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 Shakespeare said, you are hoist with your own petard.


Fred Pilot said...

"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."

I believe some discrete government services can be privatized provided it is done so with proper oversight and transparency. However, it's a mistake to replace government with a private corporate structure in the form of mandatory membership HOAs. Doing so creates a closed, corporate culture that's inappropriate to open public governance and prone to abuse of power.

Anonymous said...

Back on June 29, 2010, this blog published a recently discovered letter by (then) KGB chairman Yuri Andropov to Soviet General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev, regarding their plot to impose communism in America.

It can be read at

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, many Party apparatchiks continued to produce propaganda extolling the virtues of the collective ownership of American's private property. Even though they no longer receive funding from Moscow, the Communisty Associations Institute is able to continue with Comrade Arbatov's plan by collecting HOA dues from American homeowners.

I never imagined that one day conservatives and libertarians would become the champions of Communism. And they don't even realize it; they're more naive than the Soviet apologists we called "useful idiots" during the Cold War.

And in an even more bizarre twist, the left-wing web site Daily Kos realizes that "Communism will never truly be defeated as long as Homeowners Associations still exist" and that HOA stands for "Hatred of America".

Next thing you know, we'll be reading about HOAs taking our guns away; gun confiscation being another common conspiracy theory about the United Nations.

Evan McKenzie said...

Whether privatization is good or bad depends on the circumstances. My point is simply that we hear all this anti-HOA rhetoric from right wingers--people who also claim to hate government. I say, make up your mind. Personally, I prefer public to private government. And if you claim you don't want any form of social organization, private or public, please go live outside society someplace.

Anonymous said...

I like the general assessment set forth by Prof. McKenzie except for the conclusion near the bottom. In fact people ARE paying their taxes. There has been layer upon layer of different taxing entities created so that one entity can continue taxing while foisting off the responsibility for the services it was supposedly taxing for to another taxing entity. Eventually you get to HOAs which have never been delegated any taxing authority to begin with and yet which tax while having no obligation at all to actually provide services.

Other than that, I would also submit that "common interest housing" is a complete misnomer because it implies that the people have a "common interest" when the only thing they share is a common liability. HOAs do fall into the Agenda 21 "plan" even though not explicitly so. Expansion of homeownership is only permitted via HOA-burdened property and the local municipality (city/county) dictates where that is allowed to take place. The local municipality also mandates "ordinances" that they could not constitutionally impose on each one of these settlements via "private" restrictive covenants.