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the_dork

Danny Dorling-All That Is Solid Melts Into Air

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The title is from Marx and Dorling is an unashamed leftist whereas I’m more middle of the road. However, this is an excellent book I’m reading, summing up the current state of play on the housing market. So far I’ve not seen enough blame on the Labour years as it focussed on coalition policy. But it’s far more incisive than the usual commentary of ‘we need more building’ or ‘we need more lending’ or ‘immigration’.

Has anyone read it? Could be worth a chapter by chapter discussion?

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All i know is the mainstream right and mainstream left love unaffordable housing.

The rigjht because it benefits their wealthy backers.

The left because it gives them an excuse for elaborate govt schemes to 'increase housing'

Both have a vested interest in forbiding the free market to operate.

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I was thinking the other day that we could do with a good pinned book thread. Recommended (or not recommended) books with short reviews from anyone who's read them.

I'm curious about this book at the moment:

The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality - Richard Heinberg

I would be up for that. It's hard to find people to talk about this stuff with 'in real life.'

Sounds similar to 'capital in the twenty first century' by Piketty which is getting some people very excited, I believe arguing we are returning to 'rentier' capitalism of the C19. Very expensive hardback though so unless my library buy a copy it will be a while until I can read it

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I would be up for that. It's hard to find people to talk about this stuff with 'in real life.'

Quite. My two recommendations came from browsing the bookshelf of the one friend I have who works high up in the city. I saw him this w/e after a gap of several months, and I always get very over-excited that I'm going to have a chance for a good economics natter...

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Given this was obviously a bit niche, does a non lurker type want to start a book thread?

The Chang is great and really helps you see behind a lot of 'free market' rhetoric. He happily describes himself as a pragmatic capitalist and states that his sort of policies are not seen as left-right issues in many countries. Only our debased language, particularly post Thatcher.

One key point from Dorling is how low a priority recent governments have given to housing, for various reasons. Shapps actually initially made some statements showing he was against HPI and debt-based economy but quickly shut up when he realised the post was actually a totally subordinate one in the cabinet and worthwhile only on the way to the better positions.

Compared to 99% of the public I'm fairly obsessed with housing (hence why I'm here) but even I struggle to name the housing minister (I guessed correctly but I've not seen him for months so assumed he may have been replaced)

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A decent book.

A few criticisms I have; When talking about the homes in Batemoor, he mentions how the different doors can be used to distinguish between council and private ownership. I used to rent a council property on the nearby Lowedges estate, with the decent homes work, you had a choice of many different doors. In a council property, you also have the freedom to change your door yourself if you so wish.

He talks of a mini baby boom - there is no baby boom, we are still in the midst of a 43 year BABY BUST!

He continually talks of there being more housing than ever, especially when measured by the number of bedrooms per person. Whilst this number has increased considerably over the past 100 years, recently it has fallen, and the amount of dwelling space per person in metres squared has been falling since the 1990s. He does mention this IIRC, but only briefly. The number of bedrooms rising, is a part of the conversion of living space to separate dwelling pace, a living room for a family unit become a sealed dwelling for another, i.e. a bedroom in a HMO. We could split all bedrooms into two, it would not be good for living standards, but the number of bedrooms per person would increase.

A spelling mistake on pg 44? Trillion not billion?

Good points made in the book - rent control was in place from 1914-1977. The bedroom tax is a highly regressive property tax, that targets the poorest people in society in the sector with the most efficient use of bedrooms.

Not much to criticise in the book, well worth a read, especially for HPCers. Will be happy to lend my copy to local HPCers, although it is currently out on loan.

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