Thatcher's slow-motion housing timebomb



I’ve been told that the housing bubble is the only thing fuelling our feeble recovery from recession. You’d think that anybody with a memory capacity better than a goldfish would do anything to avoid another housing bubble after what happened just a few years ago, perhaps even look at the rest of their economic policies and conclude that if another goddamn bubble is the only thing that enables them to work then perhaps they should be dropped like a hot potato and something better found.

But no, our government is hoping that the bubble won’t pop before the next election, which they’ve thoughtfully fixed for next year. I wonder if they’re wishing that they hadn’t pushed for fixed terms now?


I agree with Nelsie. Though I have another thing to add.

Both the UK and the US approaches are doomed. The question is who is benefiting from all the failures? Maybe we should do something about preventing them and anybody else from profiteering in the future?


No, I’m pretty sure Thatcher was evil.


The way things are going, I’d say they want a revolution…what will people have to lose?


I wonder: does the inflated house prices only apply to London and other big cities? I suspect so, because judging from a quick look at a real estate website, sub 100K apartments are plenty if you go out of the big city.

It’s like those SF natives complaining about Google.
Yes, everyone should have a right to a roof over his/her head.
But NO, you do not get to live in the neighbourhood/city of your choice.
If you cannot afford London, you will have to move out, and either commute in, or get another job.

I’ve seen this sense of entitlement in Amsterdam where poor people insisted on living in trendy neighbourhoods, and the government complying by handing out rent subsidies. I think rent subsidies should be in kind, not in funds. If you can’t afford rent, you do not get to choose in which neighbourhood you get to live. I find it a cheap shot to lay the blame with the iron Lady: typical left-wing knee jerk.


Giving people the option of buying the home they’re living in sound like a decent idea to me. Forbidding local governments from building more housing however just sounds stupid.

I’m also confused these day as to what “neo-liberal” means. I thought it referred “Third Way” economics policies propounded by the likes of Clinton and Blair, but if a stone-cold Conservative like Thatcher is one I’m unsure how how either the “neo” or “liberal” bits apply.


This is some seriously weird thinking. Neighborhoods, sure, but entire cities? It’s not a long term strategy to price out the lower income people who do the most work and a lot of very important if unsavory work in every city.


Do your reflex actions typically run pages long, completely with supporting policy analysis and historical examination? If not, you might be unclear on what ‘knee jerk’ means.


Ugh, i know! Poors are SO entitled to think they can have choice in where they live… don’t they know they’re not welcome in trendy neighbourhoods?! Thats what ghettos are for: so we don’t have to look at them (ew!)


You know, that seems like an all-too-easy answer.

Of course, easy answers are sometimes right. Like in this case.


It’s the way you tell 'em…


This raises the STAGGERINGLY obvious question of “what if you were there BEFORE the neighborhood became trendy, and can’t afford to move?”


Even among those who can afford to move (though moving isn’t cheap, especially if you are one of those filthy poor people who aren’t likely to have a good time RE: credit history, first month/last month deposits, wrangling with utilities, probably moving away from any nonmarket social supports, etc.), I’ve heard that some proles have the sheer temerity to be upset when their lives and communities are swept away to suit somebody who can pay more for the site.

It’s disgusting, really, the people who get worked up about not having a level of life stability that a medieval peasant would have taken for granted. Who do they think they are?


Ah yes. Westminster Council, Shirley Porter and the Homes for Votes scandal. I remember it well.


To borrow from John Steinbeck, Iain Duncan Smith wants the poor to see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.


The trouble with revolutions is you still end up with politicians in charge.


I like the subtle irony of the lower case, “i”.

I will assume you are being equally sarcastic with the rest of your post.

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It’s not properly defined. Also not universally defined. So it means something different in the USA, in the UK and on the continent.
Personally I think its a double contradiction in terms.

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For what it’s worth, the few years I spent in England in the later 90s showed me how the local councils can obstruct construction and business in general. In one case, a builder wanted to put up a site with 50 flats but was denied, because the council said there were enough empty rental units available. No consideration was made for those garage lofts and dung-pit efficiency flats that nobody wanted.

In another case, the council dragged their feet for a Burger King to make use of an odd-shaped bit of land between two roads near an intersection. After more than two years of shuffling about over car park layout (seriously!) and seating, it was finally built, but that’s at least a year of potential employment lost because the council thought it could better manage a business than the business could.

Simply to say the builders didn’t build in the face of increasing demand overlooks the regulatory environment. If the council says “no,” then nothing gets built, and unit prices necessarily rise from the demand. Blaming market forces ignores the governmental rule makers controlling the market.