The Culture of Dependence
How to solve the foreclosure, homelessness, mortgage and
It is not surprising that a larger and larger proportion of the US
population is feeling increasingly powerless and dependent. It is also
becoming more and more evident to an increasingly large majority that
this is no accident.
How we got here
Like the drug addicts who cannot live without the daily fix from the
drug pusher, for which they would do anything, the 99% are feeling more
and more anxious about their very existence. Why? Because, like the
drug pushers, the providers of services, consumer goods and employment:
the corporations and the people that run them, have engineered a
society in which you cannot live without their "product". This is
accomplished by constant brainwashing (advertising and social
engineering) and when this fails, by passing laws that force people to
buy "products" (like insurance) that they otherwise wouldn't buy, or by
making the alternative so costly (in money, harassment or jail time)
that there is essentially no choice. To live in such a way, the
corporations are so kind as to provide a way by which the addicts can
sell their time in order to "earn" an intermediate form of "wealth"
that is immediately recycled into their pockets.
Government, as the proper subsidiary of the corporations that it is,
does its duty by taxing the individuals and thus insures that they
always will need "a job" in order to not be homeless (property taxes or
rent have to be paid), and to have the essentials to survive. In the
past, subsistence was possible in a much more self-sufficient manner,
but of course third parties (government and businesses) can't profit
from someone that grows her own food or barters with the local
community, so laws were passed (zoning, health, etc...) to prevent that
kind of self-sufficiency. With the only remaining option being the
purchase of food, energy, and other necessities from the corporations,
a job now becomes indispensable. This is sustainable as long as the
supply of jobs is plentiful, but this is no longer the case.
The Left-Right non-choice
The left and right wings of the corporate party in permanent power have
slightly different views on which they base the essentially one-choice
elections, but they both foster the permanent dependency of the lower
and middle classes on the "producers" who end up with all the riches
and power generated by everyone.
The left, under humanitarian pretenses, keeps people dependent on
government programs. This ensures that as soon as the corporations have
a need for low cost labor, there's an ample supply of people willing to
work for almost nothing. It helps to brainwash said individuals with
"protestant work ethic" guilt that keeps them in their proper place,
grateful that they are given a handout and even more grateful when an
employer gives them a job, for whatever pay and under any working
conditions. Furthermore, the provision of those government services are
usually outsourced to the very corporations that profit from the whole
economy. A very handy way indeed to procure tax funds to increase their
The right wants to dismantle all government services. No humanitarian
pretense required. People should be left on their own to starve and
thus be even more dependent on the "jobs" the magnanimous corporations
are willing to offer. Of course, all the laws that prevent the middle
and lower classes from being self-sufficient remain. We can't have
uppity individuals who have no need for a corporate job. The stated
goal of a corporation is to increase profit. Salaries are an expense.
The lower the salaries are, the higher the profit, thus the push to
eliminate minimum wage and child labor laws, co-opt unions and move
production to the lowest labor cost on earth.
It is no surprise that our supposedly democratic government is
resembling more and more the dictatorship of ownership, which is how
corporations are run. The political system, prevalent in the middle
ages, that functioned like this is back. We now live in a neo-feudalist
Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, income disparity and
extreme poverty have existed in close proximity. Of course, there has
been extreme poverty before that, but it was possible to be more
self-sufficient and since communities were smaller, the village was
available for support. It has been said that in modern society there
should be no need for charity. The system should be engineered so that
there is no need for it.
The Future of Employment
The current economic model is predicated on unlimited growth, which an
increasing number of people are realizing is not sustainable. Only a
few people are talking about the obvious incentives against employment
growth and, of course, politicians are only talking about how to
As mentioned earlier, payroll is an expense to be minimized. Still,
whatever product or service that the business in question produces has
to be manufactured and delivered. The obvious incentive is to use
technology. Robots don't make mistakes, don't need coffee breaks, don't
need sleep or vacations and can work 24 hours a day. Office work is
increasingly being done by computers with the proper software. Even
highly specialized occupations are being assisted and will eventually
be replaced by Artificial Intelligence (AI) software and specialized
robots, such as medical diagnosis and surgery. Much has been written
about these state-of-the-art tools and this is not the place to repeat
the praises of high technology. What matters to this argument is that
the incentive is there, plain for everyone to see, for technology to
replace labor. Jobs are not coming back. In the foreseeable future all
work that can be clearly defined will be done by computer: AI software
and robots. A little further down the line, the computers will even be
creating and designing the tools necessary for the next generation of
Where does that leave human
In the long term, when all the goods and services needed for everyone
to have a life with no unmet needs are available, all human beings will
have all the time available for worthwhile and fulfilling pursuits. In
the meantime, how can human beings leave the rat race of dependence?
A simple first step is to declare that certain basic needs are
individual rights, and that the property required to satisfy those
rights cannot be taken away by indirect means, such as failure to pay
taxes. Among those rights should be the right to water, food, clothing,
heat and shelter. The immediate objection is, of course, that these are
positive rights that require someone else to provide them, as an
individual without any material means cannot create land and the
materials to build a house. We no longer live in the pioneer days of
the open west. There are also the slippery slopes of "how much is
enough?" and "who decides?" The proposals below provide analysis of
these issues and many more ancillary questions.
Since water, food, energy and clothing are intimately tied to the
individual and are provided in this sedentary society at the location
of the main residence, or usually very nearby in the case of clothing,
these items will be discussed right after the main need, which is...
Two factors determine primarily where people want to live in modern
society: where the jobs are and "location, location, location", which
is a way of saying the desirability of a specific property. If the
first factor (job location) is taken out, many individual preferences
dictate choice. It has become apparent that many people like to live
near water (ocean, river, lake front) and thus the prices of property
there have risen. Great views have a similar effect. The law of supply
and demand: too many people want a few desirable properties and the
prices rise. If a house were to be a right, who determines who gets
what property? In the end, many factors determine where one chooses to
live. Right now, the primary determinant is wealth. If housing were to
be a right, the main questions are: Where? How big? and What procedure
to allocate? Subsequent questions: Moving? Maintenance? Renovation?
Before addressing the above details, a legal framework needs to be
established. Since a dwelling that is a right cannot be taken from an
individual, excuses such as failure to pay property taxes can no longer
be valid. Property taxes, which in effect are no different than paying
rent to the state, county or municipality would be abolished. A
taxation scheme based on income would need to fund what property taxes
now cover. It is ironic that a large part of the desirability of a
location is the quality of the local school system, and those are
funded by property taxes.
Property taxes in general make a mockery of the concept of private
property. If property taxes are acceptable, no one should be under the
illusion that private property exists. Stop paying the tax in question
and you will soon find out who really owns your property. For this
reason, the right to housing must be absolute. Either you live in a
home or you are homeless. No back-door trickery can be allowed, just as
the poll tax wasn't allowed to diminish the right to vote. The attempts
to take away rights by the powers-that-be one chip at a time are
numerous, and beyond the scope of this article.
Philosophically, taxes on all property should be eliminated. However,
only taxes on dwellings are relevant to the point of this article.
Furthermore, it can be argued that if only property taxes on housing
that is entered into the right-to-housing program are eliminated, it
will provide an incentive for voluntary participation.
Codes that restrict size would need to accommodate small sizes that are
appropriate for an individual. Additionally, restrictions that prevent
certain building practices and/or that require licensing should be
reconsidered since they discourage (via cost) or prohibit
do-it-yourself construction. Any building code should be outcome-only.
The resulting structure should satisfy structural integrity
requirements, but any requirement to depend on external paid
"professionals" is no more than a job program for said "professional"
and an impediment to self-sufficiency.
Permits should not be necessary, but even if they are, they should be
obtainable at no cost. The moment that housing requires payment of any
kind, whether it is a permit or a tax, the right to housing is
destroyed. Any payment, since it has to be earned in a "job"
essentially forces the individual into servitude to pay for what should
be a right.
For a similar reason, renting a dwelling is incompatible with the right
to housing. Even if the amount of the rent is paid by the government,
the tenant doesn't own the property and is therefore at the mercy of
the landlord. Furthermore, this transfer of taxpayer money is landlord
welfare. Not much different from corporate welfare.
Who pays for this "right"?
It has been argued that basic
income is a solution to this future of diminishing, and eventually
disappearing, employment. The right to housing is not dependent on basic income, or any other
income. However, just as basic
income, the right to housing comes, as all other rights, from the
political structure of the country, which in turn comes from the
consensus of the people. It thus should be considered a dividend
available to every resident, just like shareholders share in the
profits of a corporation. Unlike a corporation though, every individual
is limited to one share, or dwelling, of the national housing stock.
Given that people tend not to live alone, those that decide to live
together can combine their shares and live in a larger house. As
children are born, they too are assigned a housing share.
This is not much different from how everyone shares in other public
works, such as the Interstate Highway System and other aspects of the
country. Of course, the tendency in the last 30 years has been to
privatize as much as the business interests could get away with to
funnel the "usage fees" to their pockets, but "private profit, public
loss" and the merits of privatization is a subject for another time.
For this discussion, though, it is important to note that any such
"usage fees" only serve to make the people more dependent on corporate
jobs as accessing now-private services requires money.
Since land and housing resources are not unlimited, it is reasonable to
place some limits on size and a clear and fair allocation procedure. In
the current system, wealth is the primary, if not the only, limit. In
the new system, the limit can be set based on existing housing stock
or, for new housing on a size dependent on location, type of housing
and the average wealth of the country or region at the time.
Yet another bureaucracy?
Not really. Property records are already kept. There are
well-established procedures for all types of real-estate transactions
and activity. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is already huge
and deals with many issues that would become obsolete, like
foreclosures, mortgages and low-income housing. Even after shifting its
mission to manage the right-to-housing program, it is likely that its
size could be cut dramatically. Furthermore, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would become
obsolete. In light of the recent housing crisis, this would be good.
A properly thought out policy can be fair, not unduly cumbersome, and
better than the current system with its massive homelessness and
foreclosure problems. Appendix 1 proposes one such policy.
It is to be expected that those who profit from the current system will
vigorously oppose any change. In this case it is most likely to be the
debt profiteers. As has become obvious recently, debt is not good for
society. It appears that a consensus is being reached in that
direction. The main obstacle to this system becoming reality is the
status quo in politics, safely in the pockets of the banks. Hopefully
the social movement now under way will be able to overcome the special
Where one chooses to live is today mostly dictated by where one's job
is. Since the highest paying job will be less necessary when housing is
a right, more and lower paying jobs (possibly more satisfying) would be
available and be desirable, opening up larger areas to desirable
living. Still, it is likely that too many people would want to live in
specific areas. Now that the highest bid is not the only way to acquire
a home, how to find housing that would become the REAL property (as
opposed to being rented from the government via payment of real estate
taxes) of individuals as a right?
How do people look for a house? They check which houses are for sale.
Similarly, once the right-to-housing program is up and running, the
place to check would be the database at the FHA of all the houses that
are available. After a similar process to what is done today, the title
is transfered, without any exchange of money, and the new owner can
move in. If a house not yet in the program is for sale, the prospective
owner requests that it be included in the program, the purchasing
department of the right-to-housing program negotiates with the seller
and buys the house for inclusion in the program. Once that is done, it
is given to the new owner.
It is important to realize that the fact that no money was paid (once
inside the program) does in no way detract from the fact that title has
in fact been transfered. The new owner really owns the house. In fact,
because of the lack of property taxes, property rights would be even
stronger than today.
The mortgage crisis has left at least a million homes empty, possibly
up to 3 million (see this
article). All regions have been affected. The government could
purchase these empty homes for pennies on the dollar and thus start the
right-to-housing program. These homes would be given to qualified
non-owners. Possible preference could be given to those that have lost
their house to mortgage fraud or foreclosure.
Existing homeowners would remain in their current houses, the
right-to-housing program would pay off any outstanding mortgage and the
home would be owned outright by the resident and from then on be part
of the right-to-housing program. When such an owner desires to move
into another right-to-housing dwelling, his equity will be reimbursed.
For those that don't own currently and that are willing to move
(assuming that nothing is available locally) the vast surplus of "FEMA
trailers" used for hurricane relief, would be allocated to those people
and also become part of the right-to-housing program. While this is
sub-standard in most people's minds, it certainly is better than being
homeless and living on a subway grate, a tent or a homeless shelter.
For those that want to build, suitable land will be bought, subject to
the policy restrictions and entered into the program. Then the owner
can build, or have built, a minimal house with materials provided by
the right-to-housing program. Any addition beyond the basic unit (for
however many housing shares of the future residents) would be the
responsibility of the owner. This would be a bonus for the program
since it would be paid for privately and yet it would be part of the
house for future owners.
Eventually, the right-to-housing program will include enough units for
every adult in the country. Of course, this does not prevent anyone
with the means to purchase additional homes like it is done now, but
since everyone will be the rightful owner of a dwelling, the need to
rent will be very limited and the need for speculation will disappear.
The need for mortgages will also, thankfully, be a thing of the past.
While the cost of buying foreclosed homes, paying off mortgages, and
buying existing homes at appraised value would not be insignificant. It
would be much less than the trillions lost in the housing crisis bubble
and mortgage fraud crime spree. As this would be a one-time start-up
expense, possible sources of funding could be the hundreds of billions
to be recovered from the banks or existing funds already allocated to
the FHA for departments that would become obsolete.
Any house in the right-to-housing program can not be sold. It can only
be transfered to another individual or group as part of the
right-to-housing program. This can be done only voluntarily by the
owner when he/she decides to move to another house. The house then
becomes available for the next individual or family.
The destination house obviously has to be empty by choice of the former
owner. If a home is for sale and not previously in the right-to-housing
program, it can be entered in the program by outright purchase by the
right-to-housing agency and given to the individual that is moving.
For those that want to build with portable technologies (such as this
one), the house can actually be moved to a new piece of land.
If an owner has added to the current house at his own cost, a "merit"
could be given that would give him preference in cases of contention or
size mismatch for the next house. This is a way to reward investments
in the program.
If one of the occupants of a dwelling moves out, as after a divorce, is
it proper to force the remaining owner to move too? This is what
happens today in many divorces but it is twice as disruptive as it
could be. In divorce cases in particular, the court will have the final
say and if so ordered, the remaining owner could be forced to move out.
If not so ordered, he/she is now living in a house twice as big as s/he
might have gotten in the first place. Still, since the property right
is inviolate, it is not appropriate to force a move just on the basis
of too much space. In any case, the incentive to "sell" so that the
moving-out party gets half wouldn't be there.
In the case of an amicable move, all that would happen is that the
party that leaves will look for another house in the standard way.
A move from/to a right-to-housing dwelling involves no transfer of
money. Still, a first generation owner (one that has introduced his
house into the program) has some equity in it. When he moves out, this
equity is reimbursed.
A positive side-effect of this type of transaction is that the biggest
expense and uncertainty of moving is no longer an issue. Social
mobility will increase and be less stressful as speculative moves in
prices would be a thing of the past.
Maintenance, Renovation and
Everything decays in life. Since housing as a right cannot be dependent
on income, it is necessary to set up an infrastructure for the proper
maintenance of the housing stock. Just as it is not acceptable for
someone's right to housing to be taken away due to circumstances of
employment or illness, it is just as unacceptable that someone should
be rendered homeless because the home needs repair or was damaged by
whatever cause. Currently this is mostly done via insurance, but this
is inefficient and of course requires income, thus it is incompatible
with a right. The best way to maintain a house is of course by the
owner. Then the job is done right and with the pride of ownership.
Materials can be requested of the right-to-housing program/agency or
reimbursed after the fact. Non-owner maintenance has to be dealt with
carefully as it could easily become a job program for unscrupulous
contractors. Probably the most efficient way is to have a maintenance
department that, when needed, would repair any home in the
right-to-housing program. Of course there need to be disincentives to
prevent carelessness and willful destruction, but this is no different
from the problems insurance companies face.
Renovation, if it is not necessary, would be paid for by the owner.
Necessity could be another bureaucratic morass, but with clear rules,
not unlike what an insurance company would use to decide what to cover
or not, it should not be any more difficult. And because by definition
there is no profit involved in the right-to-housing agency, it should
be cheaper than if done by insurance companies.
Expansion, if needed because another individual has joined the
household, whether a child or adult, would be done and paid for by the
right-to-housing agency, or if there is no room for expansion, the
family can move to a larger dwelling.
For residential units in a building the maintenance fees would be
handled the same way as they are now and done by the right-to-housing
Just like is done currently, a right-to-housing home can be inherited.
However, the adult heir that inherits it can only keep one such home at
a time, so s/he can choose to move into that house and give up the
current one to the next owner, or keep the current one and let the
inherited one go to the next person that is interested in it. While
this might seem like expropriation, since the house was originally
given or built by the right-to-housing agency, it is only fair that it
goes to the next individual.
A child can inherit and keep it, if desired, until reaching 18 years of
age, even if the child still lives in the parental household.
If a home that is given up, whether the current residence or the
inherited one, was entered in the program by the individual in
question, the equity in the house is reimbursed. Here again, just
compensation is provided.
An inherited house that is not in the right-to-housing program, can be
purchased by the agency from the heir at the appraised value and become
the primary residence or it can be kept outside the program as a second
home. In the former case, just compensation was given to the heir in
As an additional incentive, the heir can appoint the person to whom the
house will go to. This way, stronger ties in the community can be
Will this create Ghettos?
Given that the right-to-housing program could start with foreclosed
homes, even if whole neighborhoods are empty, any kind of occupancy is
better that vacant homes. When vacant homes are evenly distributed
geographically, no specific area would be overly affected. Furthermore,
the homes are individually owned (pride of ownership), so they can't be
taken away under any circumstance. As the maintenance is taken care of
by the maintenance department, it is likely that the upkeep would be
better than is the case currently.
There are currently at least a million vacant homes, so it is obvious
that the housing stock exceeds demand, as demand is currently
calculated. Part of that surplus would be filled quickly when the
program is started, but it's likely that for an indefinite period of
time, maybe permanently, there will be houses that are not part of the
right-to-housing program. Those are likely to be the mansions of the
super rich. This is not a problem in the least. Since the purpose of
the right-to-housing program is to rectify the problems of debt,
homelessness, high cost of housing and dependence on external factors
for essential needs, it is squarely aimed at the 99%. Yet, it is
totally voluntary and can co-exist with the current system. In fact, it
is anticipated that the market for second homes will remain vibrant for
those that can afford it.
Because of the lack of property taxes on the primary residence,
stability and security will be absolute and not dependent on external
Housing is currently the largest expense that most people have. It
includes the cost of purchase (often artificially inflated), mortgage
interest and fees, insurance, maintenance, or rent. Even without
considering utilities (addressed next), all this would disappear,
causing the standard of living to rise dramatically in all areas where
the program is implemented.
Depending on what percentage of one's income goes towards these
expenses, entering the right-to-housing program would be equivalent to
a 25 to 75% raise, or a tax cut to zero since the income tax paid by
the lower classes is often less than what is spent on housing.
Related Rights: Water, Energy,
Just like dwelling maintenance, a right becomes meaningless if it is
dependent on money that has to be obtained by selling one's life to the
corporations. For that reason, water and sewer need to be subsidized
and free to the home owner.
The current way this is done is via municipal services. Unfortunately,
maintaining that infrastructure takes real resources, but providing
those services has become yet another profit center, especially when
they have been privatized. It is not proper that something as essential
as water and sewer services be left in the hands of private
corporations whose stated goal is to pad their bottom lines. When
possible the water distribution system and the sewer system need to be
brought back to their original purpose: provide running water and
sewer, not provide private profits. Everywhere that municipal services
have been privatized, the cost of the service has gone up and the level
of service down. As any economist will say, if a resource is free to
the user it will be wasted. Incentives need to be provided for the
proper use of the right to water. This can start with free installation
of water reclamation systems, such as this one.
By making such systems
part of the allowed renovation budget of the maintenance department,
all home owners will want to install them since it will diminish their
dependence on outside water, which will then become necessary only when
the rainfall amount and storage capacity have been surpassed. For areas
with insufficient rainfall, other self-sufficient mechanisms are to be
encouraged: wells, waterway pick up, etc...
For not very densely populated areas, especially where existing water
and sewer systems are not yet available, technology exists to purify
waste on a small scale so septic tanks should be considered.
Heat and hot water are essential for comfortable living. Luckily here
too technology exists to wean the home owner from the local electric
and gas utilities. With the proper incentive: systems paid for by the
maintenance department, the dependency on external energy will be
minimized. With a properly insulated home, again a free upgrade to the
home owner, there might not need to be any external energy required to
provide heat and hot water. Of course a home designed from the ground
up to be energy-independent, like this one,
would have no need at all
of external energy, so no dependence at all. Still, for existing
houses, whatever little external energy is required would be free to
the user. The right to electricity and warmth can not be taken away
because a particular home owner happens not to have enough cash.
In the old days, many people grew their own food or traded locally.
Today, thanks to zoning laws, lack of space and the food industry, many
people are food-insecure. As this is an absolute requirement of life,
it can be argued that food production is too important to be left to
outside interests, especially when those interests have their own
bottom line first and foremost in mind, as has been proven repeatedly
by unsafe additives, genetically modified food, manufactured food,
Every dwelling should be able to provide as much food as possible for
its occupants. Food production has always been labor intensive and the
main occupation of subsistence farmers. No one wants to go back to that
model. Here again, technology to the rescue. Hydroponic greenhouses,
whether in a backyard or a roof, or even in a sun room, can provide a
variety of vegetables with minimal human intervention if the food
production system is automated. The production of a balanced diet in a
small space involves details that are beyond the scope of this article,
but it is important to change the prevailing mind set that dictates
that food is obtained at the supermarket via payment of cash, that
first has to be obtained by selling one's life to the corporations.
Beyond what can be grown in the household, other local options exist:
co-ops, community gardens, dealing directly with local farmers, etc...
But it is important to keep in mind that if food is a right, it is the
prime candidate for the use of basic
income. It is not acceptable that anyone goes hungry in a cash
crunch. Luckily, government programs exist (ie: food stamps) but
everyone should be entitled to a basic supply of healthy food without
the attendant shame and means test.
Modern manufacturing techniques have made clothing extremely
affordable, at least the generic type. Luxury brands are of course
another story: you're buying a name. For the immediate future, clothing
is another prime candidate for basic
income. Eventually, it is conceivable that there could be in every
household a computer and cutting/sewing machines that could make
clothing to order. No more sweat shops run by multi-national
The right to education is here primarily because in the current system,
primary and secondary education are funded by property taxes. Since
property taxes are incompatible with the right to own the primary
residence, another way to fund education is required.
The first question that needs to be answered is: is it mandatory for
someone to have an income in order to educate her children? If not, the
funding of primary and secondary education has to come from general
(income) tax revenue. Those that are making money and paying taxes on
it would be funding the public schools. This is not much different than
it is now. Only the type of tax changes. If yes, then public education,
as it currently exists, disappears and other systems, like tax credits
can be used to allow the parents to educate their children in private
schools. Such a system is described here,
but for college and beyond.
If the public education system is funded via income taxes, the next
question is: at what level? Creating an income tax at the local level,
where property taxes are now administered and collected, would have the
least disruptive effect. Funding schools from state taxes brings
allocation issues, but this is already being done to address the
inequalities in wealth of different school systems. In the end all such
funding is a political issue, now and in any other possible future.
Education is a commonly accepted positive right. The right to housing
is no different. If this society can reach consensus in the
former, the latter is eminently feasable. The major impediment is those
that profit from the current system and their lackeys in goverment. The
Occupy Movement has recently
been targeting foreclosed homes and empty
buildings. This proposal addresses the same needs and has the potential
to radically change, for the better, multiple aspects of life in the
US. Naturally, extreme pressure is needed to affect change as radical
as this, but in light of the global awakening that is presently
happening, there is hope.
Appendix 1: Allocation policy
The current allocation policy is: "Money Rules". While this is
efficient at maximizing prices, it is the economic equivalent of the
law of the jungle. As has been proven, it also causes bubbles that
eventually burst. Still, the law of supply and demand cannot be
eliminated by decree. Is it possible to define a new way to
allocate scarce resources? If there were an unlimited supply, everybody
would want a waterfront mansion. But the supply is not unlimited.
Luckily the housing stock consists of all kinds of dwellings:
stand-alone houses, townhouses and condos, in large varieties. An easy
feature to quantify is size. Others are so subjective that they can
only be delegated to taste, and everyone's is different. This is good
to avoid contention. As long as the allocation policy and related
algorithms are clearly spelled out and understood, and applied evenly
without favoritism, they should be acceptable.
The search algorithm can present the user with an input by specific
address or by neighborhood and then lead the user to the "best match"
based on his requested location and number of shares/people that are to
live at that address. This is not much different from how one now
searches for houses for sale.
Gaming the system, at least in the important ways, should not be
possible, as all owners in the program are on record in the program
database, just like they are now in the county public records. For
instance, owning/living in two places (within the program) would not be
possible and raise an immediate red flag.
How to calculate the size of one share of housing stock, suitable for
one person's needs? An arbitrary area can be used (neighborhood, town,
county) and the average size calculated, divided by the average number
of occupants. This would then become the "one share", or the living
area (in square feet) for one person. This method has the advantage of
being area-sensitive: what is considered acceptable living space in
Manhattan is obviously smaller than in the country.
Alternatively, it can be decreed that 200 square feet (for instance) is
the minimum needed per individual and thus that is the size of one
For new construction, the nature of the neighborhood can determine the
size of a parcel. It is probably not reasonable to dictate that, say,
1/2 acre per person is the proper amount of land in congested/high
density areas. Still, since land is directly related to food production
it is important.
For rural settings, a fixed number can be set, say: 1 acre per
Given the variety of designs out there, and the relentless increase in
size throughout the years, it is highly unlikely that a (say) 200 Sq Ft
home exists anywhere. What is to be done if a single individual wants
to move into an existing house that is much larger? Various options can
This particular order would probably work well.
- requester is given the requested dwelling no matter the size, if
no other better-matched requester is in contention.
- requester is given the best size match within x houses/blocks, x
being best the smaller it is.
Contention for a specific dwelling
When a house is being sold nowadays, the highest offer wins. In the new
system, the following criteria make sense:
- the best match area-wise (number of people/shares match the house
- lottery (if there are multiple requesters that match the first
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