Mark Wadsworth

This is a spare 'blog in case my main 'blog at isn't working


The Daily Express takes a leaf out of 1984:

This morning they called for lower interest rates:

An 11 per cent increase in sales reflects the enormous benefits to the economy of our record low interest rates, a point that should not be lost on the Bank of England.

A property-owning middle class has been one of the foundations on which our economic success over the past 30 years has been built. Those who urge that interest rates should go up would do well to reflect on the damage it would cause to home-owners and businesses.

Ho hum, that’s their opinion. But yesterday they were arguing exactly the opposite when they offered their readers the keys to unlocking letting’s rewards:

WITH first-time buyers continuing to struggle to get a mortgage and the number of properties to rent in high demand it’s no wonder the market is booming.

New figures from LSL Property Services show the average asking price for rents reached a record high of £696 in May after four successive months of rises, while the National Landlords Association (NLA) suggests as many as one in five households will rent privately before the end of this decade…

I suppose the only way to square this apparent contradiction is to assume that they envisage a world where the ‘middle class’ own all the housing and the ‘working class’ pay rent, which doesn’t seem like a ‘property owning democracy’ to me – I though that democracy means that everybody has an equal say, which applied to land must means that everybody has an equal share – which could only be achieved with a Georgist tax/redistribution system.

And I know it’s easy to make fun of The Daily Express, but this kind of Home-Owner-Ist DoubleSpeak is widespread. Remember: if you own a real asset like a TV or a car or if you have valuable experience or qualifications, you are no worse off if others also have such assets*, but there’s only an advantage to ‘owning’ land if there are others who are excluded – or else there’d be nobody forced to buy or rent your land from you, natch, and land would have no value.

So land ‘wealth’ can only exist if there is an equal and opposite land ‘poverty, and land ‘ownership’ is a zero-sum game at best and a negative sum game in practice.

* if the roads get too crowded, we can build more roads; and provided we have the right mix of experience and qualifications, we are all better off


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