. - You are suggesting a single group of officials have power. It's ridiculous.

Why would you suddenly expect all politicians would become "good" if they were given more power.

All decisions made by referendum? You are joking, right? We would be voting (and counting votes) every single day - and who would decide on which issue first? Referendums can be very unfair.

flatpackhamster Thu 17-Jan-13 17:28:14

JazzAnnNonMouse

But the government is 'us' we vote them in and any one of us can become elected if we are successful.

Really? The government is 'us'? How represented do you feel? Which one of the Oxbridge PPE graduates who went on to be a spin doctor and then got given a safe seat by his party represents you?

Flat pack hamster - how is everything I propose evil?

OK, picture this. You've lived in a house for 30 years. You and your husband bought it together, it was your first house. You raised three children there. Your children come back with their grandchildren at weekends. Over there, in the garden, is the apple tree your husband planted when the first child was born, and it gives a crop of fat red fruit every year. The worn patch of grass reminds you of the swing you had which the children played on.

And you want the government to take that house - and everything it means - away from that family, and give it to someone else. What part of that is not evil? Where are you doing good there?

The trouble with everything you've suggested, is that you're treating people as things. People as things, that's where the evil starts. You're not treating them like human beings with thoughts and feelings and aspirations, you're treating them like little toys who will be glad to be shoved in to their new State Approved Property.

There's only one thing worse than someone who does evil because they're evil, and that's someone who does evil because they think they're doing good.

But if it benefitted someone else more and they could create happy memories there too then why is that evil? Its not saying right now you have no where to live its just saying you have some where different to live. It's surely just progressive housing?

My op was flawed (as I've said previously) as it didnt take into account all things that place a value on a house but suggesting its evil is quite silly!

You seem to think that those that have now are more deserving of it than those that don't. This isn't always the case.

No I don't feel represented now but that's an entirely different thread - that's how this system is suppose to work, it's supposed to represent us.

Why is people voting everyday a bad thing? Isn't that true democracy? Power in the hands of the people

So you don't agree with social housing ok, what about capping rent?

TinyDancingHoofer Thu 17-Jan-13 18:35:16

This is a brilliant idea, i could stop work and be in the exact same situation as my very hard working neighbour.

CloudsAndTrees Thu 17-Jan-13 18:44:44

I agree with social housing, and clearly we need much much more of it. Everyone should be entitled to it if they want it, but that doesn't mean you have to prohibit home owning as well.

Surely no one would work. We would all be in committees deciding what today's election would be. I would have ten children - I've got my eye on a nice house I could have already. The occupants could bog off.

CloudsAndTrees Thu 17-Jan-13 18:46:10

And I don't think you can cap rent fairly without capping how much one property can ever be worth, or without forcing the banks to write off people's mortgages.

ShellyBoobs Thu 17-Jan-13 19:15:28

YABU.

Everyone would stop trying if we all lived in state subsidised housing.

Morloth Thu 17-Jan-13 19:36:05

How are you going to implement it? Are you going to use force to move people out of their current homes? Because there will be a lot of kicking and screaming.

Humans are inherently selfish IMO, that is why society is.

Morloth - I think it's that our society makes us selfish, not all cultures and societies are.
I'd like to think humans weren't inherently selfish.

Morloth Thu 17-Jan-13 20:26:22

Name one that isn't/wasn't selfish.

Watch what chip families do to interlopers.

Morloth Thu 17-Jan-13 20:27:45

Name one that isn't/wasn't selfish.

Watch what chimp families do to interlopers.

Ooh bagsy I get to decide where everyone lives. I'm really selfless, me!

(everyone who agrees will get a nice place)

flatpackhamster Thu 17-Jan-13 21:20:12

JazzAnnNonMouse

But if it benefitted someone else more and they could create happy memories there too then why is that evil?

But how do you even decide who benefits 'more'? Who makes the decision to apply happiness standards and how do they gauge it?

The problem that we come back to, time and time again with your ideas, is that they look at a problem and decide that the solution is for the government to take control. You've got a hopelessly optimistic view of the efficacy of government. Do you not realise how corrupt government is? Can you not imagine an official tasked with allocating housing taking bribes?

Its not saying right now you have no where to live its just saying you have some where different to live. It's surely just progressive housing?

I'm sorry, it's what? "Progressive" housing? No, it's communism. Don't try to rebrand it as something less ghastly.

My op was flawed (as I've said previously) as it didnt take into account all things that place a value on a house but suggesting its evil is quite silly!

Communism is evil. It's treating people as objects to be moved around by the state for the state's convenience. What's good about that? The state shows no respect for the individual's desires, motivations, or anything. It requires them to conform. It's a brutal, oppressive system that sucks the joy out of being human.

What you're proposing is communism, it has no respect for people, and it's evil.

You seem to think that those that have now are more deserving of it than those that don't. This isn't always the case.

And who decides what's "deserving"?

flatpackhamster Thu 17-Jan-13 21:21:03

Thisisaeuphemism

Ooh bagsy I get to decide where everyone lives. I'm really selfless, me!

(everyone who agrees will get a nice place)

You're amazing.

I'd like JazzAnnOnnMouse's house please. Since she's so selfless and Committed To The Revolution, she'll gladly hand it over to Further The People's Paradise.

Just been reading a history of St Kilda - pretty equal society there. Housing allocated by need, food collected by those who could, and distributed equally amongst the community, including the old and the sick who couldn't get their own. For a long time they lived without money as it was meaningless for them; they did trade though, and they had to pay rent to the island's owner, which was paid in goods and he in return supplied things they couldn't produce, like salt.

Mind you, no-one had a house near the train station grin. And they did discourage individualism - one guy apparently wanted to put a wooden floor in his cottage to make it more cosy, but the rest dissuaded him.

mrscog Thu 17-Jan-13 21:29:30

But all properties aren't equal are they? Take two different 3 bed homes of identical size inside, but one has a downstairs loo, the other doesn't. One has a small lounge and a big kitchen diner, the other has a small kitchen and 2 small reception rooms. One has amazing views and a south facing garden and the other is opposite a nightclub and next door to a fish and chip shop. Would it be fair for the occupiers of both homes to be paying the same? Who would decide this kind of thing? Who would be responsible for paying for the upkeep?

ukfirestorm Thu 17-Jan-13 21:31:34

all property is theft

CloudsAndTrees Thu 17-Jan-13 21:35:05

What, like the property you pay for out of earned money you mean, ukfirestorm?

CabbageLeaves Thu 17-Jan-13 21:39:59

If you level the playing field so that everyone has the same and let's just imagine there was no opportunity to manipulate a house in the better spot etc etc..... Why would people work harder? or work at all? because there would be nothing to gain from it?

I work harder than I need to because I have pride in my work BUT some days are bloody awful and without a need to pay a mortgage I'd walk away and spend days walking my dog.

I'm deciding mrs cog! You, cloud and trees, morloth and flat pack are getting quite nice places (I reserve the best for myself naturally)
Ukfirestorm, jazzann, meh, not so nice.

"If you level the playing field so that everyone has the same and let's just imagine there was no opportunity to manipulate a house in the better spot etc etc..... Why would people work harder? or work at all? because there would be nothing to gain from it? "

Seems the St Kildans I mentioned above didn't have a problem with this - they worked because if the able-bodied didn't work the community would starve.

Even communes don't seem to work because someone always nicks the milk in the fridge, so st kildans aside, why would it work on a scale of 60 million?
Sorry notgoodnot bad and cabbage leaves, only crap housing left - but if you bung me a tender I'll sort you out something.

'Money isn't a fair form of exchange.'

Flatpackhamster - you're quite aggressive. Changing how housing works doesn't automatically equal communism.

It's about trying to think of different ways of living, different priorities. I'm questioning how things currently are and if they work (do you think they do?) putting hypothetical situations out there and discussing them isn't evil. I'm not saying this is how it must be done and if you dont do it my way I'll make you...

It's obvious that you hate communism but I'm not actually talking about communism. I'm merely thinking about housing and how things could be different and what effect that would have.

Discussing ideas is not evil of course - but your proposals have been tried before, in many different countries with the same disastrous results.

Didn't you ever see dr zhivago?!!

CloudsAndTrees Thu 17-Jan-13 21:59:41

grin Thisisaeupemism

Never seen or heard of that, will google smile

Looks like a film about communism and seeing as I'm not talking about communism (repeat repeat repeat) it's a bit irrelevanthmm

I'm talking about housing. Not a whole overthrow of Current authority, not a revolution. Housing. Fair housing that could benefit all. Different ways of doing so - no ownership how would that work, owner ship but capped rents etc.

CloudsAndTrees Thu 17-Jan-13 22:17:22

But making everyone live in the same type of house for the same amount of money practically is communism. You only have to take one little step further down that road and you are giving everyone the same pay, the same cars, the same holidays, and you have communism!

No ownership would mean that people who are capable of earning a large amount of money would jump ship and go somewhere that that their work actually benefited them. We would lose a whole layer of society, like I've already said, and that would mean that the people you are trying to be 'fair' to would actually miss out. Can't you see that?

As of capped rents, I already said what I thought about that but you didn't respond. It is worthy of discussion, but again would be wholly wrong without a whole lot of other measures.

ukfirestorm Thu 17-Jan-13 22:18:43

Not my quote, but (and I speak here as a hypocrite) property ownership requires poorer people.capitalism engenders the fear that we will lose what we have amassed and promotes individualism, more evil than communism, but closer to mans natural state- nastt, brutish etc (also not my quote, and a paraphrase)

ukfirestorm Thu 17-Jan-13 22:21:19

Also, council housing in this country is dead, will be a distant memory in ten years time. Thatchers children.

MiniTheMinx Thu 17-Jan-13 22:21:22

What a brilliant thread OP and it raises so many interesting points.

I am in inclined to think that we no longer trust in human nature because capitalism and neo-liberal thinking leaves so little room for questioning things.

So could we run a country where everyone had a say in politics, yes by organising ourselves around where we live but also within the workplace. I would like to see more collectivised housing (or at least collectivised ownership and democratic decision making) co-ops are a great alternative both in terms of housing and work.

suburbophobe Thu 17-Jan-13 22:25:21

I know someone who was born, grew up and lived in East Germany.

She told me they used to pay a tenner for rent per month.

no wonder it collapsed

ukfirestorm Thu 17-Jan-13 22:27:02

Credit unions too.at least the situation here better than some other capitalist societies like the us, our poor at least have access to healthcare.

ukfirestorm Thu 17-Jan-13 22:29:09

Also, great thread!I came to mumsnet expecting to find advice on nappies (which I have found!) Not expecting sociological thought experiments! Great stuff!

garlicblocks Thu 17-Jan-13 22:32:48

Unread thread warning: There are lots of countries where renting is the norm, and fair rent controls are also the norm. You don't need a totalitarian regime to achieve it, ffs!

I'm sure others have posted good examples. I'd love to see this country lose its obsession with mortgages. The second you leave school, the race is on to get more and more into debt. It's insane.

Alternative answer to the OP: Everybody would have mile-wide flat-screen tellies, there would be a benefit goat in every garden and all children would be reared on froot shoots. Obviously wink

ukfirestorm Thu 17-Jan-13 22:34:19

For example france!

Mini how would the workplace change?

I think it's interesting too smile

MiniTheMinx Thu 17-Jan-13 22:37:02

In fairness though East Germany and the soviet union were never communist. That was just the bogey man that the monied elite in the west concocted. Yes they were government demand driven and state capitalist but communist, no.

Little spoken about fact.....Regan came to power backed by the neo-libs, on a mandate to bring down government spending. What actually happened is government spending rose, as did government debt. What was it spent on? crippling the former soviet bogey man whilst money was drained from domestic and welfare, wages and health.

CloudsAndTrees Thu 17-Jan-13 22:45:49

property ownership requires poorer people

That's a fair point, but but doesn't every section of this society require almost everyone else?

The rich need the poor to buy what they sell, or to serve their coffee, or to do the many small unskilled jobs that without which they wouldn't be able to do their job. Likewise, the poor need the rich to pay their large taxes to enable our civilised society with things like healthcare and policing, or to provide their jobs and buy their labour.

MiniTheMinx Thu 17-Jan-13 22:47:34

A collective in the work place is where the workers own the means of production. It means that every worker shares in the wealth created and also has a say in how the company is run. It means that businesses are run for the benefit of those that supply the labour and not for the profit of a few people that usually employ the labour power. There are several now dotted about in the states, it's beginning to take off.

The same with housing, collectives can pool their resources, some buy land and start building, maybe eco houses or building houses around another project such as sustainability and food. They build, work and live together. It might mean tapping into tourism, education or other skills within the group to make it a cheaper and more democratic solution to private housing. Private housing, where nothing is socialised and people have no connections or interest in their nearest neighbours.

CloudsAndTrees Thu 17-Jan-13 22:51:15

There's an idea Mini! You mean a bit like John Lewis but with houses?

I like that idea mini smile

MiniTheMinx Thu 17-Jan-13 22:54:51

yep smile if property was owned collectively it would foster co-operation and democracy. That's the point at which you know whether we have lost our humanity or whether we can find it again. Same with the workplace.

Chandon Thu 17-Jan-13 22:57:50

It sounds great, maybe, if you do not mind having no freedom at all to do what you want. A system with far reaching government control would require lts of government agents to check nobody is secretly bettering themselves, living more comfortably than others etc. It would be power to the bureaucrats, how utterly depressing.

Only people who have been free all their life are careless about what freedom really means.

AmberSocks Thu 17-Jan-13 23:02:38

i dont want to live in a house that the government owns,i want to live in a house i own myself that has as many bedrooms as i see fit?

Fair enough amber. If you changing your mind on that would mean that everyone was housed fairly and no one was in an inadequate living environment would you change your mind?

MiniTheMinx Thu 17-Jan-13 23:27:03

CloudsAndTrees only under capitalism do we need the rich to buy our labour and the products of our labour. And even then not all of us are needed. Just this week another 16,000 plus have been added to the dole que.

Under feudalism it was worse but of course the loss of freedom was the price for no unemployment.

I really rather hope that something better can come out of this worsening crisis, something more human. We have been travelling in the right direction. What I described above, collectivised work places and housing and increased democracy is actually communism smile Big states, totalitarian regimes and huge bureaucracy has no place in it.

sydlexic Thu 17-Jan-13 23:37:48

A communist is Someone who has fuck all and wants to share it with you.

Morloth Fri 18-Jan-13 01:37:27

Chandon 'Only people who have been free all their life are careless about what freedom really means.' Spot on.

No system will every result in 100% fairness, because life isn't fair.

CabbageLeaves Fri 18-Jan-13 06:16:36

grin sydlexic.

TheFallenNinja Fri 18-Jan-13 06:35:40

Hmm, depending on the state for my standard of living accomodation, not sure about that.

MiniTheMinx Fri 18-Jan-13 09:13:00

Years ago, talking to an elderly lady who had been given a council house after the war, she said that once every month or so a rep from the council would inspect the houses inside and out. They were permitted to paint inside but they were given a choice of three colours. The council women also came in and moved all the furniture away from the walls.

flurp Fri 18-Jan-13 10:51:28

"I'd love to see this country lose its obsession with mortgages. The second you leave school, the race is on to get more and more into debt. It's insane."

Absolutely!! I don't think we should abolish ownership, but give people reasonably priced alternatives, particularly in expensive areas and stop greedy landlords buying up property to charge extortionate rents, making money from those who can't afford to buy themselves.
Rents should be capped at an affordable limit whether it is social housing or private and there is no way that private renting should cost more than a mortgage.

Abra1d Fri 18-Jan-13 11:29:06

My experience of community projects has been that the hard-working do most of the graft and the idle take, usually moaning all the time.

piprabbit Fri 18-Jan-13 11:51:00

Having seen a few programmes about people who have chosen to try and build houses as a community, the problems seem to be related to:

1) sharing equally - and who gets to decide what is fair.
2) people not pulling their weight.
3) decision making slowing to a grinding halt as everyone needs to be involved in the process.
4) it always excludes the elderly and disabled because they are least able to contribute in ways that look fair to other members of the community, this also applies to people who become ill or who have small children (esp. single parents).

The only things that gets people through is that there is a clear timescale, after which it will be over, and the fact that they are all passionately committed to making the process work.

Trying to change the way an entire nation approaches housing would have no end point to aim for, probably not in any sort of reasonable timescale. Dear god, it's been hard enough and taken many, many years of gentle persuasion to shift from analogue to digital TV. When you add in the fact that many people would be actively opposing the change (to the point of civil unrest in all probability), I really can't see this happening.

I, for one, would be barricading my door and waiting for the police to come and physically evict me for the greater good. Which would make great headlines news...or do you think that reporting on the evictions should be state-controlled to prevent panic?

chris481 Fri 18-Jan-13 12:06:55

Biggest flaw in the OP (which has been admitted) is that pricing shouldn't be on space.

So I'll assume pricing will be a market price, i.e. when a property is vacated, whoever is willing to pay the most rent gets it next. If that's the case then all the "this is communism" objections fall away and essentially we are left with two things.

1. No private ownership. This doesn't really matter, may actually be a good thing. Shouldn't make much difference to your cost of housing, on average over the long term, and will prevent some of the problems that house price volatility causes. I own a paid-for home in London and do not like having such a large proportion of my financial eggs in that one basket. If I could sell my property with the right to rent it back for the rest of my life, I would be tempted.

2. Compulsion to move (or get someone to move in) if you are under-occupying. A bit draconian, but not the end of the world. Doubt it would make a long-term difference to housing shortage.

DontmindifIdo Fri 18-Jan-13 14:04:32

the problem with alot of these assumptions are based on the assumption that the majority of people would be better off under this system than otherwise, that everyone who would be slightly better off would be happy to sacrifice the possiblity of being even better off in the future under the old system, that governments are the best way to allocate any resource.

I can't imagine a housing system run by the state would be anywhere near as good for end users as one run by individual making choices (doing the bulk of the work themselves), landlords, letting agents and banks for the majority of people, the only possible improvement would be lower monthly housing costs for some people, and limited increased security (although arguably, you are less secure if you only have one source of housing). Think about it, only one landlord for everyone - if you have a problem with it, where else will you go? No longer will the individual have any control over their home envirornment.

When we were renting, if my boiler broke, I could contact my landlord directly to get him to fix it or the letting agency. I didn't have to deal with any beaurocracy to get it fixed. If they didnt deal with it in a timeframe I wanted, or pissed me off too much, I had the option of moving to a different landlord/agency with minimum fuss. Before moving in, time frames for repairs could be discussed, and there was variation with different letting agents and different rent levels. If everyone has the same landlord, you have to put up and shut up with problems.

We own now, if the boiler breaks, we arrange to fix it ourselves, we have control over it, we can book when we want someone to come round, we get to pick which repair company we use. Yes we have to pay for it, but the upside that I could easily have 40 years of living rent and mortgage free once the mortgage is paid off makes that worth it compared to renting a similar sized property.

I also have a problem with any society that suggests what I have should be based purely on someone else's decision about my level of 'need' not on my level of 'want' or my ability to pay. Perhaps it's because since leaving uni, I've always lived in places that under council rules would be 'under occupied' - while I could always have coped with smaller properties, when it's been entirely my choice, I've chosen to have less disposable income and more space in more expensive areas. I've worked with woman who've made different choices, lived in much smaller places in rougher areas, then had Jimmy Choo shoes on their feet and prada handbags on their arm with the difference.

DontmindifIdo Fri 18-Jan-13 14:09:18

oh and in my experience, any sort of 'shared living and ownership' system based on just need that's worked, has only worked on a small scale. Perhaps that's because the people who are benefitting from the sacrifice of those who are most able (and under a 'winners/losers' system would be winners and have more) can see the people who are benefitting. It's much easier to give to someone in need you know than to facelessly pay tax.

I might take a hit in my lifestyle for a family member or a friend, but some faceless unknown family living in the other end of the country? Nope. Unfortunately, most people feel the same way.

ukfirestorm Sat 19-Jan-13 00:32:16

Truly, its why those that get winter payments that dont need them dont return them to "the state", whereas if they could choose where they went they might, the idea of the undeserving and deserving poor and charity still seems pervasive.

AmberSocks Sat 19-Jan-13 11:18:55

Jazz no i wouldnt change my mind.

Fair enough amber. Quite selfish though.

AmberSocks Sat 19-Jan-13 19:03:14

its selfish to expect the entire country to stop aspiring to anything because you havnt gt the brains or motivation to look after yourself or your family.

I dnt want to be looked after by the government,i dont want them to own my house,to educate my kids or tell me what to eat or if i should be vaccinated,i make my own mind up.

It seems like most people on here just want their arse wiped for them.

mikey9 Sun 20-Jan-13 10:17:07

It is great to at least see this being discussed here. Pity people can't just take it as a discussion (i.e. exchange of points of view - or even just ideas) - instead of resorting to slagging systems off - assuming that there are only two.

There are plenty of othe mixed models out there - Sweden and the Netherlands are quoted in the thread - Germany has quite a different model too - none of which appear to be Communist or Totalitarian last time I checked.

It does seem that we in Britain are VERY insular on so many things and are not prepared to consider that some other countries perhaps have a bit better way of doing things.

Certainly the system WE have appears very corrupt (ther very critisism of the Communist approach (tax evasion, expenses fiddling) and immoral (rent exploitation, redicuous housing costs, tax avoidance).

We are very priviledged to (almost) own our own house - after 20+ years each paying mortgages - but it doesn't meant we look down on those who have not had our luck/opportunities and can't see that there are many in far worse circumstansces who could benefit from a different system.......

Maybe a bit of compassion for people in other circumstances may be a good thing - although I think this idea was outlawed in 1979 by somone who's name I forget.

DontmindifIdo Sun 20-Jan-13 10:46:33

I think Amber has a good point, it's one thing asking people to accept there should be a safety net for people who can't provide for themselves, thats significantly different than saying because some people can't provide for themselves, you should take away the chances and options from everyone in order to make those who can't provide for themselves equal with everyone else.

There is scope for some changes in the current system, but thats very different to removing all other options. It's like saying the solution to private schools out performing state ones isn't to improve /increase the access to good state education, but to close all state schools and ban home schooling. The solution to some schools being over subscribed and others under subscribed is to remove choice from parents and make them only be allowed to apply for the closest school. That's not fixing the problem, that's just removing the choices for those who can afford/want something better.

It's not just to do with motivation though amber. There are people who aren't adequately housed through no fault of their own, stuck in a catch 22 of renting where the rent is too high to be able to afford to move (deposit fees etc) but the housing isnt up to scratch so isn't ok to stay.
We actually own our own home so I'm not one of those unmotivated people you assumed I was. If though there was a way (not necessarily via the government owning) everyone would be adequately housed and we would have security in that system too then I would give up my house. Yes it'd be a wrench but worth it I feel.

Dontmind - I see what your saying and agree that narrowing options isn't necessarily the right way to go (I don't know what is I'm just thinking out loud). However I don't agree that wealth should equal more opportunities. Why should money have bearing on education or housing accessed? Surely if you want to reward people it should be based on time and effort, achievements not on money?

Does a footballer deserve better quality of life than a nurse?
I just don't think money necessarily = deserving

DontmindifIdo Sun 20-Jan-13 14:38:54

Jazz - but those people are the minority. Your plans involve cutting the standard of living for a large percentage of the population plus taking away the possiblity of improvement for an even larger group just to slightly improve things for a small number.

Increasing social housing makes sense, as does generally allowing more house building to better match supply and demand (because while some people get stuck in inadequate housing, it was often not acceptable to start with, just they didn't have many options when they first moved).

Very very few people in bad situations are there purely by accident without having made any bad decisions along the way, you would still get people making bad decisions with larger number of coucil properties and better tenant rights.

However its just a little tinkering at the edges, not total overhaul that's needed.

cantspel Sun 20-Jan-13 14:46:42

No way would i give up my house for the greater good.

I have my house because i made different choices to others i grew up with. Where they went out and spent money having fun i worked 2 jobs and saved. I didn't choose to have children young like some of my friends as i wanted to buy a house first and it wasn't easy as when i first bought we had interest rates of 15% and then the first property crash so no i didn't make a load of money of my first studio flat when i traded up to a 1 bed flat. I lost money but as i didn't have a family i could carry on working 2 jobs.
I started small with a studio, then a one bed flat then a house. When i was ready to start a family i sold up and bought again in a cheaper area miles away from friends and family.
No one gave me a pot of money to help and when i met my husband he was still living with his parents and had debts. Nor will he or i ever be high earners.
I would defend what we have built up between up to my last breath as my family comes before any nameless faceless mass.

DontmindifIdo Sun 20-Jan-13 14:58:29

Well now Jazz, you are talking about scrapping capitalism all together, not just tinkering with it, what would you replace it with?

A footballer earns more than a nurse because a) his labour is worth more (a top player makes his club a lot of money, why shouldn't the person who created the wealth get some of it as well as the shareholders?) and b) a top player has very rare skills, very few people have the talent and ability to make it to the top in football (remember the bulk of professional footballers will not earn dramatically more than a nurse) and c) it is a very insecure career. Your playing days are at best over by 40, most far younger, one injury which would in any other career not be a signifiant problem,will end your career.

The bulk of people don't want a different system. While most would like safety nets for those who the system fails, they don't want it scrapping all together.

DontmindifIdo Sun 20-Jan-13 15:03:02

BTW - Taking away the option of getting something better if you've got more money doesn't improve it for everyone else. Usually taking away competition and taking away a clear comparable alternative to judge against makes things worse IME.

Well true I guess as capitalism is shite!
I mean it works for us and lots of people but it doesn't work for everyone. It's a society based on greed (of which I am also guilty of at times).
I cannot be the only person that would sacrifice some so that all could gain?
There's more to life than stuff.
Footballer v nurse was perhaps a bad example as they both need skill however there are plenty of people who earn lots and do not a lot (like people who live off of inherited bank accounts interest) v a hard working teacher or builder etc.
The hard workers aren't always rewarded in this system and that is unfair. But that's kind of an aside to the housing issue. more housing needs to be supplied and at a fairer price - how would you go about achieving that?

Morloth Sun 20-Jan-13 21:02:36

Are you willing to start a civil war to implement this system. Because Amber (and I) are not alone in our selfishness.

No morloth.

Morloth Sun 20-Jan-13 22:10:23

There will be war eventually anyway.

It will be when the people in the middle have had enough.

The vaaaaast majority of people are in the middle. People at either end are not numerous enough to really be the cause of massive change.

Right now, most people have 'enough'. They have adequate housing and food etc.

When that changes you have a revolution. So when enough Jill & Joe Bloggs can't afford to put a roof over their heads and feed their two kids, that will be the time for this sort of thing to be implemented.

History shows it has to get a whole lot worse than it is before it gets better.

I hope not war, change yes but not war.
I'm in the middle and I want change.

lisianthus Sun 20-Jan-13 23:59:27

JazzAnnNonMouse What you call "greed", other people call hope. Hope of something better is what keeps many people working and striving to provide for their families, put something away for their old age, or just save up for that new car or holiday. Different people have different priorities too. As Cantspel points out very eloquently, to some people, it is WORTH giving up the chance to go out, to have an easy time as a young person in order to have security for their old age. For others, they prefer to look back on a fun youth nostalgically, and let the cards fall where they may for their old age.

You know, whole countries - the US, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, were populated based on the ethos that if you worked hard, you could build a better life for your family. Of course it didn't work out perfectly (or even well) for everyone, but it worked out well enough for millions of people to put themselves through hell getting there and working hard for years to make a better life. You can't blame "society". Society is people. Individual people with different aspirations and needs. A one-size-fits-all panacea imposed on society from above will not work and cannot work.

Just ask one of my ex-neighbours, an old Palestinian guy, what happens in a country when the government comes with guns and tanks to throw your family out and bulldoze your home because someone else "deserves" it more.

Morloth Mon 21-Jan-13 00:06:43

Yes, you want change but you are doing OK aren't you?

When you can no longer afford the necessities you will more than 'want' change, you will demand it with violence if necessary.

That is the way it goes.

The people on the top don't need to change anything and the people on the bottom have no power to change anything.

While the majority of people are OK, then nothing much will happen.

What are you actually willing to do to force a change?

Tallalime Mon 21-Jan-13 01:09:38

I am always a little confused by the notion that 'humanity' is linked to selflessness or an ability to care about the masses more than ourselves as individuals or as small communities.

Historically or geographically speaking I can't really think of any examples of a decent sized population that operated/operates with 'for the good of the many' in mind. Of course there are individuals or movements that do, but people? People are like any other animal when it comes down to our base nature. We want to 'survive' ourselves, our family, our 'village'... whatever. If that means taking resources from someone else and leaving them worse of, so be it.

It's not particularly palatable but realistically survival of the fittest is at the core of human nature (as with all animals) I think blaming the more selfish side of humans on 'society' is a smoke and mirrors. We are society, if we were naturally inclined to be selfless as a species, we wouldn't need to be having these discussions.

And I am selfish and I wouldn't give up my owned house for equal rent for everyone, and I absolutely aspire to a bigger better house - it's the main reason I bother working!

I also aspire to a bigger better house. But doesn't that seem wrong when you look at 'the faceless masses'? I just can't help thinking those faceless people aren't any less 'people' than me. sad
I guess part of it is guilt that yes I am doing ok. I do wonder how long that ok will last though.

BadLad Mon 21-Jan-13 05:14:29

Does a footballer deserve better quality of life than a nurse?

In my opinion, not in the lease, but I don't begrudge the footballer his extortionate salary. Because I don't contribute anything to the football industry. If the Chelsea owner wants to waste his money paying these fat salaries to his players, that's his business.

Apart from that, I feel like applauding all of flatpackhamster's posts in this thread.

Morloth Mon 21-Jan-13 05:17:32

So what are you actually going to do?

It is easy to talk, if you really actually cared you would be doing something.

As I said, nothing will actually happen until enough people are personally affected.

It is human nature, you are as selfish as the rest of us, if you weren't you would be actively sharing your personal wealth and living on the poverty line in order to support as many people as you could.

I am not saying you are doing anything wrong by the way, but it is a bit rich to want everyone else to hand over their stuff whilst you are continuing to benefit just as they are. Why don't you get started on a fairer distribution of wealth? Or does seeing your children fed and clothed and housed seem more important? Just like it does to everyone else on the planet.

lisianthus Mon 21-Jan-13 07:51:15

I expect you probably meant it as an offhand description, but "faceless masses" does key into my impression that you are seeing people as an amorphous grey lump who must have things handed down from on high for their Own Good. It's the one-size-fits-all thing again. All these people are individuals and different. They want many different things, specific to their own likes and circumstances.

I think Tony and Dave have done enough damage to our Magna Carta rights recently without furthering it by taking away property rights from people.

Something else that occurs to me is that it is kind of annoying when you talk about people who don't want to lose their homes for the Greater Good as "selfish". If they were resisting having their homes taken away because the government wanted to build an airport or a motorway, or they were simply protesting the effect of another runway at Heathrow, say, on their quality of life, would you still call them selfish? The facilities would benefit and be used by far more people than the people who were protesting about them.

I see faceless mass as someone else had by in a negative way so I was just using the same term but my own take ie that the mass are also people and deserve just as much as you.

I guess I decline myself as in the middle as we own our house therefore have security but in terms of monitory worth dh is currently a student engineer so we are actually classes as on the poverty line.
We do what we can to help others, unfortunately it's more to do with recycling and passing on dds clothes than cash st the moment but when dh qualifies and gets a better wage we will be able to up our contribution.

I've already said that I don't know the answers and that I'm thinking out loud, that's why I didn't say 'the country should do this' but 'I wonder what would happen if'.
This was never about forcing people out of their homes, bulldozing houses or starting a totalitarian regime!
I am surprised though that even if you were guaranteed the same security you have with ownership you wouldn't give up owning so that everyone else could be housed.
It's true though that everyone is an individual - perhaps more community projects would be good - there was a special grand designs where a group of people were funded to build houses - those houses were then theirs until they died I believe - They paid rent but much reduced and the ha have (eventually) more housing in the area. This seemed like a good idea if people wanted to do it. It would be good if more opportunities like this around as options IMO. What do you think of these schemes?

*said

Morloth Mon 21-Jan-13 09:01:34

People can make any private arrangements they want.

The problem is that these sorts of ideas grow into 'forcing people out of their homes, bulldozing houses or starting a totalitarian regime!'

The thing about freedom is that some times it means freedom to starve and die.

It wouldn't be guaranteed security though, it would be state controlled, the state is people and people take kick backs and people put themselves first - it wouldn't work any better than the current model.

cory Mon 21-Jan-13 09:08:26

The way the Swedish housing market works is that a great deal of property is owned by housing associations, some council managed, some cooperative and some private. Some flats are rent only, some are mixed rent and buy (so you buy a share in the flat, but then pay an annual rent). Rents are fixed in advance so you can't suddenly be thrown out to make room for a higher paying tenant. Noone has bulldozed anyone out with guns and it's not going to happen either. It is not a communist scheme and it is not based on coercion.

What it does rely on, though, is a sufficiently high demand. Because the blocks of flats tend to be well built and fairly comfortable and there is little status attached to the concept of being a home owner, there are enough customers to make it worth running these housing associations.

When I was a student in Sweden, the head of my department and all the professors lived in flats: one lecturer owned a house but that was not because his status or pay were higher but because he liked DIY.

It is difficult to see how such a change of attitude could come about in this country.

That's true morloth but it might work for more people than the current?

What would you suggest instead?

I really like how the Swedish system sounds - why do think it wouldn't work here?

cory Mon 21-Jan-13 09:11:45

Tallalime Mon 21-Jan-13 01:09:38
"I am always a little confused by the notion that 'humanity' is linked to selflessness or an ability to care about the masses more than ourselves as individuals or as small communities.

Historically or geographically speaking I can't really think of any examples of a decent sized population that operated/operates with 'for the good of the many' in mind. Of course there are individuals or movements that do, but people? People are like any other animal when it comes down to our base nature. We want to 'survive' ourselves, our family, our 'village'... whatever. If that means taking resources from someone else and leaving them worse of, so be it."

Don't you think there is plenty of evidence that human beings are capable of perceiving our village as at least the size of our own country? Think of the sacrifices people went through during the last war. If people could be convinced that social and environmental stability are crucial to the survival of their country, then might not that have a similar effect? Isn't that how the democratic welfare societies have actually been run over the last 60 odd years?

CloudsAndTrees Mon 21-Jan-13 09:16:53

Does everyone deserve the same though? Because 'everyone' includes rapists, child abusers, violent thieves, as well as people who just don't give a shit about anyone else and wouldn't be prepared to do a days work if they could have the same standard of living thanks to other people's work.

I don't believe that everyone does deserve the same. They deserve 'enough', but not the same.

I wouldn't give up ownership so that everyone could be housed, and that's not because I'm selfish, it's because I already contribute time and money for the greater good in the form of voluntary work, taxes and financial charitable donations. I might have the same security if housing was distributed in the way you are suggesting, but what about everything else you would be taking away? Like a sense of achievement, pride, the freedom to have a property that best suits me, my work, and my family? Don't get me wrong, my owned house is tiny and I think my family would be much better off with a bigger one, but actually, I don't want a bigger one that isn't our own. If the government was going to give me a home, then I'd be entirely dependant on them. I would have nothing to sell if DHs work took us to another country. That would leave us less secure than we already are.

I agree that more community projects would be good, for more reasons than just nice housing for everyone. But in a free country I expect the right to be able to choose the cause I help for myself. It works better that way because if people are working towards something that actually care about, their work is likely to be more efficient and more productive.

You make a good point cloud.
Community projects could also allow people to learn new skills on the job - might make them employable/want to be employed.
I really liked the grand designs special - I thought it really worked but I havnt seen anything like that happening anywhere?

Morloth Mon 21-Jan-13 12:42:59

I don't suggest anything, the current arrangement suits me fine.

'let them eat cake'

DontmindifIdo Mon 21-Jan-13 14:38:21

'let them eat cake' - no more "OK, well if you can't afford bread yourself then via our taxes we'll provide basic bread for you, but that doesn't mean we should ban all cake production for other people who can afford it"

Morloth Mon 21-Jan-13 21:01:38

Once again, what are you personally doing going to do? Not the government, not everyone else you?

If the answer is talk then you are munching on the cake with the rest of us.

Do something yourself instead of expecting the government to sort everything out.

You know that great big lump of poor people you are worried about? I would place a large bet that many of them would fight this sort of thing just as hard. Because it is part of human nature to want to 'win', if there is no competition there can be no win. As you say they are people to and as liable to selfishness and corruption just the same as you and I.

If people can't look after themselves, then absolutely society should provide for them, no question, no hesitation, not baseline provisions either, we should look after each other. What we shouldn't do is hand over a basic human need I.e. shelter to some all powerful 'government'. If that thought doesn't fill you with dread then I suggest you hit the history books and have a look at what happens when the 'government' takes control of peoples day to day lives.

If you think the current arrangements are inadequate then DO something.

flatpackhamster Tue 22-Jan-13 11:29:00

cory

Don't you think there is plenty of evidence that human beings are capable of perceiving our village as at least the size of our own country? Think of the sacrifices people went through during the last war.

This is often what the 'hand over all your liberties' argument comes down to. It happened during the war, so it can happen again.

The reason it happened during the last war is that there was an outside aggressor. Humans are inherently tribal. Give country A an outside threat and they'll work together to defeat it, as long as that threat exists, then they'll start arguing with each other again.

I've said before that the only way you'd get humanity working together is to have an alien invasion.

If people could be convinced that social and environmental stability are crucial to the survival of their country, then might not that have a similar effect?

You have to provide a threat to achieve it. Orwell's "1984" has the fake war, for example. In modern times, we're threatened with 'climate change' by ecomentalist movements and big business to force us to change our ways.

Isn't that how the democratic welfare societies have actually been run over the last 60 odd years?

I'm not even sure what a democratic welfare society is. Is it a country? Is it a political system? An economic one?

BadLad Tue 22-Jan-13 23:57:19

There's nothing wrong with "wondering what the country would be like if nobody owned property" and the government controlled all housing, as the OP asks. In the same way, having Christmas every day sounds like fun until you give a second's thought to it and realise that it is totally unworkable. So it's fine to wonder about these extremely awful ideas, as long as nobody takes the idea remotely seriously.

SinisterBuggyMonth Wed 23-Jan-13 00:55:20

I grew up on a council estate in the 80's. Most of my neighbours worked, there was a good mix of families, single parents and pensioners, it was a new estate but had a friendly atmosphere. I think this is close to the ideal is thinking of.
People started buying there houses and buildin f off fences and extensions. Then selling and moving on. Nice kids stopped playing out on the streets, the local shop shut down. its now mostly private, buy to let or HA, when the older HA tennants died the houses were let to people who dont work and have antisocial behaviour problems and are due to the huge lack of social housing. The estate still looks nice but there is nothing of the community spirit it started with.

I hate it that people have just jumped on calling this communisn as a blamket response. As if capitalism is the only answer. In regards to housing capitalism has done huge damage to this country and future generations, and nothing is being done to reverse it. Affordable housing is currently only availabe to those in severe need, the vulnerable. Affordable housing should be available for people on low to medium incomes.

theodorakisses Wed 23-Jan-13 08:33:35

Expensive, imagine all the inheritance taxes and capital gains tax that would not be available to pay for the maintenance.

Sinister - youve hit the nail on the head smile

DontmindifIdo Wed 23-Jan-13 11:57:48

As I said upthread about the state not being the most efficient at managing problems than private individuals/private businesses, how about this thread as an example - the OP is stuck because she's a council tenant and has to go through someone logging calls, waiting for the approved repair team to come out and stuck with not heating in this weather.

When our boiler broke, we did have to sort it ourselves, but we had the freedom of calling round as many different firms as we could until we found someone who could work within our time frame. It's not just the security of the property itself that's appealing to own rather than rent, but also the security of being in control of what happens in that space. Yes we had to pay fo the repair ourselves, it didn't just come out of our mortgage payment, and eventually we'll have to replace our boiler, but the fact that in little over 15 years time we'll own our house outright and have no mortgage or rent to pay (and fully expect to live in that house for another 20years at least after that) makes up for having to pay the running costs now.

BadLad Thu 24-Jan-13 03:34:15

I hate it that people have just jumped on calling this communisn as a blamket response

People calling it communism has been very convenient for the OP. Look at flatpackhamster's response to the OP's suggestion that she would give up her house if someone else would benefit more from it. The OP ignored the points in it and instead jumped only on the fact that flatpackhamster had called it communism.

Affordable housing should be available for people on low to medium incomes.

I don't think anyone would disagree that the lack of affordable housing is a problem, and it is well worth discussing. It's just that the discussion isn't worth taking seriously when it includes farted out soundbites like the government controlling all housing.

Morloth Thu 24-Jan-13 07:27:42

Do you like the current Government in the UK OP? You voted Tory? Or do you hate them?

Because if your plan were to be followed you would have to be OK with the Tory party deciding who gets what and who pays what and where people can live and when they have to move.

Not just as Landlords (i.e. taking rent), but actually controlling people's movements.

DontmindifIdo Thu 24-Jan-13 08:12:28

Agree with badlad that lack of affordable housing is a problem, but there's lots of ways that the prices of housing and rents could be reduced while maintaining property rights for everyone else, it's just their property would be worth less.

raising interest rates would probably take a lot off house prices. Building a large number of properties (both council and private) therefore increasing the supply of properties, greatly limiting immigration to reduce the competition at the bottom end of the property rental market, would all have a downward pressure on houseprices and rental prices. Question is, would any of these things be better for the country as a whole, not just better for the small minority of people at the bottom of the housing /rental 'ladder' who are struggling.

And Morlth is right, the idea of only one landlord for the whole country, deciding who is and who isn't entitled to property, the size and scale of property is really very worrying. It wouldn't be down to "can you pay and do you want it?" as the current system is, but based on value judgements made by a civil service about who is entitled and more worthy of it. There's a house for sale at the end of our road for £600k (tis gorgeous), anyone - regardless of personal history, criminal record, education levels, family size, political preference, religious belief, social standing, amount of charity work done or socially usefulness of job can buy it if they've got/can borrow £600k. It's bugger all to do with the rest of us in the street or the government or the rest of society. It's a private transaction based purely on who can pay at the right time. I prefer that the the alternative.

flatpackhamster Thu 24-Jan-13 08:30:50

DontmindifIdo

Agree with badlad that lack of affordable housing is a problem, but there's lots of ways that the prices of housing and rents could be reduced while maintaining property rights for everyone else, it's just their property would be worth less.

raising interest rates would probably take a lot off house prices. Building a large number of properties (both council and private) therefore increasing the supply of properties, greatly limiting immigration to reduce the competition at the bottom end of the property rental market, would all have a downward pressure on houseprices and rental prices. Question is, would any of these things be better for the country as a whole, not just better for the small minority of people at the bottom of the housing /rental 'ladder' who are struggling.

Raising interest rates during the credit bubble would have helped, but we would have to be quite careful now. I do think they need to go up though.

However any discussion of the housing shortage has to be carried out in the context of the issue of mass immigration, which OP is unwilling to do, for reasons which remain opaque. How can you manage housing without managing your population?

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