Govt intervention in the Australian housing market is the reason the price-income relationship is broken down under. Lessons for Seattle, certainly, but not a great example of a market not working - esp when banks are lending against the future value of a property. Looks a lot like the type of open-ended risk created by CDOs leading up to the US property-led recession of 2008. For more on the artificially high Aust property market:…
The "conventional wisdom" of city, county, and state planners was and is: Build less parking capacity and the problem of vehicle parking will magically go away." Good luck accommodating visitors from out of town, across the lake, those carrying more than is possible on Metro, and those who find the Metro "experience" unreliable and occasionally dangerous. Between severe weather and Holiday schedules, the absence of residential parking capacity is an abject and growing failure. If public transit is to fill the void of parking, transit must be: safe, clean, reliable, convenient, and inexpensive (if not free). There is no other way.
Seattle's a monument to reactionary planning. Better than some--by the grace of climatological and environmental desirability over any progressive determination.
Manson's death means one less contestant for the GOPKKK presidential nomination in 2020, and he had a real shot, too : (
@4: Tattoos on the forehead however, are more of a dem thing.
Yes, Texas10R, the great challenge facing our city that outweighs all other development considerations is the lack of on-street parking for when you have guests over. But hey, at least you're enough of a public transportation expert to be comfortable with proposing fare-free public transportation for when you do have guests over.
"Washington Is Too Cheap to Prepare for The Big One"

Washington has no money to invest into the future because our overlords are perfectly happy paying one the lowest tax rate that is the most unfair in the nation. They will say anything to keep it that way or in the case of unfunded tsunami preparedness, not say anything.
The Swastika is an ancient religious icon probably about 5000 years old originating in the Indian subcontinent. It was expropriated by the Nazis. Manson tattooed one on his forehead. I don't know the reason for his use of it other than the fact that he was an attention seeking madman.
@5 Do you prefer the whole face in orange perma makeup tattoo ?
@5, Tattoos on the forehead seem like more of an anarchist thing
Look to Austria, then, for a successful example of Government investment in housing.…
It’s fucking stupid to assert that housing supply has no impact on market price, and this handwavey disingenuous bullshit argument didn’t make it sound any less stupid, Charles.
The only solution is government intervention.

Care to elaborate? Or is this just another “let’s throw other people’s money at it for awhile”, strategy? That seems to be the fallback position on about every issue you come across.

Fine fine, I went back and re-read Charles’s post word-for-word, and of course, he didn’t assert what I said he did. I apologize.

What he did write was a very carefully-worded “rebuttal” of a goofball argument that nobody is making — that new construction is the universal and perfect and immediate solution to all housing affordability problems. I don’t think anybody thinks that. New construction takes time and could be mismanaged and people might not want to live there. (This last point is what was found in the Australian study that Charles used as his socialist “rebuttal”. Researchers Ben Phillips and Cukkoo Joseph found that building more and more housing doesn’t affect regional housing prices if people don’t want to live there. Duh.)

So, absolutely, government (or charity) intervention may be required as a stop-gap measure until more effective market-based solutions take effect. But don’t position that obviousness as some massive victory for Marxist economics, Charles.

For Charles, every piece of news on the business-pages is a victory for Marxist economic thought. Marxism is in a perpetual state of victory, but never becomes reality.

Conversely, every piece of news is evidence of the failure of Capitalism. Capitalism is in a perpetual state of failure, yet remains unfailingly real.

This way of seeing things, of considering the implied and ignoring the actual-- this is the way of the ideologue.
@13, They have a good thing going on in Austria, but between our neoliberal bozos in Olympia and D.C., their program as well as anything along the lines of Mitchell-Lama or Great Society programs for housing are a pipe dream in America.

I suspect Austria also benefits from tighter border and refugee controls.
Amusing that Baby Mugabe here has all the economic acuity in the world to create sustainable, quality, abundant, affordable housing in a major, complex market....

...Yet lacks the personal savvy to work his way out, after a decade at a free paper wrapper for escort services and weed advertising.
There is every piece of evidence that not building will lead to increased prices, however.
Developers have no incentive to overbuild to the point where downward pressure might be applied to rents and housing prices. To do so would reduce profits, which is the entire point of building in the first place.

You've missed the "competition" part of the basic understanding of How Capitalism Supposedly Works.

If we have Theoretically Optimal Capitalism, then supply should go up, and prices go down, until the profit to be made by the many firms competing with each other to build, sell, and rent homes drops below the average rate of return on capital investment. The situation you describe, of marketwide rent-maximizing behavior, should only come about when one developer (or cartel) obtains a monopoly in a given market.

I'm not suggesting things do work exactly the way they're supposed to, but they don't work the way you seem to think they do, either.
The cited paper's measure of housing shortage/surplus is the difference between home production and population growth (adjusted by household size). As the authors note, it's not a measure of "real demand." That is, it's tells us nothing about how many people may want to live in a place but can't because there aren't enough homes.

It's like saying there’s no shortage of seats to see Hamilton on Broadway because the number of people who attend each performance hasn't changed in over a year.

More explanation here:……
@12 - I'm truly curious, can you cite any situations in the US where there was "a corresponding decrease in the price of rents and homes" outside of a financial crisis, major economic depression, or town depopulating?

@14 - When have you ever seen or experienced rent or housing prices go down?

@17 - Capitalism is in a perpetual state of failure, yet remains unfailingly real.
Yes, it is real. It is really a place where 500k+ go bankrupt from medical bills every year, where economic inequality grows daily, where there is a serious homelessness crisis, a joblessness crisis (such that the govt simply stopped counting people who gave up looking for work), a shift to less stable part-time work generally, a rising maternal mortality rate, a despair-driven drug crisis, crumbling infrastructure, and a sense of anxiety for the future that elevated a human corporation (aka an authoritarian strongman) to the Oval Office.

It's working great!

All that, and yet Capitalism does not collapse.

How strange! It must collapse, surely? It must!
@24 Nearly 30% of healthcare costs are consumed by administration. Most of that is in answer to government regulation of healthcare, benefits and insurance.

If you believe the healthcare system has – for the past 40 years – been ANYTHING remotely like an expression of free-market capitalism, then you are sorely deluded.

Capitalism, free-market trade and democracy has done more in the last 10 years to deliver more of humankind out of disease, war and poverty than 200 years of government has ever imagined. Despite all your dorm-room belly-aching, and despite some glaring atrocities, the world is far more safe, prosperous, just, fed, healthy and secure than at any time in recorded history.……

Reporter: What's your opinion on how the French Revolution worked out?

Mao Tse Tung: It's too early to tell.

The Ottoman Empire stumbled along, dead and bloated, for a good 300-400 years before it collapsed.

Just because you're short-sighted and/or ahistorical doesn't mean Capitalism isn't on its last legs. It just has a *really good* PR Dep't.
@25 - "Has not yet", you mean. Rome didn't fall in a day, it took a century after it's economic troubles began in earnest. Surely even you can see the desperation of the wealth class in demanding Senators & Representatives vote for the "Trumpian Tax Deform & New Corporate Windfall" plan at pain of losing campaign financing -- and against the will of the majority of citizens. They can see the writing on the wall, but they can't stop themselves from making it worse anyway.

The complex rentier structures and economic warfare strategies used by the Washington Consensus (Fed, IMF, WB) that strip-mined third-world economies of money-value has quite clearly come home to roost and is now eating it's own children, strip-mining the poor, the students, and the middle classes with increasing debt loads & unrealistic expectations. With economic inequality at now historic levels, who knows what might happen next.

But capitalism has always required the iron fist of the state to make sure resistance --or alternate solutions-- are ineffectual and fragmented. If we ever have economic riots in the USA, you can be sure they will be systematically contained by military-trained & armed police. How long can that scenario go on? Who knows. Capitalism will be propped up by state violence, as long as possible, as it always is.

The real problem, of course, is that the constant "growth" requirement of a capitalist economy runs against the finite resources of the Earth, and a shifting climate that is also reducing the environment's ability to provide for our needs, as well neutralize & absorb industrial "externalities". Money is just a tool humans invented, but ultimately Nature bats last.

We have no widely-known alternative economic models designed to enable and support actually sustainable economic activity. A "no growth" type of economy that doesn't pit profit against people. An economy wisely designed for an (eventually) declining global population, sensible & regenerative environmental stewardship, the long-view of human existence, and a compassionate society.

Anyway, "collapse" might not look like what you possibly think it might. We can grow new economic structures now --and actually are--, so that when the "for-profit (only)" economy can no longer sustain control, new structures can step in to those areas.

Humans are creative. I'm optimistic.

It's not just me, though, is it? Skeptics of Marxism have been short-sighted and ahistorical for over 100 years now.

The non-collapse of Capitalism has been a mystery far longer than either of us have been alive! How can this be? How can this great mystery remain unsolved for so long?

But there is already an economic system that can do all the lovely things you mention: Marxism. And yet Marxism has not triumphed, despite all the people fervently believing in and even working to establish it.

This makes no sense! How can such an obviously superior system fail to take hold with the vast majority of people, especially the people who Marxism promises the most to?

What haven't the predictions come true yet? Why are all of the Marxists' predictions still about to happen any minute, just you wait, right around the corner, any day now?
@24 When have you ever seen or experienced rent or housing prices go down?

In Seattle, never, but population (or demand for you 101-types) has been growing the whole time, so you wouldn’t expect prices to necessarily drop as you build more housing (supply, how fun!)

Do I have examples elsewhere, then, where there were more buildings than people wanted, causing prices/rents to drop? How about Detroit? Or Fukushima, Japan? Or Barkerville, British Columbia? How about everywhere with high residential rental vacancy rates?

@28 all of the words

I did not read far enough before responding to @24 because if I had made it to @28 I would have just shaken my head and decided it inappropriate to argue with you.

@26 - Yes, you are correct. Capitalism has enabled a profound number of positive developments, those you mention, feminism, space flight, and so much more.

But at present, "humankind" and "the world" have benefitted on average. Some places are worse off now. By many measures the USA is disintegrating from within. Declining student test scores, declining longevity, increasing maternal/infant mortality, mass incarceration... on and on, key details tell the story that the USA is no longer "#1", and it's not "regulation" that is making things worse, it's the free hand given to private interests over the resources that should be used for the public good.

The center is rotting. And "for-profit" companies and "(allegedly) free markets" clearly don't have the solutions. People need a seat at the table, as we are 'stakeholders' in our collective future. The world's "richest country" currently lets its people die on the streets. There is no good reason for that. These troubles we are facing now & in the near future are definitely driven by intentional policies that work to the benefit of the wealthy few.

In France, with it's state-run socialist healthcare, any citizen can walk into any medical facility and get care w/o paying out of pocket, let alone run the risk of going bankrupt. Doctors do almost no paperwork there, unlike the USA. Single-payer is more efficient than our maze of private healthcare "industries" and workplace-provided health insurance.

It's absolutely insane to treat Healthcare as a for-profit business. It makes no sense at all. It's clearly not working here, the evidence is rampant. But capitalism has a huge weight of inertia --vested economic interests in continuing business as usual-- that prevents nimble redirection when we learn we're going down the wrong path. We can't make wise chioices, we have to wait for some mythical "free market correction".

The government --the public sector that allegedly responds to & reflects the popular will-- should have a major say in how the economy is structured and run. Regulations are protections for the majority. Leaving those decisions to the private sector alone is madness. This relentless faith in "freer markets" with "less regulation" fixing everything... is a blind faith that entities with only for-profit interests directing them... It is myopic at best.

Unfortunately, TrumpCo is doing their best to demolish any remaining trace of government working for "the public good". Already trust in gummint working for us, the majority, is in a deep trough. This regime will remove the rest of that and hand most everything it can to the self-interested, for-profit motivated, private sector.

I hope you enjoy the next economic recession, brought to you buy GOP tax cuts for corporations, and zombie "trickle-down" bullshit economics.

Think of this: What, if any, are our current cultural stories for the future? Do we have any? Is there any positive vision of what our future ought to be? "They promised us jetpacks... :>(" is all we seem to have. Without knowing where to place yourself in a history and a story for the future... what do you have? The hopelessness and despair --and increasing violence-- that we are seeing in America today.
@32 - Sorry!
@31 - How about Detroit? Or Fukushima, Japan? Or Barkerville, British Columbia?
Those are all economic (of nuclear) catastrophe situations. Not the sort of gentle rent price downward recorrection that is alleged to happen when more units are built than people need.

Rent doesn't go down outside of some sort of economic chaos scenario and massive value destruction.
@34 Okay, your reply here was sporting and great so perhaps I am just being grumpy.

To your meta-point about capitalism’s inherent inequality... would I prefer to live in a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode where everything is free and all citizens participate & contribute as they see best? Sure. But I see no evidence that, in today’s world with today’s constrained resources, anything but capitalism can incentivize innovation and reward productivity in a way that will make that Star Trek future a reality someday.

@30 - I think if you look at it again, you might see that Marxism isn't an "economic system:", it is an analysis and critique of capitalism, with descriptions of the major forces at play in an economy (at the time Marx/Engels wrote their books. Things are more complex now).

Why hasn't his predictions come true yet? I have no idea. Will they? IDK. Perhaps capitalism hasn't run it's course yet. Perhaps many other reasons. I'm not going to defend someone else's 100 year old treatise. The utility of Marxist economic analysis should be clear from it's staying power.

But then strawmen are made of straw.

Las Vegas is not an economic catastrophe zone, nor is St Petersberg, FL... both have seen declines in price and have significant vacancies, and both were overbuilt fairly recently.

Cause and effect? Maybe, maybe not-- but there are definitely plenty of non-disaster-area places in the US where a lot of homes were built a decade or two ago, a lot stand vacant today, and prices have fallen significantly from where they stood back then.

Perhaps you could make a case that Capital is merely a critique of Capitalism, and not a proposal for an alternate system. But even if we grant you that and reserve objections for the sake of argument, Capital is not the whole of Marxism, because it is not the only thing Marx put his name to.

You certainly can not make the same claim about The Communist Manifesto.

Marxism is more than a critique, and Marxist economists definitely work on and advocate a specific alternate economic system-- they don't just sit around predicting the end of Capitalism, coming soon now, this time it's for real, just one more piece of straw and I swear that camel is going to keel over for good this time.
“Washington Is Too Cheap to Prepare for The Big One: In fact, Washington is so cheap it will not pay $500,000 to complete a tsunami study. For this and other reasons, all of which can be tied to austerity, Washington, whose senate was run by the GOP until the election on Nov 7, is, according to K5 News, the least prepared for earthquakes on the west coast”. Irony: spending 500k on a tsunami study on an inlet when the big one occurs only to realize the money could have been spent on shoring up infrastructure. At least REI wIll be there to raise those tent prices when demand skyrockets. Is that snowpocalypse I smell in the air?
@39 - Fair point! Marxism is not my solution though. We can't solve the fundamental problems of capitalism with positive-interest currency.
@38 - Thanks! I'll look into those situations!

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