Sunday, September 11, 2011
Thoughts on socialist conspiracies
I received an email recently expressing surprise that I didn't know about the United Nations' Agenda 21 plan to spread socialism around the world through mandating common interest housing for all. Indeed. This sort of thought pattern is instructive. I know about Agenda 21, which deals with sustainable development. The main focus of the "human settlements" recommendations is on the urban poor, about one billion of whom are living in slums--substandard housing, overcrowding, insecure tenure (they have no legal right to be where they are living), and lack of basic services (clean water, sanitation, electricity, transportation). Do the Agenda 21 people recommend giving them condo units, or otherwise enlisting them in common ownership schemes? No. The UN recommends expanding rental housing, not ownership. They think that focusing on ownership is a huge problem. "A recent UN-Habitat report13 finds that national housing policies and donor supported housing programmes are generally neglectful of the role that rental housing can play as a form of affordable shelter for the poor. There is a heavy emphasis in most policies on facilitating home ownership, despite the fact that many families and individuals avail themselves of (or would choose to avail themselves of) rental housing during some part of their life cycle." (Page 7) I have contributed book chapters to two volumes on the international spread of common interest housing and so far I see no evidence that the UN favors it. If anybody has any evidence that the UN wants to expand condos and private gated communities all over the world, please send it along. All I can find in their reports is criticism of planning that continues to favor the affluent--the people who live in those private gated communities and condos outside the US. On a larger scale, many right-wing and libertarian "property rights" critics of common interest housing don't get the basic picture. CIDs are a form of privatization. They appear where local government fiscal capacity is limited. To put it simply, if you don't like CIDs, quit complaining about paying your taxes and drop the anti-government rhetoric. You will have either public or private provision of basic services. The weaker your state and local governments are, the more they will require CIDs because they (government) can't afford to build or maintain infrastructure or hire the staff to provide services, or even enforce building codes. This is ultimately a self-defeating strategy for local governments, but it is the tax revolt mentality that started them down this road. And for all you right-wingers who don't like your HOA...as Shakespeare said, you are hoist with your own petard.